10 Cheat Meal Ideas to Maintain Your Fitness

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Cheat Meals You Can Feel Good About

When it comes to cheat meals, enjoying a few of the coveted comfort foods in healthier versions still satisfies the cravings. We all indulge occasionally and feel better about it when the choices are healthier. The following list of ten favorite cheat meals have been simply modified removing all the guilt and allowing us to better maintain our fitness. 

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Pizza is the Number One Cheat Meal

Hands Reach for Naples-Style Pizza
Whole Wheat Crust Increases Nutrients. Michael Berman / Getty Images

Pizza is definitely a top ten coveted cheat meal. This slice of heaven can be easily modified and still taste amazing. Using a whole wheat thin crust, adding lots of veggies and sticking to red sauce or olive oil increases the fiber and nutrients. Healthier pizza is considered a good carbohydrate choice. Add lean meats like chicken breast or nitrate free Canadian bacon for additional protein on cheat day.

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Burgers Can Be Made Healthier

Healthy Hamburger
Healthy Hamburgers are a Great Cheat Meal. Robert Linton/Getty Images

Who doesn't enjoy a good burger? Try a very lean ground beef or turkey variety. Skip the mayo, use a whole wheat or grain bun, add lots of veggies and try spicy mustards for a twist.  This cheat meal is full of muscle building protein and plenty of carbs to fuel that body. 

4
Try Sweet Potato Fries Instead

Sweet Potato Fries
Sweet Potato Fries are a Healthier Cheat Meal Option. TheCrimsonMonkey/Getty Images

Craving French fries? Opt for sweet potato fries over the typical russets. This significantly improves the nutritional value of the cheat meal adding fiber and antioxidants. When accompanied with a lean beef burger you will also gain protein for a wonderfully delicious cheat meal.  

5
Granola For Breakfast or Anytime

Granola
Granola Makes a Great Breakfast Cheat Meal. nicolebranan/Getty Images

Have a large bowl of granola for cheat meal morning. Select a healthy variety filled with nuts, dried fruits and enjoy with low-fat dairy, soy or almond milk. Granola is typically made with oats, a good carbohydrate, and the nuts will provide healthy fats for a powerhouse cheat meal sure to satisfy. Try topping yogurt with granola for another tasty way to enjoy the crunch. 

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Bran Muffins are a Sweet Cheat

Bran Muffin
Bran Muffins Make a Sweet Cheat Meal for Breakfast. Lauri Patterson/Getty Images

Bran muffins made with quality ingredients like honey, blueberries and walnuts make another good carbohydrate cheat meal. Bran is high in fiber and coupled with added fruits and nuts provide antioxidants and healthy fats. 

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Tortilla Chips and Fresh Avocado

Baked Chips and Guacamole
Baked Tortilla Chips are a Healthier Cheat Meal Option. Premium UIG Universal Images Group/Getty Images

Looking for a little salt and crunch? Try baked tortilla chips and fresh guacamole over fried as a healthier option. Use fresh avocado as a great dip containing healthy fats and rich source of antioxidants as an added bonus. Spice it up with a roasted garlic salsa as another healthy alternative.

8
Pancakes are a Morning Favorite

Healthy Pancakes
Whole Wheat Pancakes make a Great Breakfast Cheat Meal. Donald Erickson/Getty Images

Morning breakfast is definitely a great time to splurge and enjoy good tasting healthy carbs.  Fresh off the griddle whole grain or wheat pancakes topped with organic maple syrup are sure to scratch that itch. Cook up a side of nitrate-free bacon for added flavor and ​protein, along with some fruit for a morning breakfast just like Mom used to make. 

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Chocolate Makes a Great Cheat Meal Snack

Dark Chocolate
Dark Chocolate Makes a Great Cheat Meal Snack. (C)Andrew Hounslea Moment/Getty Images

Desserts are another coveted cheat meal with chocolate leading the sweets. Make it healthier by selecting dark chocolate over milk varieties. Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants providing numerous health benefits. Research has also shown dark chocolate to improve athletic performance. This doesn't mean more is better and recommended to consume a 1.5 ounce serving of dark chocolate on cheat day without guilt. 

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Wine is Included as a Cheat Treat

Red Wine
Red Wine is a Cheat Meal Treat. Don Farrall Digital Vision/Getty Images

Looking forward to a glass of wine over the weekend? Selecting a healthier option is important with this limited intake splurge. Make it red instead of white for better digestion and rich source of antioxidants. Overindulging in any alcohol including wine is not recommended and shown to adversely affect our health. It's suggested to consume no more than one to two glasses of red wine on cheat day. It is also advised to drink plenty of water with your wine. 

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Pasta is a Highly Desired Cheat Meal

whole wheat pasta
Enjoy Whole Wheat Pasta for a Cheat Meal. Micah Young/Getty Images

Pasta is another favorite on cheat day. Who doesn't enjoy an amazing plate of spaghetti and meatballs? Make it healthier using whole wheat or quinoa pasta topped with a red sauce.  Stay away from creamy white sauces and saturated fats. Another great option is to use extra virgin olive oil as the base sauce and build your plate from there.  Add in sautéed onions, garlic, and vegetables for additional good carbohydrates filled with fiber and antioxidants.  Lean proteins are a great add-in and can come from lean ground turkey meatballs or fatty fish like salmon. There is no going wrong here and a nice glass of red wine to accompany the dish makes it a cheat meal winner.

 

Source:

cdc.gov, healthy weight – it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle, healthy eating for a healthy weight, 12/6/13

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