Mmmm Pizza. Burger. Ice Cream. You wouldn't imagine being able to consume & enjoy these "Bad foods" while maintaining a clean, healthy diet. But guess what, you actually can! When incorporating these delicious alternatives to your eating habits we call it one simple term: Balanced Dieting. In life there's a balance: enjoy it, while at the same time remaining conscious of the timing and portion amounts of your cheat item (notice I did not say "cheat day"). Here are 5 key pointers that'll educate you as these meals are planned from here on out:
1. PLAN AHEAD
Let's say you meal prep on Sundays prior to the start of the work week. Pick a day, pick a time & pick the item during this strategy phase. By implementing this approach, you'll have meals prepped Monday-Sunday, with an open time designated for that cheat meal.
2. CONSUME YOUR CHEAT MEAL EARLY
I prefer my cheat meal to take place Saturday, mid day. That way I have the rest of the day, at least spaced between cheat meals and mid afternoon snack, to digest & process efficiently, without the late night stomach pains and aches that comes with eating additional calories (saturated fats, simple sugars, etc) than normal. The earlier, the better.
3. INCORPORATE THE 3 MACRO-NUTRIENTS
This goes with item #1. By now you should have a good idea of what to eat, and when to eat it. Another important item to consider is making sure the meal has a mixture of proteins, fats & carbohydrates. By doing so, none of these essential nutrients are missed, even when you're consuming a cheat meal (NOTE: it's a great idea to incorporate either a side salad or cup of veggies to keep greens up as well).
4. TRAIN THE EVENING BEFORE, OR THE MORNING OF
Stay on top of your normal exercise regimen, even if you exercise the day of your cheat meal. Plan your workouts in conjunction with your nutrition plan to stay on track, that way it'll make your cheat meal enjoyable or "guilt free". I like to add an additional 5 mins of cardiovascular exercise after my morning workout session to prepare myself for my cheat meal. Should it be excessive? No. But as a means to burn just a few additional calories to prepare for an additional amount coming in, sure.
5. ENJOY IT!
Turn off the TV, refrain from social media & keep conversations limited. Enjoy each bite. You work hard for moments like these, why not enjoy it!
Whether your losing body fat or building muscle size/strength, adding a cheat meal or item into your routine is essential to your success. It'll prevent boredom, in addition to enjoying the foods you still love. Plan it, schedule it & enjoy it!
To you & yours in Health and Wellness,