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Cheat Meals: Do’s & Don’ts

While we all may manage our health and wellness differently, there is one thing we have in common – at one point or another, we like to indulge in a cheat meal. Cravings vary from person to person, but regardless of what they may be, the way they affect us depends on the way we approach it.

Whether you give in to a lavish meal, snack, or dessert, here are some things you should and shouldn’t do.

x DON’T Get Consumed By Guilt
Try to avoid using the word “cheat” as it holds a negative connotation and may make you feel guilty. When it comes to your diet, some choices are better than others, but ultimately, there are no “right” and “wrong” choices. Let go of the guilt and simply opt for a healthier choice for your next snack or meal. An occasional indulgence won’t make or break a mostly healthy diet.

  • DO Indulge Your Cravings

As mentioned, surrender to your cravings and really enjoy it. Denying your body what it really wants often leads to obsessing about the food or continuing to eat and seek out foods that won’t ever satisfy you (and can lead to over-eating). By allowing your body to have what it is craving is a way for you to treat yourself with loving kindness, something that is important in maintaining a healthy relationship with food. Be mindful of what your are eating and make sure the treat is really worth it.

x DON’T Turn A “Cheat” Meal Into A Cheat Day/Week/Month

Again, it comes down to making better choices. It is perfectly fine to indulge here and there, but it is also important to do it smartly. Choose the one thing you are really craving and fight the urge to extend the indulgences over a day or a week or longer.

  • DO Have A Small Treat Every Day (Really!)

Rather than going overboard in your indulgences, enjoy a small treat and really take the time to enjoy it. Be mindful of this indulgence by eliminating any distractions while you eat, chewing slowly and paying attention to your senses. Practicing mindful eating may even show you that you only need a few bites to be fully satisfied.

x DON’T Go Into An Indulgent Meal All-Out Starving
If you’re going out to a barbecue or happy hour, you may want to refrain from eating beforehand to save your appetite. However, this may work against you. Depending on how long you withhold from eating, you may be so starving that you want to eat everything in sight. If your plans aren’t for a few hours, maybe have something light like veggies and hummus, or maybe some fruit. This may help steer you toward a healthier option.

  • DO Create A Buffer When You Indulge

If you know you’re going to indulge, eat lighter meals before and after the main event. Listen to your body and understand when it’s hungry and full. If lunch was extra heavy, maybe you can skip that afternoon snack. Enough of this practice will train you to healthfully manage your portion sizes and find balance in your eating habits.

  • DO Pinpoint What You’re Craving And Make It Healthier

Figure out what it is you are really craving and find something healthier that provides a similar flavor or texture. Whatever you are craving, you can likely find a healthier version with a quick internet search. For example, a grilled hummus quesadilla may be just as satisfying as regular cheesy quesadilla, while providing you with more healthful benefits.

What are your favorite indulgences? How to you stop yourself from going overboard? Share your secrets and tips with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Visit us today for a yummy breakfast or lunch. Looking for a lighter option? Try our Lentilicious (vegetarian) sandwich or build your own Veggie sandwich (both can be made vegan – just ask). View our menu online or call 909-596-5225 if you have any questions.