Getting on a diet shouldn’t feel like you’re depriving yourselves of all the good things in life. Humans are hardwired to want to consume food in exce
Getting on a diet shouldn’t feel like you’re depriving yourselves of all the good things in life. Humans are hardwired to want to consume food in excess of what the body really needs.
That’s why many individuals find it hard to maintain a healthy balance between food and physical activity, which leads to weight gain and stress.
Dieting is more about unlearning years of food preferences and having the discipline and drive to consume food types that your palate is unfamiliar with. Initially, dieting will trigger food cravings that make it feel like you’re depriving yourself of one of life’s greatest luxuries.
Once you’ve reached milestones in your goal to lose weight, you can consider having a cheat meal to reward yourself for your achievements. However, experts suggest that having cheat meals in between would make it even more difficult for individuals to fully integrate a healthy diet.
If you’re always looking forward to your cheat day or cheat meal, there’s a higher risk that you might relapse and undo the progress you’ve made while dieting. But not everything that satisfies your palate would make you gain weight.
Here are some cheat meals that don’t count as cheating:
1. Low-fat Burgers
I’m sure burgers weren’t at the top of your list when you think about healthy food items, but there’s a way to twist your favorite burger into a healthy snack that you can enjoy anytime.
The lean meat in burgers is rich in iron, zinc, and protein. It’s the additional toppings such as cheese, bacon, dressing, and others that make your favorite burger an unhealthy snack option.
Instead of using grain-fed beef, choose grass-fed beef which is significantly lower in fat, and richer in other nutrients.
Carbohydrate-rich pasta is often left out in many weight-loss diets, but that disregards many of the healthy benefits of whole-grain pasta.
The good thing about pasta is that you don’t have to consume huge portions to feel full. Pasta is heavy on the stomach, and you’ll feel full by eating only small portions of your meal.
Whole wheat pasta is rich in fiber, which aids digestion. Choosing a healthier option, and sticking to your allotted portion will allow you to still enjoy your pasta meals without worrying too much about gaining weight.
It seems like anything with white flour isn’t good for anyone who’s dieting. Refined flour is high in carbohydrates, which is why it’s shunned by many who are trying to lose weight.
Swapping refined flour for healthier options such as whole grain flour will help reduce the total calories and it will add important fiber to your diet. Also, adding butter, syrup, and bacon will make your breakfast meals excessive.
Stick to whole wheat pancakes and choose low-fat, low-carb options to top your daily breakfast meal.
4. Tortilla Pizza
I’m sure you’ve craved for pizza after a long, strenuous diet. The traditional pizza is rich in saturated fat, carbohydrates, and cholesterol. All the unnecessary toppings that make your favorite pizza taste great could contribute to the reason why eating it in excess makes you unhealthy.
Instead of ordering pizza from your favorite pizzeria, you can make your own healthy pizza from home. Instead of going with hand-tossed pizza dough, use whole wheat tortillas as the base for your thin crust healthy pizza.
Add a few herbs, tomato sauce, and lean meat toppings, and you can have yourself a guilt-free pizza that can satisfy your cravings.
5. Chicken nuggets
One whiff of your favorite fast-food chain’s chicken nuggets and you instantly get a strong craving.
Store-bought chicken nuggets are rarely made from pure chicken meat. Most of it is just extenders and seasoning to reduce the production costs.
You can make your chicken nuggets instead by baking cut-up chicken breast with your own seasoning. Go light on salt, and garnish it with your favorite herbs.
Baked homemade chicken nuggets contain half as many calories and more protein per serving. You can also go for healthier dipping sauce options like guacamole and cilantro to make your snack even healthier.
Not everything that you crave for should be left out of your diet. If anything, simply reducing your food intake and eating foods that satisfy you more would help you gradually lose weight.
With dieting alone, it will realistically take you months before you lose a significant amount of weight, but if you combine your dieting with regular exercise, you can go hard on the gym as much as you want and you’ll see your results much faster than just focusing on your diet.
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