5 Things You Need to Know Before Your Next Cheat Meal

This is how you do your cheat meals right without going overboard.


Danielle Zickl |

“Treat yo self.” This iconic motto was brought to you by Parks and Recreation in 2011, but the general idea has been around for decades, especially when it comes to nutrition and cheat meals.

Related: Are You Having Too Much Sugar? Here’s How Much You Need

Everyone needs a slight break from their diet to treat themselves every now and again, but that doesn’t mean an entire day dedicated to consuming an entire lifetime supply of pizza, wings, and beer. There’s a smarter way to indulge in your cravings: a single cheat meal. Carolyn Brown, a nutrition advisor at Foodtrainers, gave us a few tips on how to go about tackling them.

Plan Your Cheat Meals

Brown advises against spontaneous treat meals, and instead recommends planning them out in advance. This way, you’ll have something to look forward to and keep you motivated.

Related: Here’s How Going On Fad Diets Can Mess With Your Brain

Only Have One Per Week

Limiting yourself to only one cheat meal per week is better for you metabolically and psychologically, says Brown, since indulging every so often can help make your long-term plan sustainable.

Portion Them Out

Portioning your cheat meals out helps keep your calories in check. If you’re regularly consuming 2,000 calories a day, your cheat meals should fit into that amount—not go above it. “Enjoy it, then move on,” Brown says. Your next meal should be back on track.

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Make It Social

Solo, at-home cheat meals could lead to a binge, Brown says. Instead, go out to eat with your partner or a group of friends to keep you accountable.

Your Next Meal Should Be Back to Your Routine

Your cheat meals shouldn’t turn into cheat days, weekends, or weeks, Brown says. But that being said, don’t be too hard on yourself if that does happen. Just go back to your normal eating routine as soon as you can.

Originally published on menshealth.com

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