Many diets provide you with some freedom to take a day off training or eat a ‘cheat’ meal. They’re popular because they give people a chance to indulge in somewhat unhealthy food in a controlled way, which helps break up the monotony of their diet regime.
However, these cheat meals are included in plans because they help people stick to them, not because there’s a nutritional benefit to them. This means that if two people followed the same diet plan, the person who didn’t indulge in cheat meals would reach their goal faster.
This has prompted many to try and find alternative options that satisfy their cravings but don’t underminetheir fitness goals. These are particularly useful for people who might be trying to eat healthy at university or their workplace where they are surrounded by lots of tempting cheat options.
The following list contains 4 cheat meals that are on the healthier end of the spectrum.
1. Caramel pork
Normally, when you think of caramel, images of koala shaped chocolates and blocks of fudge spring to mind – but did you know it makes a great sauce on savoury dishes? This caramel pork recipe is a delicious combination of sweet and savoury, containing saucy noodles and mouth-watering succulent meat.
For this recipe you will need:
- 1 brown onion
- 5 pork loin steaks
- 1 sachet of Chinese five spice
- 2 packets of sesame seeds
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 bunches of Asian greens
- 2 packets of hokkien noodles
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- ½ a tablespoon of fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons of sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons of water
Step 1 – Slice the brown onion finely and cut the pork into 1cm cubes. Peel and crush the garlic then thoroughly chop the Asian greens.
Step 2 – Begin heating 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium pan with medium heat, then add the pork cubes and cook for 2 minutes until brown. Remove from the pan and set aside. Then add another tablespoon of the olive oil as well as the brown onion and cook for 3 minutes. Then add the Chinese five spice and cook it for 2 minutes.
Step 3 – Bring the heat down to low and add your brown sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce and water to the onion. Season everything with salt and pepper, then stir well. Allow everything to simmer for around 10 minutes or until the sauce appears to thicken. Throw the pork back in the pan and cook it all for another 2 minutes.
Step 4 – Heat a second medium pan with medium heat and stir the sesame seeds and toast until golden. Add your remaining garlic and olive oil then cook for 1 minute.
2. Shredded BBQ chicken nachos
Your muscles won’t be the only thing getting shredded with these delicious shredded BBQ chicken nachos! Pulled meats have become very popular in recent years and this dish is simply too delicious to do justice describing with words.
For this recipe you will need:
- 2 regular bags of tortilla chips
- 1 shredded BBQ chicken
- 1 drained and rinsed can of black beans
- 1 chopped medium sized white onion
- 1 chopped jalapeno pepper
- 500g shredded cheese (cheddar and/or mozzarella)
- ¼ cup of fresh chopped coriander
- 1 avocado (or 1 avocado worth of guacamole)
- 1 can of salsa
- ½ cup of sour cream
- Hot pepper sauce (to taste)
Step 1 – Heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and use a non-stick spray over a large baking sheet.
Step 2 – Spread the contents of one of your tortilla chip bags over the baking sheet and cover it with half of the nacho ingredients mixed together (including chicken). Throw down another layer of chips and repeat the process – put the second layer of cheese on top.
Step 3 – Bake nachos until cheese melts, which should take roughly 20 minutes. Top with the avocado/guacamole, salsa, sour cream and pepper sauce.
3. Pepperoni pizza
The ultimate cheat meal is pizza. It’s no secret that everyone loves this traditional Italian dish, but it’s also no secret that it is quite unhealthy for you. But what if you could still have a pepperoni pizza without feeling guilty about ruining your healthy eating habits?
The dream has now become a reality with the mouth-watering healthy version of everyone’s favourite cheat meal. The great thing about this recipe is that it is not only healthy, but it only takes 20 minutes to cook!
For this healthy pepperoni pizza, you will need:
- 1 cup tomato and basil pasta sauce
- 24 slices turkey pepperoni
- 1 package prebaked whole wheat thin pizza crust
- 1 ½ cups part skim mozzarella cheese
Step 1 – Spread tomato and basil pasta sauce evenly over the pizza base, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Top with pepperoni slices and sprinkle with cheese.
Step 2 – Bake pizza at 200 degrees Celsius directly on the oven rack for 10-15 minutes or until golden and cheese is melted. Cut into slices and serve immediately.
4. Baked fish and chips
Fish may be a healthy staple, but “fish and chips” is considered a big no-no when it comes to clean eating. Nonetheless, your days of avoiding this pub classic are over. You’ll be kicking yourself for missing out on this dish once you know how easy it is to make a healthy version!
The ingredients you will need for this recipe are:
- ¼ cup plain flour
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ¾ cup dried breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley leaves
- 2 teaspoons lemon pepper
- 650g thick white fish fillets, cut into 2cm wide strips
- Olive oil cooking spray
- 4 large potatoes peeled and cut into chips
Step 1 – Preheat your oven to 220 degrees Celsius and line two large baking trays with baking paper.
Step 2 – Put the flour on a plate and pour the buttermilk into a bowl. Combine the breadcrumbs, parsley and lemon pepper on a plate.
Step 3 – Cover one piece of fish in flour and shake off the excess. Then dip it in buttermilk and coat in the breadcrumb mixture. Place on the prepared tray and repeat with the remaining fish, flour, buttermilk and breadcrumb mixture.
Step 4 – Place uncooked chips onto the other tray and spread evenly. Spray with oil and season with salt and pepper.
Step 5 – Bake the chips on the top shelf of the oven for 20-25 minutes. Place the fish in the oven under the chips and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.
Hopefully the above gives you some ideas for meals you should try next time you’re getting an uncontrollable craving.