How to make cheat meals good for your metabolism
- Make the most of it: Josephson suggests selecting an indulgent treat, such as a medium-sized fresh-baked chocolate chip cookie, and breaking it up into small pieces so you can stretch out the experience over a longer period of time.
- Go for quantity: You can also try another approach, according to Josephson, by looking for foods that provide the largest volume for 90 calories. For example, four cups (1 L) of air-popped popcorn without any added fat instead of eight potato chips, or 1/2 cup (125 mL) of sorbet as opposed to 1/4 cup (50 mL) of gourmet ice cream.
- Make it an event: Don’t eat your treat mindlessly in front of the TV or computer. “Take your time, sit down and avoid all distractions. If you’re having that slice of pie, put it on a nice plate,” Fretz says.
- Use portion control: Even with a healthy eating plan, some people are more inclined than others to go overboard with their treats, says Dr. Janet Polivy, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Toronto. If you are the type of person who has trouble setting a limit, she recommends dividing the treats you choose into appropriate portions so you aren’t tempted to eat more. Wrap up the individually portioned foods and store them in a place where they are difficult to get to, then remove only one at a time.
- Avoid trigger foods: Trigger foods are the ones you just can’t stop eating. If you know that as soon as you eat one or two chips, you’re going to feel the need to finish the whole bag, then you should avoid bringing chips into the house altogether. Or retrain yourself to love a healthier and lower-calorie alternative, such as caramel-flavoured rice cakes, instead.
- Get back to basics quickly: Of course, after you’ve cheated, it’s essential to get back on your healthy eating plan right away. “The more sugar and fat you have, the more you’ll want,” Josephson explains. If you do get off track – and it’s going to happen to everybody at some time or other – don’t spend time beating yourself up about it, says Fretz. Tomorrow is a brand new day; just get back on track.