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Healthy Cheat Day Food: Cut Calories, Not Taste

Healthy Cheat Day Food: Cut Calories, Not Taste

Healthy “cheat” day food. Is that possible? The answer is yes! There are several foods and snacks available that can satisfy your sweet tooth or other “less-healthy” cravings. You never know, some of these may become your new favorite.

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Healthy “cheat” day food

It important to remember that it can be detrimental to see food as either “good” or “bad.” It’s alright to occasionally indulge in a craving or to go on a “cheat day” as long as you exercise regularly and follow a balanced diet.

Protein pancakes and waffles

Start your day off right with a healthy, protein-packed breakfast. Homemade pancakes made with wheat, almond, or coconut flour are an easy way to cut out excess refined carbs and add protein and fiber to your diet. Putting in some eggs, milk, and even whey protein powder adds more flavor and even more protein.

Avoid drowning your pancakes or waffles with sugary syrups and jams. If you can’t resist a bit of maple syrup or honey, be sure to only use high-quality products. (Be careful, many maple syrup and honey products on the market are artificially flavored or are made with added sugars.)

Similarly, a few pieces of fresh fruit and mint for garnish can make your creation Instagram-worthy in a snap.

Fruit and yogurt parfait

If pancakes are too heavy for you in the morning, a cheery fruit and yogurt parfait will give your day a refreshing start. Yogurt is a good source of calcium and protein. In addition, yogurt is a fermented food which means it contains probiotics that can improve your gut health.

However, many brands of yogurt are sweetened with sugar and artificial sweeteners. Check the label and opt for plain yogurt. Greek-style yogurt is an excellent choice as it typically contains more protein than other types of yogurt.

Place the yogurt in a clear glass or jar and layer in chopped fruit. Sparingly add other ingredients such as crushed grahams or granola to give your parfait a bit of sweetness and texture.

Veggie sticks and yogurt dip

Skip the salad this time and pick up some sticks—veggie sticks, that is. Fresh and crunchy vegetables such as carrots and celery sticks go well with creamy dips. Unfortunately, commercially available veggie trays with dip often include ranch dressing, which unfortunately can be high in fat and hidden sugars.

Instead of ruining the healthiness of vegetables, try swapping out ranch dips for homemade yogurt dips. Plain yogurt mixed with minced garlic and other seasonings is an easy way to get more protein in your diet. Another great alternative is hummus or bean dips. These are also rich in protein and low in saturated fat. Plus, hummus is suitable for those on plant-based diets.

healthy cheat day food

Freezer pops

On hot days, nothing sounds better than a scoop (or two) of ice cream. Unfortunately, ice cream is full of sugar and fat and it is hard to stop at just one half-cup serving.

Frozen yogurt and frozen treats made from milk alternatives like soy milk are a way to cut down on fat and snack on some healthy “cheat” day food. However, sometimes these products compensate for lower fat with more sugar and additives.

Instead, try creating your own freezer pops at home. Freezer pops or “ice candy” are easy to make and affordable ( not to mention a healthier alternative to commercial ice creams and popsicles). Mix and match between low-sugar yogurts, natural fruit juices, fresh milk, and chopped fruit slices.

Cauli-fried rice

When it comes to dieting, rice is one of the hardest foods for many Filipinos to give up. While rice can still be nutritious, we often get carried away with our serving sizes. A low-carb alternative to rice is cauliflower.

Popular with vegetarians and vegans, “caulirice” is a good way to lower your carb intake while also eating more vegetables. Cauliflower is full of vitamins and minerals, and it is usually available in local markets and grocery stores. Grate the cauliflower and sauté it with a bit of vegetable or olive oil and seasonings to create a healthier version of fried rice.

Dark chocolate-covered fruit

Lastly, the ultimate comfort food for many people: chocolate. It is often tagged as a decadent treat that is off-limits when you’re on a diet. While it is true that too much sugar should be avoided, chocolate in its pure form actually has several health benefits.

Studies have shown that dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants because of its flavonoid content. The darker the chocolate, the better. One drawback is that 70% dark chocolate and higher can be somewhat bitter. Candy bars often add milk fat and sugar to dilute the chocolate and make it sweeter, but this reduces its health properties.

To balance out the bitterness, pair your dark chocolate with fresh fruit slices. Strawberries are a popular choice, especially for special occasions. If strawberries aren’t in season, opt for bananas or apples. For added protein and healthy fat, try using nuts like almonds.

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Key takeaways

There’s nothing wrong with going on a “cheat day” every once in a while, especially when the food you eat is still nutritious. Create a healthier relationship with your food by practicing mindful eating and keeping track of your meals. If you are looking to lose weight or change your diet, talk to a doctor and registered dietitian for professional advice.

Learn more about Healthy Eating here.


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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


The benefits of eating Greek yogurt https://www.utmedicalcenter.org/the-benefits-of-eating-greek-yogurt/ Accessed Accessed February 3, 2021

The health benefits of dark chocolate, https://selecthealth.org/blog/2020/09/health-benefits-of-dark-chocolate-selecthealth, Accessed February 3, 2021

Dark chocolate, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/dark-chocolate/, Accessed February 3, 2021

Why nutritionist are crazy about nuts, https://www.health.harvard.edu/nutrition/why-nutritionists-are-crazy-about-nuts, Accessed February 3, 2021

What’s in your frozen treat? https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/whats-in-your-frozen-treat Accessed February 3, 2021

Vegetable of the month: Cauliflower https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/vegetable-of-the-month-cauliflower Accessed February 3, 2021

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Written by Stephanie Nicole Nera, RPh, PharmD Updated Feb 22