Some of you may have heard of the 80/20 “diet” plan. The basic idea is to eat healthy, wholesome foods 80% of the time, and allow yourself treats for the other 20%. Now I’m not a big fan of dieting – when it means obsessing over calories and completely cutting certain foods out of your diet. I think strict diets set people up for failure (because every time you “cheat” you’ve failed). Worse, they leave people’s bodies in worse shape than before they dieted, for two reasons. One, when you are super strict about calories, your metabolism tends to freak out.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, healthy eating is about the quality of the calories you take in, not the quantity. There’s a big difference. 1000 calories of junk is still junk, not the foods your body needs. and 3000 calories of fruit, veggies, and lean protein will be used by your body to build lean muscle and provide fuel for your workouts. It won’t turn to fat (if you’re active) because it’s exactly what your body needs.
Another fact I’ll point out – it’s okay to treat yourself to junk once in awhile. If you’re working out regularly and eating right most of the time, you’ll burn it off in no time. Unless you have allergies or a serious health issue, you really don’t have to worry about it. Because we all are gonna cheat form time to time anyway, right? So it might as well be part of the plan or we’ll end up hating ourselves for failing.
Now I’m a bit of a sweet tooth. Glazed donuts and cookies and cream ice cream are two of my greatest weaknesses. So needless to say my cheat meals usually consist of pizza and something sugary. But on the days when I’m supposed to be extra healthy, I’ve found that snacking on fruit curbs that sweet tooth until my cheat day. At the moment, oranges and cuties are my best friends in the food department.
As far as full meals – I’m not much of a cook so it’s hard to find foods that are easy to make but not overly processed. Crock pot meals are my go-to. I’ll put a frozen chicken in the slow cooker on low while I’m at work, then when I get home I take the meat off the bones, mix it with chicken broth and my choice of veggies and potatoes, and voila! Healthy, easy, tasty meal. I’m also a big fan of sandwiches on whole grain bread. I know that technically isn’t the healthiest meal ever, but I’m not going for perfect. Whole grain bread is really good for you, and when you stack lots of tomatoes and lettuce and onions on meat and a little cheese you have a pretty darn healthy meal. It’s also very filling so you feel full longer, and are less tempted to snack on junk all day.
What are your favorite healthy meals? Do you ever let yourself cheat on purpose? Share your thoughts below 🙂