7 Healthier Versions of Your Cheat Day Favorites

Even the most dedicated healthy eaters feel the occasional hankering for a burger and fries or a personal pint of Ben & Jerry’s. But as all cravings differ, all indulgences are not created equal. Although there’s nothing wrong with the occasional break from your regular healthy eating routine, it’s best to avoid a “go big or go home” mentality.

When it comes to indulging, aim for moderation and mindfulness—just enough to hit the spot, but not so much that you undo all of your hard work. Here are a few go-to alternatives for when you’re craving something extra sweet or salty, but don’t want to overdo it.

Related: 4 Healthy Habits You Already Know but Aren’t Doing

Treat YourselfINSTEAD OF: French toast
OPT FOR: Whole-grain pancakes
Top with part-skim ricotta and berry preserves for a restaurant-worthy brunch at home.

INSTEAD OF: Chinese takeout
OPT FOR: Homemade fried rice
It’ll be ready faster than delivery, plus being the chef means you can add less oil and more veggies, and use brown rice instead of white.

INSTEAD OF: Ice cream
OPT FOR: Gelato
It’s made with more milk than cream, which means less fat. Stick to basic flavors without add-ons such as chocolate or nuts to avoid sugar overload.Treat Yourself

INSTEAD OF: Store-bought mac and cheese
OPT TO: Make it from scratch
Trade in the processed cheese and obscene amounts of butter for a recipe using whole-grain pasta and a high-quality sharp cheddar.

Treat YourselfINSTEAD OF A: Chocolate cupcake
OPT FOR: Chocolate-chunk banana bread
Sweetened only by bananas and antioxidant-rich dark chocolate, this treat is easy to make at home and will keep your sweet tooth satisfied throughout the week.

INSTEAD OF: Deep-dish pizza
OPT FOR: Avocado pizza
It’s the new avocado toast—all you need is pizza dough (store-bought or homemade), avocados and the toppings of your choice.

INSTEAD OF A: Margarita
OPT FOR A: Grapefruit Paloma
Mexico’s most popular tequila drink is just as refreshing, but with a fraction of the calories. Don’t forget to sub in fresh grapefruit juice for soda.Treat Yourself

Related: 6 Easy (and Tasty!) Ways to Eat Healthy

PRO TIP: Avoid going overboard by giving yourself a 30- to 45-minute window of time to enjoy your treat or meal.


This article originally appeared in the October 2016 issue of SUCCESS magazine.


Karin Vandraiss is a Seattle-based writer and editor with a background in food and travel. She spends off-hours scouting new restaurants and hiking her way through the Pacific Northwest.

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