The Ultimate Reward: Cheat Meals

a cheat meal: burger and fries

So, you’ve been doing really well on your “diet” and you’re nearly down 1 stone……..RESULT!

Have you thought about your cheat meal this week?

One of the most common questions I’m asked is: “Can I have a cheat day?” 

Well, let me stop you there. It’s a cheat MEAL, not a cheat day!

Where a lot of people slip up with cheat meals is that they’re usually really “good” all throughout the week and then comes the weekend, and BAMM!

They fall off the wagon have a cheat weekend.

Sound familiar?

What I Do About Cheat Meals

When it comes to a cheat meal the first thing I ask myself is: “Have I earned this?”

Now, I know this can seem a little bit negative, but I’ve found that it helps me to keep on the straight and narrow.

A little “cheat” every now and then is good and it’s something to look forward to.

Secondly, I always ensure that I train on the day I have a cheat meal and I make sure I work my BUTT off!


So that I burn off enough calories to deserve the meal itself.

My Favourite Cheat Meal

My go to cheat meal is a gluten-free Domino’s pizza (ham and pineapple).

So, I definitely need to train hard before I eat that. (Just one slice of pizza has between 100 and 300 calories in it.)

picture of a hand grabbing a slice of pizza

Another thing I do is adjust my food the days prior to my cheat meal.

If I know that we’re going out for dinner on a Saturday night and I know there’s something on the menu that’s a little bit naughty, then I make sure that on the Friday and Sunday my food is full of good healthy proteins, fats and carbohydrates.

Things such as good quality lean meats, fresh green leafy vegetables and good carbs (like sweet potatoes).

I stay away from high sugary foods though. (My other blog post about how to eat out and enjoy yourself without feeling guilty is coming soon).

Another question I get asked is: “What food can I have as my cheat meal?”

And the answer to that question is, well, anything. Yes, really.

But, you should follow a few simple rules.

Rule 1 – Keep Calories in Mind

Don’t go crazy and have double or triple your calorie allowance.

So if you want a Chinese then maybe only have half of it rather than the full takeout container. And maybe try something a little healthier like chicken and mixed vegetables.

Also, keep in mind that this is a cheat meal and not an all-out binge, so keep portion size in mind: it isn’t the time for a “mountain” plate of food.

Rule 2 – Beat Sugar Cravings

If you’re craving sugary foods then have a bit of dark chocolate.

Choose the quality kind: dark with at least 70% cocoa solids and have one or two pieces maximum.

I break this single piece up into smaller pieces and then let them melt in my mouth: this satisfies your sugar needs in a similar way to hunger being satisfied much quicker when you chew slowly.

Be careful when you’re choosing a flavoured kind though. I know one client who loves the coconut Lindt one, but when he looked at the sugar content compared to the plain version he was shocked at the difference (twice as much!).

Rule 3 – Avoid Food Intolerances

If you’re intolerant to a food then don’t have it in your cheat meal. It is just not worth it. I’m massively intolerant to potato, so I wouldn’t have fish and chips as my cheat meal (as much as I’d love to).

dark chocolate broken into pieces

Motivation and Cheat Meals

Cheat meals will help you a lot with your motivation. It’s something to look forward to and know that, because you’ve worked hard in the gym or with your personal trainer during the week, you can happily reward yourself with a treat.


While I’ll be writing about the best things to eat and drink when you’re on a night out in a few weeks, be conscious about what you drink when you’re having your cheat meal.

One great way to control things is to have a glass of wine or two with your cheat meal. Sit at the table and once you stop eating your cheat meal you can’t have any more wine in your glass.

A couple glasses of wine with your cheat meal is a reasonable amount, but a couple of bottles is not.

Don’t Fall Into a Habit

As with nutrition your cheat meal shouldn’t be the same every time you have it.

So if you like a takeaway then try not to have it every Saturday night as that will form a habit and it’ll be harder to control.

Also, remember that cheat meals can be at breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner time. Just stick to the few golden rules above ?

Be Accountable

One very important thing is to be accountable.

There is nothing wrong with having a cheat meal, but always ensure you record it on your food log. Whether that’s in a food diary, my fitness pal or on My PT Hub (if you’re a current client then the latter one is sent directly to your trainer).

Remember: the key is for everything is moderation.

Want a food and nutrition consultation with me?

Get in touch and we can get you booked in at a convenient time.


Don’t forget to watch Daniel’s videos about what a cheat meal is, planning them and why it’s important to get things right.



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