DNAfit Logo
Shop Now

Are cheat meals ever a good idea?

It is because of the difficulty of sticking to a diet that the concept of the “cheat meal” was created.

Basically, the cheat meal is designed to have you look forward to something while you’re “eating clean” 90% of the time during the week. Then, at the end of the week you’re allowed to give in to only one temptation, and not much of it, just to give you a little bit of a taste of something that you’re seriously missing.

Although no studies indicate what other publications say about cheat meals boosting your metabolism, the impact that it does have is psychological. Especially if you’re starting out, it’s easier to have the notion that after “being good” for so long, uncharacteristic for you at first, you have a guilty pleasure to look forward to rather than not.

Although there are better ways to do this and enjoy more nutritious food in different ways by experimenting with recipes, flavours, and tastes, for many of us there is still a nagging need for that one slice of greasy pizza – and if it’s only one or two slices a week then that isn’t a bad thing.

Personal trainers recommend that the best time to consume your cheat meal is during the post-workout period. It may be obvious but this is because your body is in “fat burning mode” and is more likely to use the meal as energy to burn rather than to be stored as fat.

But the cheat meal is still a grey area and there are a number of things you should always look out for:


·      Cheating too often.


·      Eating too much in a cheat meal.


·      Indulging in cheat days, not meals.


·      Alcohol (need we say more?)


All of these are definitely not conducive to sticking to your diet and will set you back in terms of your weight loss regime. In order to lose weight and develop toned muscles you need to be eating a majority of food that is correct for you. Not only that, but you need to be burning more calories than you are consuming or else the math just won’t add up.


But what is the best way to cheat?


Introducing The 90/10 Plan

The only way that many dieticians, personal trainers and nutritionists agree with is the 90/10 plan. The thinking behind it is that if 90% of the time you’re eating clean and making sure to be getting the proper macro and micronutrients at every meal then you get leeway to cheat for another 10% of the time.

This is a method that is ideal for people who don’t have time to be active all day and are normally sedentary for most of the day, confined to a desk. Here, you will already be restricting the amount of calories you eat because you won’t be burning too much and then when the weekend comes and you are able to be a little more active by going for a run outdoors or a full gym session, you will be able to sneak in your cheat meal.


You should always be conscious of the fact that you are following a nutrition plan and have a fitness and nutrition goal that you are aiming to reach in the quickest amount of time, and the only way that you are going to do this is to stick with your diet and your training regime.

Yes, looking forward to pizza or a burger may be the only thing getting you through the week but if you stick to the diet long enough it won’t feel like a diet anymore, or a restrictive one is probably a better way of putting it.

Try to focus on how you can make this new eating plan more exciting by doing some recipe research on the internet or asking friends what foods they love including in their salads or their own healthy dinners.

Cheat meals do exist but the real value is making the most of what you have now so that even when you have reached the weight that you envisioned yourself having, you don’t see a problem in just standing by your current way of eating and going even further.

Related Posts

Never miss a post!

Get DNAfit's latest content straight to your inbox

We'll send you a monthly blog round-up filled with all our latest posts, eBooks, and special offers.


Subscribe for DNAfit News