Healthy eating doesn’t have to mean deprivation or completely eliminating your favorite comfort foods. It also doesn’t mean binging on those cheat days that result in a food coma the next day or a load of guilt. In fact, cheat and enjoy those favorite foods, but with a twist. Take your favorite foods and cheat meal and recreate them with these fresh substitutes that will still keep you on track while satisfying those cravings and keeping you from falling victim to those awful food comas or guilt.
Game Night Cheat Meal
Who doesn’t love pizza? It’s no secret however, pizza isn’t exactly healthy what with the flour crust, cheesy goodness, and salty satisfaction. But there are still ways to enjoy pizza-like options! One of my favorite ways is taking zucchini and slicing it to make little pizza bites. Just slice, top with a dab of natural tomato sauce, some fresh mozzarella, and a turkey pepperoni or two. A couple of things to note about using zucchini: It cooks very quickly, so cooking only takes a maximum of five minutes on 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, I like to salt my zucchini first, about 30 minutes prior to cooking. This helps release the water and zucchini holds a lot of water. Doing this helps keep the bites from turning out soggy or limp.
Nachos Piled High
Did you know nachos originated from Northern Mexico? While they definitely won’t make the list of top ten most healthy foods any time soon, they sure are delicious and fun to eat. And now, your healthy eating habits don’t mean you have to miss out. Next time you’re craving nachos, ditch the chips for some bell pepper slices instead piled with jalapenos, some seasoned ground turkey, a sprinkled of sharp shredded cheddar, black beans, and a dollop of sour cream. Yum!
Deconstructed Egg Roll
If you are anything like me, eggrolls are your jam and sometimes you get a craving for them. There’s just something about the flavorful inside with that super crunchy outside. The outside eggroll is fried and very unhealthy, but there is a healthier way to enjoy the flavors and satisfy your eggroll desires. Deconstruct it! All it takes is one pan and I highly recommend using a spicy Italian ground sausage because it will add so much flavor! If you are absolutely dying for that crispiness from the eggroll wrapper, instead try taking some wonton wrappers and slicing them, either bake or toss them in your air fryer and sprinkle over top. This is a great substitute for your favorite Chinese cheat meal.
Cauliflower Fried Rice
Fried rice just got so easy and healthy. Grab yourself a bag of Bird’s eye mixed vegetables and riced cauliflower. Now get a couple of eggs, beat them and start cooking them over some medium heat. As they cook, add in your veggies and the cauliflower and begin to add in some soy sauce to your taste. Keep cooking this until the cauliflower starts to get a little crispy. This is going to be oh so good. Even better, if you have an air fryer, you can air fry some chicken and throw that over top as well.
Good ‘Ole Comfort Food
Sweet Potato Lasagna
If there’s one cheat meal I would choose over pizza, it’d be lasagna. The smooth cheese, thick noodles, warm sauce, and plentiful sausage. I also like to throw in some sliced zucchini and mushrooms and diced peppers. But it does make me feel a little heavy the next day, I know it’s not a healthy option. There’s a better way to enjoy this and still feel good about me and my health goals! Replace the noodles with thin slices of sweet potatoes and replace the ricotta cheese with cottage cheese. Layer sweet potato, a tomato sauce, and ground turkey mixture, ricotta cheese, and spinach and repeat ending with the spinach. Top with a thin layer of shredded mozzarella and cook covered at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 40 minutes.
Zoodles and Turkey Meatballs
Spaghetti and meatballs are an all-time favorite cheat meal that mama used to make for the family. Now, mama made hers with a completely homemade meat sauce (heavy on the meat) and multiple kinds of cheese sprinkled on top once it was plated served with a thick slice of garlic bread. Sounds good right? Also heavy on the carbs and very calorie-dense. Instead, swap the pasta for zucchini noodles (a.k.a zoodles) and the meat sauce for organic tomato sauce with turkey meatballs. How do you make zoodles? The cool thing is, many stores now are selling already “zoodled” zucchini noodles. But if you can’t find those, you can always buy a spiralizer to make your own zoodles!
FAITH ENGEN ELLIS
Faith is a southern girl, born and raised in North Carolina. She enjoys spending time with her husband and fur-baby.
Faith is living a healthy lifestyle and her ultimate passion is to inspire others to do the same.
She decided to change the way she was living 4 years ago, but she wasn’t expecting to actually fall in love with it!
Now she enjoys experimenting with different kinds of fitness and challenging her body to new heights whether it be pilates, plyometric training, or weight training, and she aims to inspire others to realize the strength within themselves as well.
Faith’s favorite product for pre-workout is the Optimum Nutrition Essential Amino Energy line. Her favorite flavor so far has been the peach lemonade, but next on her list is Mocha Cappuccino, yum! The use of natural caffeine sources is a real win for this product and it mixes easily, so there is no grainy texture.
For protein sources, she enjoys Oh Yeah! One Bars for a quick and filling snack on-the-go, of which she has many favorite flavors! Or Gaspari Precision Protein to mix up a shake. Faith’s favorite recipe uses 1 scoop of the Cinnamon Cereal Crunch flavor, mixed with 1/2 a banana, 1/4 a cup of vanilla Greek yogurt, 1 tsp cinnamon, 8 ounces of unsweetened almond milk, and 1 cup of ice.
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