If you’re serious about your diet, chances are you’ve incorporated a cheat meal to handle your cravings. Many guys end up ruining their diets when trying to incorporate a “day off” or a planned unhealthy meal once a week for a variety of reasons. Here are a few ways you can incorporate a cheat meal in your diet, and at the same time minimizing the damage to your body.
Bring on the Protein
Most guys plan their cheat meal when they’re grabbing beers with friends or heading to a party. To reduce the amount of junk you let your body take in, try to eat 40-60 grams of protein 30 minutes before you leave the house. Throw some chicken breasts in the oven. Have a protein shake with some eggs. Anything that will make you feel full will do the job. That way, by the time you get to the bar, you can still meet your cravings while not over-gorging yourself.
No Late-Night Munchies
Be strict about what your cheat meal is. It’s OK to say you’re going to have a night out and splurge, but don’t let one meal get out of hand when you start to get buzzed. Some guys can mess this up when they start drinking with friends and around 2:00 a.m., everyone starts getting hungry. To avoid this, make sure you either drive yourself or get a ride home after 12:00 a.m. No matter what, avoid the peer pressure from your friends to go to the late-night diner. The 2:00 a.m. meal will not only kill your gains, but you’ll feel flat and tired at the gym the next morning.
Try Straight Alcohol
When ordering drinks, usually what does the most harm isn’t the alcohol but all the extra sugar the bartender throws in. If you want to throw down a few drinks but not ruin your gains doing it, try avoiding beers and sugary mixed drinks. Instead, go with a gin and tonic or straight whiskey. You’ll reduce the calories and have less of a hangover the next day.
Be Smart About When to Cheat
Usually, you won’t need to plan for a cheat meal because they’ll show up throughout the week. Office parties, birthdays and friends or family are just a few examples. Unless you want to miss out on the fun, you’ll find yourself cheating your diet once or twice a week without planning for it. That’s fine, as long as you recognize that you don’t need to add a planned cheat day to your schedule every week. Eat clean, cut as much damage before cheat meals as possible, and you’ll continue to make gains every day.