Whether it’s for an upcoming vacation or as part of a serious lifestyle adjustment, we’ve all committed to some pretty punishing diets at one point or another. There seems to be an entire industry built around the idea of “cheating” at a diet, be it with “slim” versions of our favourite fatty treats or by incredibly complex portion control regimes. The central tenet of these shortcuts is that humans are, by nature, easily tempted creatures. We may value a healthy BMI and a nutritious lifestyle, but when we’re confronted with a sugary treat, we’re likely the crumple completely and watch our values go straight out the window. However, the differences between a healthy diet and our inclination towards indulgent treats are far from irreconcilable. Here are some helpful and simple tips on enjoying a treat during your diet.
Go for Few and Far Between
As with all aspects of a balanced lifestyle, moderation is key. There’s no reason you can’t enjoy some of your favourite treats as long as you do so with a little caution. Dieticians suggest that treats should never constitute more than 20% of your total calorie intake, which seems like a pretty wide berth when you’re on a normal diet. However, if you’re attempting to stick to a more rigid nutrition regime then this figure should probably be lower. Allocate yourself a certain amount over a certain time period, i.e. a bag of chips once a week, or a slim slice of cake every weekend, and you’ll be able to indulge without messing with your diet. The key element here is self-control, so maybe steer clear if that’s not your strong suit.
Whatever Your Favourite Snack, A Healthier Version Exists
It’s true. Even if your biggest guilty pleasure is a filthy, greasy kebab or a four-cheese pizza, you can guarantee that a little research will throw up a much healthier version of the same dish. One good option for switching up your treats is by going for the vegan version of it. A seitan kebab or jackfruit pizza has a fraction of the calories of the meat-based versions and is more likely to be loaded with fibre, vitamins, and proteins. You can also take steps to switch out some ingredients and make your treats healthier. For example, you can feel free to indulge your sweet tooth by opting for a fruit-based dessert, meaning you can gorge on cake whilst still being on track for your five a day. Diet versions of many of your favourite foods are also likely to be easily available, so always explore your options before indulging.
Drop the Guilt
This is a hugely important piece of advice for those wondering how to maintain their wellbeing on a diet. It’s all too easy to fall into a toxic cycle of guilt and self-loathing when your resistance inevitably caves and you end up indulging your cravings. However the guilt will just contribute to a never-ending cycle that can be impossible to break, so embrace your human flaws and simply promise to do better next time, and don’t dwell on the fact that you couldn’t resist a cheeky ice cream during the hot summer.