A Healthier Cheat Meal
By Johnathan Zamora
For most bodybuilders the cheat meal is something of a sacred ritual, a practice that is looked forward to after a week of disciplined eating. Cheat meals provide a break from, generally speaking, the normal everyday round of chicken breast/brown rice/mixed vegetable meals that serve as perfect bodybuilding foods but offer little in regards to variety.The cheat meals chosen by bodybuilders vary from foods as simple as spaghetti and meatballs to chicken wings, Chinese food, ice cream etc. Personally, I crave pizza for my cheat meals. With so many options to build a pizza – from various sauces, an almost unlimited number of toppings, the types of dough to use etc. pizza is a meal with almost limitless possibilities.
Cheat meals are a necessity for any fitness enthusiast or bodybuilder. With our diets calculated to the gram and meals being portioned for a couple of days ahead, the cheat meal provides a way to keep us sane, not to mention keep our bodies guessing and the metabolism firing. On the other hand, too much cheat – eating can have a negative impact on our results and consequently our physique goals. The important point to remember is that the cheat meal is a meal, not a cheat day. It doesn’t make sense to give 100% in the gym only to blow all your hard work on one day of eating until your pants burst.
One of the ways I noticed by body change while living fit is how sensitive it has become to eating foods that are high in fat, sugar, sodium etc. I find that my once favorite foods (Chinese food) I can no longer eat since I get physically sick for two days after eating a combination platter of General Tso’s Chicken, complete with fried rice, egg roll, etc. This reaction made me want to steer clear from “cheat foods” since I wanted to enjoy myself but didn’t want to get sick.
With trial and sometimes painful error, I’ve discovered what works for me – eating a lean cheat meal. Don’t get me wrong – I still eat foods that are typically higher in fat and carbohydrates than my everyday meals, I just try not to go overboard. A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I were coming up with ideas for a pizza that we could enjoy but that was not soaked in grease.
We rolled out a pre-made, store bought whole wheat pizza dough, placed string cheese on the outer rim of the crust and folded the dough over the cheese sticks. For toppings, we chopped 4 whole tomatoes, basil, kosher salt, minced garlic and pepper. We mixed the topping ingredients together in a glass bowl and set aside. After baking the stuffed crust at 450° for roughly 10 minutes, we removed it from the oven and topped it with the tomato mixture. No extra cheese is needed, since we added it before baking.
A gorgeous and bright “healthier cheat meal” that satisfied our appetite, not to mention easy to make, and has gourmet taste. I highly recommend this dish to anyone as it blends into the bodybuilding/fitness lifestyle perfectly. You can see the end result pictured below.
We also increased our protein consumption by snacking on Boneless Buffalo Chicken Tenders with light ranch dipping sauce that you see pictured below. This protein boost added a bit of heat (and tons of flavor) to our cheat meal.
The Fit Chef
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