A balanced diet is exactly what it says on the tin – a diet where anything goes, as long as it is in moderation and puts healthy foods such as vegetables and fruit in front of unhealthy vices.
Cheat days and tucking into the odd chocolate bar is, for many, a great way to stay motivated. Sticking to a nutrition programme 100% of the time can be tricky, but the odd treat has been shown to improve weight-loss results and prevent bingeing.
There are however ways to make smarter choices when you cheat. Here’s our guide to help you out:
If you have given up coffee as a way to improve your health, choosing an organic variety is the best option when you treat yourself. Coffee is one of the most heavily sprayed crops, and non-organic varieties can contain residue from lots of chemicals. These can build up as toxins in the body, which can lead to increased fat storage in the abdomen and enhanced stress levels.
If you’re planning on enjoying a few drinks one evening, choose gluten-free alcohol that is low in sugar. Never drink on an empty stomach and look to supplement your body with zinc and milk thistle on the day to boost your well-being. Drinking lots of water between alcoholic beverages is key to staying hydrated and you should aim to consume lots of cleansing foods (such as ginger, dandelion and beetroot) the next day.
If chocolate is your go-to sweet treat, try to stick to organic, dark varieties that contain higher quality ingredients such as organic cacao and coconut sugar. Standard chocolate bars tend to be heavily processed and include things like artificial sweeteners and emulsifiers. If you are partial to sweets, opt for gluten-free ones that are made from natural sweeteners such as raw honey and maple syrup.
Many people feel better eliminating gluten from their diet, but if you decide to have a cheat day, make sure you eat foods made from good quality flour. Spelt bread is a good choice as it contains high quality gluten which is unlikely to cause a great deal of inflammation and the other issues that are associated with gluten intolerance and sensitivity.