I believe in smart indulgences. It simply isn't human to restrict yourself from all indulgences. If you do, you more than likely will end up unhappy and angry. Then, you'll go overboard when you finally allow yourself to have what you are craving. It is an awful cycle that leaves you feeling upset with yourself.
While I believe in smart indulgences, there are times when I will eat something I am craving even if it is not that healthy. For example, pretzels or microwave popcorn (with butter of course). So how can you stay on track with a healthy lifestyle and still give yourself treats or indulgences occasionally?
One tip that definitely works for me is having a cheat day. One day a week, usually on the weekend when my schedule is more relaxed, I don't worry about what I am eating. Now, with that said, since I have been eating healthy for so long, my cheat days still have healthy components to them. I may still workout out or have a smoothie for breakfast or have a salad for lunch. It just happens to be what is always in my refrigerator and freezer!
So even if I have one healthy meal on a cheat day, I don't worry about having a second glass of wine or having some ice cream for dessert. I just eat what I want and then listen to my body. Your body will tell you if the food you are eating is right for you or not. Recently, I had a cupcake that I thought - this is going to be really good and I'll consider this my cheat food. But when I was done eating it, it really didn't agree with me. It was very sweet and made my stomach hurt. I guess I hadn't had something like that store-bought cupcake in so long, that my body wasn't happy with me!
But that is the amazing part of living a healthy lifestyle. Your body gets used to it and then foods you may have eaten in the past may not be so acceptable to your body! This definitely is a very interesting development for me because it proves that over time, your body does change and react to foods differently. By giving your body healthy, nourishing foods consistently, your body will be unhappy with you when you disrupt it.
Finding healthy indulgences is easier today than it was several years ago. The amount of options available to us via online stores can really open up a whole new world of products for us to enjoy. For example, dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is really good for you because it has flavonoids in it that are helpful in fighting free radicals in your body. Also, Dr. Axe writes that dark chocolate can help improve memory, support healthy blood pressure and improve heart health.
I'll admit it took time for me to acquire a taste for dark chocolate. But if you stick with it by trying different products I promise you will develop a taste for it. I think it takes time to like it because we have to wean ourselves off of the cheap milk chocolate that is prevalent in the US. Also, look for products that are using about 70% of pure cocoa. Anything less than that will not have the health benefits.
Once you acquire a taste for dark chocolate, you'll need to pair it with red wine. Yes - red wine and dark chocolate go really well together. It is one of my favorite pairing combinations. I prefer a Cabernet or Pino Noir when eating dark chocolate. Prevention magazine states that red wine can help lower cholesterol, control blood sugar and boost your brain health. But of course, don't go overboard. Too much of anything is never a good thing! Moderation is key.
I encourage you to start looking for healthy indulgences that give you pleasure. It may be baking chocolate avocado brownies or buying dark chocolate cookies. Maybe you prefer more salty indulgences so maybe try healthier snacks like ChickPea Puffs from Hippeas. It may take some time to find healthy snacks that satisfy your cravings. But if you are willing to try new products, the possibilities are endless!
If you can't find healthier for you snacks, just keep your old stand-by's in the pantry. A trick I use when I want a snack that is not so healthy for me, is to put a small amount in a small bowl, walk out of the kitchen, eat the small portion and then see how I feel. If the small portion has satisfied me, then that is all I needed! If I still want more, then I will drink a glass of water first. Then see if I want more of the snack. You'd be amazed how eating just a little will solve your craving. Plus, water always helps keep my snacking at bay. Nine times out of ten, when we want to eat something, we are usually just thirsty!
I hope this post inspires you to not be too restrictive when you are eating healthy. It is so important to listen to your body and give it small indulgences when you want it. We are not robots! We have cravings and should try to satisfy them. If you want to receive more healthy living tips and free recipes, follow my blog on Bloglovin.