Why I don’t believe in ‘cheat meals’

IMG_20160712_195511-1030x579There is something about calling my Friday night pizza and wine a ‘cheat meal’ that just doesn’t sound right. The smokey wood-fired crust, the soft layer of melted cheese and the pops of flavour from caramelised vegetables or creamy avocado – how can that ever be considered a sin? And when a raise my glass, pizza slice in the other hand, I cheer to those who keep me company, make me laugh and bless me with love unconditionally. My Friday night pizza and wine is most definitely not a ‘cheat meal’, it is a wonderful end to a hard-working week and an absolute treat on my social calendar.

Although I generally do eat more healthily during any given week and reserve to spoil myself with a more indulgent meal or dessert only once or twice a week, I have never considered calling it a ‘cheat meal’. Sure, it is deviation from my day-to-day diet and I won’t make it the norm, but why give it such a terrible, shaming name? When I bite, chew and savour my way through a decadent meal, I relish in the moment of yumminess that I have been looking forward to from the moment I have made the plans to eat it. By no means am I punishing myself or my body by eating my Friday night pizza, and therefore I refuse to refer to it in such a way.

So, I have been struggling to come up with a word to best describe that once-in-a-week, teensy bit higher in fat/sugar/carbs meal that doesn’t have such a negative connotation. Because truth be told, if I were to call my meals a ‘cheat’, I’d bury my face in them from all the guilt and not look back! But then it clicked when I was scrolling through my Instagram feed one day and came across a delicious-looking food post from the Irish personal trainer Nathalie. Instead of referring to her food as a ‘cheat’ she chose to instead name it her TREAT meal. How much better does that sound?? We all mostly know the difference between the foods that are ‘healthy’ and those which are considered to be ‘unhealthy’, but in the end we all still need a treat from to time to time to keep us motivated to eat our vegetables and enjoy our food for the nourishing fuel it is.

All in all, I do eat chocolate, ice-cream, burgers, sushi (I could go on, but the list would be too long for this post) and I enjoy them thoroughly too. And yes, I don’t eat them everyday, but I don’t limit myself too much either. If it so happens that I eat a burger and a pizza in the same week – score! And if I stick to only one glass (instead of two) of wine with dinner – that’s great too. As long as I get to share that meal, dessert or drink with my friends or loved ones, the calorie profile of the ingredients doesn’t really matter. What is important, is that I am blessed with the opportunity of having delicious treat meals and conversations with people who feed my soul.


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