How to Really Go All Out on Your Cheat Day

by Zoe Lance ; Updated September 26, 2016

Here are two words that make even the most hardcore gym junkie’s heart flutter: cheat day. It’s the one day a week when you can take a break from a constricting diet. If you’ve been really, really good for six whole days — ahem, protein shakes for breakfast, salads for lunch and grilled salmons for dinner — then you definitely deserve an over-the-top cheat day. This coming Sunday, clear your schedule to make indulgent recipes at home. Go for the oh-so-good nacho cheese dip, flavorful fried chicken or satisfying mashed potatoes. Remember, it’s all about balance. Here are 10 recipes to inspire you to have a glorious cheat day.

Break Out the Nacho Cheese

On a list of favorite party foods, nacho cheese dip would be near the top. Since a cheat day is basically a chance to celebrate your week’s hard work, you should have party food. Buy your favorite tortilla chips, and spring for the works to go with the cheese: ground beef, jalapeños and sour cream.

Dive Into Beer-Battered Fish

Instead of opting for your regular grilled fish and veggie combo, take the opportunity to chow down on a less-healthy, but more delectable beer-battered version. Pair with a hearty side of french fries, and you’ve got yourself a cheat meal.

Clean Out the Macaroni and Cheese

Are you the kind of person who could eat pasta 24/7, 365 and wouldn’t mind at all? OK, you have to try this macaroni and cheese recipe on your cheat day. Don’t forget to Snapchat the gooey, cheesy goodness before you dig in — it’ll be gone before you know it.

Go 0 to 100 on a Bucket of Fried Chicken

Skip the drive-thru line and go straight to your own kitchen to make the best fried chicken you’ll ever taste. Then, have a piece, or six, of fried goodness. And remember: if you have a green smoothie for breakfast or an acai bowl for lunch, it’s totally cool to have fried chicken for dinner.

Pig Out on Pork Ribs

Start the week off right with a pork rib dinner, complete with all of the barbecue power players on the side: baked beans, hush puppies and potato salad. Baking the ribs in the oven gets you a few health-conscious points in our book.

Whip Up Mashed Potatoes

If you’ve been good and swapped out chips for salad during your weekday lunches, don’t feel guilty about making mashed potatoes as part of Sunday night dinner. Portion control doesn’t count on your cheat day, so go back for seconds — or even thirds.

Dig Deep Into a Slab of Brownie

Park yourself on the couch, bring up your favorite television show on Netflix, and chill out with a pan of brownies. This recipe is extra gratifying, too — you can make these from a cake mix. If you add an extra-thick layer of frosting, we definitely won’t judge you.

Cheers to Boozy Milkshakes

Whiskey hot fudge and a whipped Irish cream topping sound pretty dang good right now, huh? Combine two of your favorite treats (beer and ice cream) for the most indulgent Guinness-based dessert. It’s 5 p.m. somewhere, so put this on your afternoon to-do list.

Devour a Dozen Apple Hand Pies

When it’s 3 p.m. on Tuesday and you’re daydreaming about going to the cafe for a cookie and a sugary drink, bring up this apple hand pie recipe on your computer and hold tight for the weekend. This won’t even really be a full cheat, since these hand pies are made from fruit — they have to be just a little healthy, right?

Destroy a Pan of Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

If you’ve been itching for a pumpkin spice latte lately, these pumpkin cinnamon rolls will please your craving. It’s a great way to get your cheat day started: have these at brunch with your favorite latte from the coffee shop around the corner. Life’s too short to eat healthy all the time, so you should really treat yourself on your cheat day. You’ve earned it.

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About the Author

Zoe Lance is a writer and editor interested in all things art and culture. She earned her bachelor's degree at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.