We are halfway through the summer season, which means we are all likely pretty familiar with the gym and diet routines that we frantically adopted a few months ago to fit back into our favourite warm-weather outfits. But healthy eating shouldn’t mean depriving ourselves of all culinary pleasures, right?
As clean as our diets may be, there is always room for a cheat meal here and there. Of course, with all those weekly summer BBQ’s, Taco Tuesdays and Instagram-worthy ice cream shops that we would hate to ignore, sometimes it isn’t about always saying ‘no’ to the splurge, but simply putting a healthier twist on your favourite indulgences.
Luckily, we’ve rounded up a list of our favourite healthy twists on some of your favourite cheat meals this summer:
Cheat Meal: Burger
Health(ier) Alternative: Homemade Black Bean Burger with Vegan Big Mac Sauce
Recipe Source: @foodbymaria
Ingredients (serves 6):
– ½ white onion
– 2 cloves of garlic
– ½ cup sweet corn fresh or from a can (strained and drained)
– 1 cup black beans – strained and drained
– ½ cup fresh cilantro
– 1 cup cooked brown rice
– 1 cup Harvest Snaps (lightly Salted) or ½ Panko – if GF use GF bread crumbs
– 2 tbsp Kalikori Olive Oil
– 1 tsp salt
– 1 tsp pepper
– 1 tsp Maggi seasoning
– Seed buns (use what you like)
– Fresh tomato
– Butter lettuce
– Fresh sprouts
– Jalapeno havarti
Vegan Big Mac Sauce:
– 1 cup vegan mayo (Vegenaise)
– ¼ cup ketchup
– ¼ cup white onions, finely chopped
– ¼ cup Maille Canada Original Gherkin, finely chopped
– Dash of lemon
– Dash of olive oil
– Dash of hot sauce
– 1 tsp salt
– 1 tsp pepper
1. Preheat your oven to 375F
2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment and spray with coconut oil or olive oil – set aside.
3. Into a food processor add all the ingredients for the burger patties. Blend till smooth, the mixture should almost stick together.
4. Using a ½ cup mould begin shaping your patties. You can add a bit of coconut oil and bread crumbs to the ½ cup to avoid sticking, then smack down the mould and release your patty on the baking sheet. Once you have all your patties shaped then pat them down gently to flatten them for even cooking.
5. Cook in the oven for 30-35 minutes and flip them half way through. You want them nice and golden brown. 6. In the mean time prepare all your fixins’, toast your buns and make your Big Mac Sauce !
Cheat Meal: Ice Cream
Health(ier) Alternative: Salted Caramel Swirl Ice Cream (raw, vegan, refined sugar free)
Recipe Source: @ourholistickitchen
– 1 cup (150g) raw cashews (soaked 6 hours, rinsed & drained)
– 1 cup (250ml) coconut cream
– 1/3 cup (80ml) coconut nectar
– ½ tsp mesquite powder
– 1/3 cup (80ml) melted coconut oil
– ¼ cup (45g) Loving Earth’s choc coated cacao nibs
– ½ block (40g) Loving Earth’s salted caramel chocolate
– Loving Earth’s caramel & choc coated almonds
– Loving Earth’s salted caramel chocolate pieces
1. Blend cashews, coconut cream, coconut nectar and mesquite in a high-speed blender until completely smooth and creamy.
2. Add coconut oil and blend until completely combined.
3. Pour mixture into a metal loaf tin. Fold in cacao nibs.
4. Melt chocolate and drizzle over ice cream. Using a teaspoon fold and twirl chocolate into the ice cream to make a swirl pattern.
5. Cover tin tightly with foil and freeze overnight until set.
6. Remove from freezer 10 minutes before serving to soften slightly. Scoop into ice cream cones or small bowls, sprinkle with toppings.
Cheat Meal: Pizza
Health(ier) Alternative: Flat Bread BBQ Chicken Pizza
Recipe Source: @tarynshealthyeats
– 1 large flat bread or tortilla (She uses Joseph’s Lavash Bread since the macros are awesome)
– BBQ sauce (She used Guys!)
– 1 chicken breast
– 30g of low fat, old cheddar cheese
** This entire pizza is only 9g of fat, 24g of carbs and a whopping 45g of protein
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. Bake the flatbread for 3 minutes on each side .
3. Remove and top with BBQ sauce, chicken pieces and cheese (plus any seasoning you want to add)
4. Bake pizza for 6-8 minutes .
Cheat Meal: Something Sweet
Health(ier) Alternative: Decadent Cacao Zucchini Brownies
Recipe Source: @fit.full
– 1 Flax Egg (or a normal egg if you don’t have a dairy sensitivity)
– 4 Large Zucchinis
– 1/3 Cup Melted Coconut Oil
– 1 1/2 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
– 1 Cup Gluten-Free Flour
– 1/2 Cup Raw Cacao Powder
– 2/3 Cup Coconut Sugar
– 1 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
– 1/4 Tsp Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
– 1/2 Cup Raw Cacao Nibs/Pure Dark Chocolate Chips
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Line a 8″x8″ pan with parchment paper, or grease with coconut oil using your hand. Ensure that the corners and edges are thoroughly greased.
3. Take your pre-made flax egg and place in large mixing bowl.
4. Wash your zucchinis and cut off the stem with a knife.
5. Chop into smaller chunks and place in a food processor or blender.
6. Blend until zucchinis are a puree and transfer into large mixing bowl with flax egg.
7. Add the coconut oil and vanilla extract to bowl and whisk together.
8. Then add gluten-free flour, cacao powder, coconut sugar, baking soda, salt, and cacao nibs or chocolate chips to the wet ingredients, and mix together.
9. Pour batter into the pan and even the surface with the back of a spatula.
10. Bake for 30min (or until a toothpick comes out clean after inserting it into the middle of the brownies).
11. Remove from oven and let cool.
12. Flip brownies out of the pan on to a cutting board and slice into 16 equal squares.