A Fighter's Cheat Day Meals (That Aren’t Really Cheating!)

Athletes, especially boxers, don’t diet and exercise, they eat and train. I personally don’t believe in “cheat meals” or “cheat days,” but instead, I focus on making consistent, smart, and healthy choices that are sustainable year-round. My golden rule is this: the less refined and processed a food is, the more likely I am to put it in my body. My body is my temple, and I like to treat it as such by nourishing it with healthy food, filled with both macronutrients (lean proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). If you are going to have a “cheat meal,” make it a healthy one!

Here are three popular (and some of my favorite) cheat day meals--and a dessert--that are smarter, healthier choices.

3 BEST “Cheat Day” Meals + Dessert

Vegetable Pizza With Cauliflower Crust

Yes! Have the pizza! Opt for a pizza made with cauliflower crust and tons of vegetables. Make it a “pizza salad” and top it with fresh arugula or spinach.

I love to top my cauliflower crust pizza with all of the veggies--tomatoes, onions, peppers, olives, pineapple, you name it! And load it up with fresh garlic. Garlic is a great immune booster, plus it adds a ton of flavor so I cook with it as much as possible.

Black Bean and Brown Rice Tacos

Taco Tuesday coming right up! Skip the sour cream and cheese, and load your tacos with a grilled protein of your choice, cabbage, salsa, and guacamole. Make sure to choose soft corn tortillas or lettuce to fill. You can even get creative and try a jicama wrap.

My favorite tacos are filled with tofu or portobello mushrooms, chopped lettuce and tomatoes, and served with brown rice and black beans (perfect protein!) on the side.

Black Bean Burger With Sweet Potato Fries

Burgers are having a healthy moment. Many companies have introduced veggie burgers that have just a few ingredients but pack a flavor punch. Use a gluten-free bun or even lettuce instead of a brioche bun. Don’t forget to add thick tomato and onion slices for a dose of antioxidants.

For me, the perfect burger is a black bean patty topped with extra tomatoes, pickles, lettuce, and grilled onions, wrapped in lettuce, with sweet potato fries on the side.

Banana Ice Cream

When we skip dessert, we can feel deprived. I enjoy making “nice” cream at home with bananas. You can top it with raw almonds and vegan chocolate chips to make it extra special.

My go-to “nice cream” toppings are cacao nibs, chia seeds, nut butter, and sliced bananas.

As you can see, eating like a boxer and an athlete can be fun, tasty, and convenient. It all comes down to reading the menu and making choices that are in line with your goals. Make sure to check out the FightCamp YouTube channel and blog for some additional tips on how to eat like a boxer as well as some great recipes and pre- and post-workout snacks and meals.

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The Author: Shanie "Smash" Rusth is an undefeated professional mixed martial artist, FightCamp Trainer, and mother of two. She began training MMA in 2011 as a way to get in shape, learn a new skill, channel aggression, and feel empowered after becoming a young single mom. Outside of practicing martial arts and being a trainer, Shanie loves spending time in the gym and being active in the sunshine with her kids by going to the beach, running in the soft sand, and riding skateboards. Shanie is also USA Boxing Coach certified.