By : Komal Thakur (B.Pharm, Diploma in Naturopathy, Specialist in Clinical Dietetics)

Cheat food- Make it work!

Its 2021 and still when we hear the word diet, we go “ugh, I can’t do that”. We still believe diet is all about sticking to a very strict regimen of not so yummy food, where we can eat what we like and call it a cheat meal. It’s a mindset with which we have grown up and it’s a mindset that is difficult to change. However, eating anything knowing that it's bad for your health is not really the right thing to do. The point of food is to enjoy it, cherish every bite and not feel guilty about it. When you eat the pizza or a burger be aware that it is doing you some good, it has certain valuable nutrients that will do good to your body. When you consume anything knowing its value, it certainly does you and your health good.


Give me any cheat meal and I can convert it into a perfectly healthy meal without altering the taste drastically. It’s not tough it’s only a few very easy food replacements. Let’s call it a food swipe. Hell, even the FMCG giants now are very well aware of the change in demographic preferences. Everything has been modified to reduce calories, with the health-conscious population on a rise. I do not like this term because I believe that everyone should be health-conscious or at least aware of what we are putting in our mouths.


Imagine throwing a party for your friends and not being able to eat what they prefer to eat. Let us just imagine that you have recently fixated yourself on a diet regimen and are absolutely unable to enjoy it because you can’t fathom the courage to break your regimen. Even worst, just imagine going on a trip and feeling guilty every single day because you believe you are eating the wrong kind of food. Let me break your myths one by one and help you enjoy your life while remaining absolutely healthy.


I am sure many of you people would have seen Shilpa Shetty’s Instagram where every Sunday she does the Sunday Binge reel. She is seen eating any random food but she is totally enjoying it. It makes her so happy, which obviously also indicates that she’s refraining from eating that all week and binging on a Sunday. Does that mean that any other food she’s consuming daily, is making her unhappy? One would wonder.


So let’s jump to how you can make your everyday meals healthier and still yummy! What are the topmost favorite cheat meals for everyone? Burgers, for sure! Pasta, UMMM, one would rightly guess so! Any Chinese food, why not? How about Mexican, Bring it ON! Cookies, Oh yes!


Let me quickly try to make some twists and turns to these recipes to make you feel super healthy post consuming these and then maybe never wanting to cheat on your diet, but rather wanting to cheat on your cheat food with these diet-friendly recipes.


Let’s start with the pasta!

If you have no problem with gluten, get the durum wheat pasta. You can also get rice noodles, which are not bad at all. If you want to be gluten-free, you can check out the gluten-free variants made out of ragi. This cuts off the guilt by 50%, plus it adds to the health benefits.


To make the red sauce- Take 4 tomatoes, add some garlic and grind it to perfection. This means tons of Lycopene from Tomatoes and an immunity boost from the garlic. Add some salt+ pepper+ oregano and add the pasta to it. Cook for a while and Voilà. If you top it with a little cheese of your choice, it just adds to the protein boost. Mind you even the Ragi and Tomatoes are adding to multivitamins and protein.

For white pasta, you can use a little butter, add some garlic to the butter, stir it. Add a mixture of a spoon of rice flour in a cup of water. Keep stirring. Add half a cup of milk. Oregano and salt to taste. Your sauce is ready. Minimum fat and healthy calories!


Any Chinese food:

Contrary to popular belief rice is not unhealthy. Yes, it has its fair share of carbs but you can remove the extra starch by boiling the rice in excess water and draining the extra water off. Calorie cut by 25%. Brown rice is always an option.

For the simple Chinese stir fry gravy (Of course, I will not fry anything there)- You need a paste of ginger+ garlic+ Chili+ 2 tomatoes. Stir it on high flame and remove the excess water. Add some light soya sauce to this. Pinch of salt + pepper + Jaggery. For the sourness, you can add half a lemon. You can use this sauce for vegetables, Mushrooms, Cottage cheese, Chicken, stir-fried rice and even quinoa.


Soft Shell Tacos:

For the taco shells: Roll out small flatbreads out of bajra / ragi dough. Gluten-free- check!


For the stuffing:

Soak red kidney beans overnight and boil them before your meal prep.

For the gravy, you need 3 tomatoes+ garlic+ ginger+ red chilli + Carrom seeds. Grind and cook in a pan. Add boiled kidney beans to this.

Chop a cabbage or lettuce very finely.

Stuff the taco shell with the kidney bean prep and top it up with the cabbage, a little mustard sauce. Yes, it’s as simple as that!

Low cal- Check. Protein dense- Check. Anti-oxidant- Check. High Fiber- Check. Good carbs- Check.



Tons of recipes available online for baking healthy cookies at home, however, butter has been the ingredient of choice. How do we bake them healthy? Can we still binge on cookies if we don’t know how to bake them ourselves? GRD Bix and GRD Lite protein biscuits is the way to go as they are made up of compressed technology. With several flavors both sweet and savory, do we even need to bake them at home? Once you read the ingredients and health benefits, I doubt you would want to miss them.


Hope you enjoy these recipe transformations!




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