Easter is a time to indulge in the finest food and wine alongside friends and family, with chocolate lurking at every turn. Add to that an extravaganza of hot cross buns and other delicious goodies and you think all those new years resolutions you’ve tried to stick to have been a complete waste.
Of course we’re not suggesting you avoid chocolate altogether, it is Easter after all and we don’t want to put the Easter bunny out of a job. Instead, find balance so that you can enjoy the tasty traditions of Easter and still feel good about yourself the next day.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind so you can enjoy a guilt free Easter.
Switch to the dark side
There is no need to avoid chocolate altogether at Easter, after all Chocolate is half of the fun of Easter. Instead, where possible, avoid milk chocolate and opt for dark chocolate.
According to Body and Soul, in 2008, researchers from the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Copenhagen found that dark chocolate is not only more filling than milk chocolate, but it also lessens subsequent cravings for sweet, salty and fatty foods.
Dark chocolate also contains less added sugar and fat, is higher in antioxidants, and it has even been found to help lower blood pressure, boosts serotonin and protects your skin so it makes you feel good, and look good too.
Caution with portions
It may seem obvious, but often the temptation can be too much at Easter time and we overindulge. Try and be cautious with your portions, and stick to a handful; tightly cup your hands together and fill the space with eggs, no higher than the height of your thumbs. The same rule applies to your intake of hot-cross buns per day over the Easter break. This will be sure to keep you feeling good, and will keep your waistline intact.
As they say, sharing is caring, and another great way to monitor your portions is by sharing your chocolate with your loved ones. If it’s too hard to part with your chocolate however, why not keep it aside and eat it throughout the remainder of the month.
It is also an idea to try and limit your celebrations to one or two days, rather than every day over the Easter long weekend. Why not try one day off, one day on?
Try and balance out your chocolate intake with some healthy snacks such as carrots and celery sticks, just like the Easter bunny himself. While your at it, why not work in some fresh fruit? Coat strawberries, bananas or kiwifruit in melted dark chocolate. Or get the kids to help you make fruit skewers to dip in melted chocolate. By working fruit into your Easter treats, you’ll benefit from their many nutritional benefits like vitamins and fibre.
It is also a good idea to stock your fridge with delicious healthy substitutes rather than just Easter treats so that way when you’re hungry you’re not automatically reaching for the eggs.
Quality over quantity
Invest in good quality chocolate, rather than buying lots of poor quality chocolate with loads of added sugars and sweeteners.
Keep chocolate for dessert
Accoring to Naturopath Tim Altman, eating Easter eggs on an empty stomach will spike blood sugar levels and put you on a hunger and energy level roller coaster so make sure you eat Easter eggs after having a high protein-based or high-fibre meal.
Try raw chocolate
If you haven’t tried cacao already, Easter may be the perfect time to start. Cacao is chocolate in it’s raw form and is packed with antioxidants, calcium and potassium. We have a number of raw options but our favourites include Pana and Loving Earth – available in a variety of flavours, there’s sure to be one to tickle your fancy.
Give in to your cravings
According to practicing dietitian Ashleigh Brunner, studies have proven that if you deny your food cravings, you are actually more likely to overindulge, so with Easter being a special occasion, it is okay to eat some chocolate, and not feel bad about it.
With Easter comes plenty of delicious food, but also plenty of downtime with an especially long weekend. Why not take the time to get outdoors with your family and loved ones and spend some time exercising, even if just for 30 minutes a day?
Boost your seafood intake
Given that Easter is a time when some people opt to avoid red meat, it is a great opportunity to your boost your fish and seafood intake. All seafood is rich in protein and healthy omega 3 fatty acids. According to the CSIRO, research published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that increased blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids were associated with a healthier body mass index, a smaller waist and a smaller hip size, so you could actually kick start your weight loss over the Easter period.