It’s that time again—just when you though the holidays were over! Easter---where supermarkets are filled with displays of marshmallow chicks, silver foiled chocolate Easter eggs, and Easter bunnies. You or your relatives may be planning a massive holiday feast.
Here are some survival tips:
1. Portion control -You will eat chocolate, that’s a given... but just remember portion control. Ultimately, everything is fine in moderation.
2. Quality control -Step away from the cheap foil-clad bunny and exchange it for some dark, good quality chocolate. The highest percentage of cocoa you can find means you're getting a better quality of egg, and dark chocolate is better for you; it's loaded with antioxidants and you're likely to eat less of it, which means you won't be tempted to polish off the whole egg in one sitting! The better the chocolate, the more you will take the time to relax and savor it, which means you're more likely to stop eating when you feel full.
3. Fill up on veggies -On Easter Sunday, don't dive straight into the roast or spend all afternoon picking at the cheese board and nibbling sweets. Fill up with plenty of healthy vegetables during your main meal - these will not only count towards your five a day, but the fiber will also help to fill you up, so you'll be less likely to eat as much sweet or fatty food items.
4. Allow yourself a cheat day -We're all allowed a cheat day! Pick a day. When the day is over, it's back to healthy eating and a balanced lifestyle. Remember that being healthy is all about balance, so if you've indulged and had a hearty breakfast, a lighter lunch and dinner is a great idea.
5. Shift your focus -Remind yourself that holidays are not about a whole season, a whole weekend, or even a whole day. Think about what is on the menu you are planning. Is there anything that you can tweak. You might surprise yourself and your family with something new.
6. Think outside the Box – Instead of buying lots of candy, rethink the basket of chocolate and swap it for a basket of beautiful local fruit. Change the sweets to natural sweets, now is a good time to switch out candy for fruit that is in season. How about a pot of herbs for a gift that keeps giving?
7. Do not skip meals. I repeat: DO NOT SKIP MEALS. Do not think for a second that "oh, I shouldn’t have lunch today because I know there will be chocolate at home so I'll save my appetite 'til then" - NO NO NO NO! Never think that way - you're only setting yourself up for a disaster! If you leave yourself going hungry, your body will ask for anything high in sugar, and you will find yourself reaching for everything in sight (I don't know about you, but everything in my sight now is chocolate eggs and hot cross buns!) Make sure that having nutritious meals are your priority - fill up on lean protein, good sources of fats and grains. This will ensure your body is getting all the essential nutrients it needs, which will result in less cravings and many less episodes of over-indulging.
8. Be active – If you really must indulge, just make sure you keep up with your workouts over the Easter break - even 30 minutes at the gym or just walking can make a difference to your fitness levels and boost your mood!
By: Carol Aguirre MS, RD/LDN