How to Have a Healthy Easter
It seems like there’s always another reason to celebrate and a special excuse to cheat a little on your healthy eating. And just when the holidays are over, your New Year’s resolution is written in stone and the thought of summer clothing is getting you motivated, here comes Easter! The ham, the potatoes, and don’t forget candy, candy, candy! It’s not so bad to splurge on Easter Sunday but we all know that the bags of candy bought a few weeks ahead to prepare seem to have disappeared by the time the holiday actually rolls around. So, save the splurging on chocolate eggs for one or two on Easter Sunday and try these five alternative Easter treats to save your diet this year.
1. The Real Deal – Eggs
Eggs have gotten an inconsistent, if not downright bad rap throughout the years because of their somewhat high cholesterol content, but the truth is, the more cholesterol we eat, the less our body produces. Therefore, when a person eats fewer eggs (or fewer or any foods with cholesterol), their body actually produces more cholesterol. What this basically means is that each person’s body has its own set cholesterol level determined more by their genetics and lifestyle habits than by foods eaten day to day. So, eating eggs is not bad for most people and may even be good for you. Egg yolks are super nutrient rich and full of vitamins, and eggs in general are a great source of protein. The rising popularity of egg white foods and ingredients has led some to believe that yolks are a bad part of the egg. In fact, most people without specific health problems should eat the whole egg so they don’t miss out on the nutrients of the yolk. When you have the choice, reach for the authentic product from the basket this year. It’s not made of chocolate, but this is one festive Easter egg you can happily indulge in.
2. Bunny Food – Nuts, Seeds & Trail Mix
A plastic Easter egg is a great way to divvy out individual portions of healthy snacks. Remember, not every egg has to be filled with indulgent candy: seeds, nuts, trail mix and healthy cereal can go into your plastic egg instead. Snacks like these will help take the hunger edge off while you’re waiting for the main event, the big Easter meal. With crunchy and nutritiously satisfying snacks, there will be no need to spend all day filling up on candy.
3. Filling Up With Fruit…Snacks, That Is
Fruit snacks can be the perfect food to fulfill a sweetness craving and fill your stomach up a bit. They come individually packaged, so portion control is a cinch. The key is to make sure you read the list of ingredients before buying. Fruit snacks loaded with artificial flavors, colors, sugars and preservatives won’t be doing your body any favors. Try to find a brand with natural ingredients and real fruit. Don’t be fooled by labels either. Just because a brand is called “organic” does not mean it is healthy or that it is not chock full of sugar. Or, believe it or not, you can make your own fruit snacks. This recipe only contains four easy-to-find ingredients, proving that delicious fruit snack production isn’t as complicated as it sounds.
4. When You Must – Dark Chocolate
Let’s be honest. Sometimes there’s no alternative to chocolate when you’re craving it. Like most things, a bit of chocolate in moderation won’t kill you. But if you’re going to have chocolate, ditch the sugary milk chocolate for much healthier and richer dark chocolate. Dark chocolates, which have more cocoa content and less sugar than milk chocolates, have been shown to improve heart health, brain function, help prevent cancer, and may even help with weight loss, as preliminary studies are beginning to suggest. Dark chocolate is also full of vitamins and minerals and antioxidants. What other candy can offer all this?
5. The Best Things Come In Small Packages – Portion Control
You may have noticed a recurring theme throughout this article. When in doubt, portion control! It’s much easier to plan to eat one or two individually wrapped chocolates and follow through, than to stop yourself from taking handful after handful of loose candies. The act of unwrapping each candy also serves to remind you of the amount you are eating, whereas it’s much easier to mindlessly eat handfuls of jellybeans and underestimate how much you have actually consumed when all is said and done. Paying attention to the serving size and calories on the package is also easier when eating individually wrapped candies or snacks. When you’re aware that two chocolates are 200 calories, you may be more likely to just have one serving.
If you’re trying to be healthier this Easter but are keeping the candy around for the kids, don’t be afraid to change this routine. Kids learn to expect the candy because it’s what they’re always given. Have them hunt for pieces of fruit in addition to the Easter egg hunt and don’t go overboard on candy. Even the White House uses decorative wooden eggs for their annual hunt – it’s about the enjoyment of searching for eggs more than stuffing one’s face with candy. If you’re bringing a dish to a celebration, make sure it’s light and healthy so there’s something you feel comfortable digging into. And remember – everything in moderation! Sample some of the sweet or heavy treats but only if you can limit yourself to a reasonable amount. Happy Easter eating!
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