I love the Easter break - we usually head to Canberra for some gorgeous Autumn weather and have an easter egg hunt in my parent's garden with the other grandchildren. As a nutritionist you might be surprised that I like to enjoy nibbling on a chocolate egg myself, I'm not in the corner enjoying a "guilt free" paleo bliss ball or other such nonsense. Indulging in festive treats with your family is part of normal, healthy eating. Easter can be a tough time for those on a self-imposed ‘diet’ or without support for a disordered eating condition. Here's my top tips for enjoying Easter mindfully with your family and friends so that you can manage your weight, energy levels and mood:
- Choose good quality dark chocolate that you really enjoy. Savour it. Don't eat it in front of TV or Facebook. Think about how much you are enjoying that piece and when your pleasure diminishes put the egg away.
- Don't waste your calories on tiny little choc eggs that are full of fillers. Psychologically with the little eggs you don't realise how many calories you are actually consuming and a small bag can set you back 800 calories or so
- If chocolate isn't your thing perhaps your gift from loved ones could be a new running top, a great book or movie tickets
- Use the Easter break as an opportunity to fit in more exercise, either with your family or solo. We are planning some parkrun tourism as a family, I am heading to the gym before we leave tomorrow morning for a strength workout and I'll be slotting in a long solo run on Monday. Take your kids for a bike ride or to the park for a game of footy.
- Save the Hot Cross buns for Easter Sunday, they are a treat - you don't need them late April when I can guarantee they will still be on sale. I buy the mini buns or bake them myself
- Tune into your body's signals of hunger and fullness. The answer to the question "how much chocolate is too much" is feeling uncomfortably full or sick or no longer enjoying the food while eating it.
- Give away or toss any low quality extras after Monday - if they are in the house you or the kids will eat them eventually
Good quality dark chocolate has been linked to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and improved exercise performance. The health benefits are due to the flavenols in the cocoa which are full of potent antioxidants. Don't forget though that flavenols are also contained in fruit, vegetables, red wine and tea.
Consider Mindful Eating over the Easter break by making more conscious food choices, paying attention to how you eat, and practicing self-acceptance. Happy Easter!