With Easter just around the corner it’s difficult to avoid the obligatory binge: chocolate (anything), hot cross buns and, let’s be honest, everything in sight… especially if your family starts to pressure you into having ‘just one more’ slice or serving. While it can take three seconds to consume a 200g Easter egg, it can take a three-hour run to counteract the sugar content. A hot cross bun slathered in butter isn’t much better, sitting around the 350 calorie mark, and will take 40+ minutes of running to burn it off. Not ideal, right?
So, let’s get a grip this Easter with these healthy habits.
1. Portion control
You will eat chocolate, that’s a given… but just remember portion control. Ultimately, everything is fine in moderation.
Instead of eating large eggs at hourly intervals (which can be up to a third of your daily intake if you are trying to lose weight), buy individually wrapped mini eggs. The process of unwrapping each small egg is more time consuming and will make you more aware of the treats you are consuming. It’s a simple trick, but it works – and you’ll still get among the festivities.
2. Quality control
Step away from the cheap foil-clad bunny and exchange it for some dark, good quality chocolate. Ideally something with at least 70 per cent dark cocoa which has the added bonus of antioxidants. The high levels of cocoa have also been shown to lower blood pressure.
If you want to take your health kick a step further over Easter, head to your local health food store and get yourself some Raw Organic Cacoa NIBS – these cocoa beans are straight from the source and is what all chocolate and cocoa products are produced from.
The nutritional benefits of raw cacao products include: being a source of beta-carotene, amino acids (protein), Omega-3 EFA’s, calcium, zinc, iron, copper, sulphur, potassium, and one of the best food sources of muscle relaxing and also stress relieving magnesium. Other good news is that it is only 92 calories and 0.54 grams of sugar per 15 grams serving!
You can also add raw nibs to your cooking (use instead of chocolate chips), add to your smoothies or grind with your coffee beans.
On breakfast that is! Make sure you start the day right with a protein-rich breakfast and filling fibre so you aren’t reaching for a chocolate an hour later. Never eat Easter eggs on an empty stomach as this will cause havoc on your blood sugar levels for the rest of the day.
Think veggie and protein-packed omelettes or a protein shake with berries, chai seeds and a handful of spinach leaves to get your day off to a nutritious start.
4. Think outside the box
Rethink the basket of eggs and swap it for a basket of beautiful local fruit. How about a pot of herbs for a gift that keeps giving? Get in the kitchen and whip up some homemade treats.
5. Snack regularly
Snack on something small and healthy every 3-4 hours you will help balance your blood sugar levels, which in turn will help avoid that nasty energy drop.
Foods that cause a spike in blood sugar are generally sugar and refined carbohydrates (aka chocolate and hot cross buns). They cause the body to produce insulin, which makes you crave food constantly, leading to weight gain and a variety of health conditions including diabetes.
They key to a balanced snack is to always included the 3 macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and good fats).
- Natural yogurt with berries and walnuts. Add a scoop of protein powder for an extra power punch.
- Hummus with vegetable sticks.
- A homemade meat pattie with a small side salad.
- An apple with a teaspoon of almond butter and a drizzle of honey.
- Bowl of vegetable and barley soup.
- Shaved turkey, sliver of avocado wrapped in lettuce.
- Banana smoothie with milk/nut milk, LSA (linseed, sunflower and almond mix), scoop of protein powder, cinnamon and ice.
6. Plan ahead
Make sure you stock the fridge so there are always healthy options on hand, have pre-made delicious options ready to go, and don’t space meals too far apart.
Need another reason to drink water? Research has shown that by increasing water consumption by 1.5 liters a day, you can burn an extra 17,400 calories per year. Additionally, a study by Dr. Brenda Davy, an associate professor at Virginia Tech, found that people who drank water before a meal consumed an average of 75 fewer calories at that meal.
Another glass, anyone?
8. Burn off a bunny
To counterbalance the extra calorie intake over Easter it is important to exercise every day, whether it be a beach walk, sprint session, bike ride with the family, a game of cricket or a home workout – just move that body!
You don’t have to waste hours of your day either – chose intense interval training which will burn more in a shorter time frame – perfect!
Want to burn off a small 50g bunny (approx 275 calories)?
- Power walk with the dog for 85 minutes
- Dance up a storm for 56 minutes
- Swim freestyle for 36 minutes
- Jump on the crosstrainer for 33 minutes
- Clean the house intensely for 70 minutes.
A medium 25g egg:
- 30 minutes brisk walk
- 15 minutes jogging/skipping/boxing
A large 100g egg
- 2 hour brisk walking
- 1 hour run/skipping/boxing
and a Happy Easter!
Tegan- Nutrition Nourishment