How to ditch the guilt and have a healthy Easter
There’s no doubt that Easter is an indulgent time of year – and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that! But for a lot of us, Easter can be like throwing a mountain of chocolate eggs at our health and fitness goals and lead to a whole lot of post-Cadbury-Creme-Egg regret. But how do you navigate through the sea of Lindt bunnies without feeling like you’ve missed out? Easy – just find some healthy Easter recipes, make some healthy Easter treats and maintain a positive outlook.
RELATED: Why you should be eating LSA
“Yeah okay Kate, that’s much easier said than done when you’re knee-deep in chocolate,” I hear you object. But together with Steph Claire Smith and Laura Henshaw, founders of the popular KICGirls fitness and health program, we’ve come up with some easy ways to help you stay on track minus the FOMO. Steph and Laura have even shared some of their favourite healthy Easter recipes so that you can have your own healthy Easter treats on hand for when the hot cross buns are coming in thick and fast.
Indulge, but be mindful
Of course you can eat the Easter egg! But if you want to stay healthy and feel your best, it’s important to think about what you’re eating. “Easter is one of those special holidays where we’re guaranteed to enjoy a few days off,” say Steph and Laura. “However, due to the nature of the holiday, it’s very easy to overindulge. Whether it’s a family lunch or dinner, a work celebration, or a chocolate egg overload with friends, temptation is everywhere.”
One of the biggest mistakes we often make when it comes to Easter eating habits is overdoing it on sugary snacks. “Our advice is to try not to snack on these treats just because they’re in front of you,” say Steph and Laura. “The same goes for choccie gifts – if you’re given a massive chocolate bunny, don’t eat it all at once. Try sharing it with friends, or bring it to work and share with colleagues.”
Overindulging in unhealthy Easter treats can affect your health in a number of ways, but some signs that you’ve had a few too many eggs include increased sugar cravings, low energy and feeling lethargic, having trouble sleeping, weight gain and uncomfortable stomach bloating.
According to Steph and Laura, the key is to know when your body has had enough. “Chocolate eggs are delish and everyone should have a few over the holiday! But it’s hard to say no and it’s very easy to feel pressured to eat all the treats just because it’s a holiday. But we suggest having two or three of your Easter treats with a cup of tea and enjoying them mindfully.”
Ditch the guilt
Let’s get one thing straight – like any holiday, Easter is meant to be enjoyed. You shouldn’t have to restrict yourself to nibbling on the fruit platter if you’re really dying to have an Easter egg. It’s important to allow ourselves to enjoy the food we love, especially on holidays where we get to share meals with our friends and family.
If you do find yourself emerging from a chocolate-induced coma, don’t feel guilty. A bit of chocolate during the holidays isn’t going to ruin your health and fitness goals, in the same way that a single weekend of intense workouts won’t undo consistently poor food and exercise choices. Rather than sending yourself down a shame-spiral, focus on what you can do tomorrow to get yourself back on track. Even if you can only commit to a single healthy breakfast, that will go a long way in making you feel better.
BYO healthy Easter treats
When you’re headed to an Easter lunch or a situation where you know loads of chocolate will be on the agenda, trying bringing your own. If you want to be as healthy as possible, select a good quality chocolate over the regular sugar bombs in the confectionary aisle. “If you’re going to splurge (and we believe you shouldn’t miss out on the fun) choose a dark chocolate,” suggest Steph and Laura. “It’s loaded with antioxidants, has been shown to boost heart and brain health, and because it’s bitter, you won’t be able to eat the whole lot.”
Another way you can circumvent the unhealthy Easter binge is by making your own healthy Easter snacks. “Making your own treats is a great way to know what you’re putting in your body,” say Steph and Laura. Plus, it’ll save you cash on all those exxy chocolate eggs (which you just know are going to be heavily discounted at 12:01am on Easter Monday!).
To help you get started, Steph and Laura have shared some of their favourite healthy Easter recipes from the KICGirls program that will satisfy you during this chocolate-coated holiday – and trust me, they’re really good (I make the cookies weekly!).
Superfood Chocolate Bark
¼ cup walnut halves
¼ cup flaked almonds
2 tbs pumpkin seeds
350g 70% dark chocolate, roughly chopped
3 tbs dried cranberries, roughly chopped
4 medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1 tsp chia seeds
½ tsp sea salt flakes
Preheat oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Place the walnuts, almonds and pumpkin seeds on the tray and bake for 10 minutes until lightly golden. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, melt the chocolate over a double-boiler, or in a microwave for 30 second intervals, until smooth. Spread melted chocolate over a lined baking tray to make a large 1cm thick slab (an off-set spatula makes this easier).
Before chocolate sets, scatter over nuts and remaining ingredients, pressing very lightly into chocolate. Allow to set in the fridge until firm, then cut or break into 16 pieces. Once completely cool, store in an airtight container.
Clean Choc Chip Cookies
1 cup spelt flour (or gluten free flour)
⅔ cups almond meal
6 medjool dates
⅓ cup Greek yoghurt
2 tbs almond butter
2 tbs rice malt syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbs coconut oil
1 tsp baking powder
50g dark chocolate (85%), finely chopped or 1⁄2 cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Combine flour, almond meal and dates in a food processor on high to form a paste.
Add remaining ingredients, except the chocolate, and blend again on high to combine. Mixture should be quite ‘doughy’. Fold through chopped chocolate.
Roll tablespoons of mixture into small balls and transfer to tray. Use the back of a wet tablespoon, to flatten balls into cookies.
Bake for 12-13 minutes, but start checking about 11...they burn very quickly!
Head to KICGirls.com for more healthy recipes that don't skimp on the 'yum factor'.
What’s your favourite healthy Easter treat?