Easter is a lovely time for family get-togethers, but do you feel pressured to supply and eat too much chocolate?

A lot of magazines promote menus focused on chocolate and rich treat foods. There’s nothing wrong with having a treat, especially on a special occasion but it’s really hard if you are trying to lose weight or follow a healthy lifestyle.

You’ve got a couple of choices – either enjoy the day and don’t worry about what you eat or how active your are, or try to moderate your food choices and ramp up your activity.

Follow the tips in today’s blog to enjoy Easter without the guilt.

  1. Take the emphasis off chocolate – focus on things other than chocolate; what appeals most to you and your family?
    – The religious aspect of Easter
    – Time to get together with family and friends
    – A great time to get away and for Australians it’s a traditional time to go camping.
  2. Do some fun activities with the kids and the young-at-heart
    – Boil some eggs then dye them with food dye for an attractive table centrepiece in a glass bowl or woven basket.
    – Paint plain boiled eggs or show the kids how to put a small hole at each end of a fresh egg using a small skewer, the blow out the egg’s contents into a bowl – I guarantee they just love doing this. Then have fun painting or using markers to decorate the shells.
    – Have an Easter hunt with a difference, instead of hunting for lots of chocolate eggs get the kids hunting for clues with the last clue in the series leading them to the spot where their one chocolate egg is hidden. They really don’t feel like they’ve missed out as they’ve had so much fun hunting and trying to work out the clues. Pair younger children with older children or an adult for success.
    – Keep the kids busy with simple and active games if you can’t get out to a park. If you have space opt for ball games like French cricket, beachball volleyball or dodge ball using a soft squeezy stress ball, or if you are strapped for space consider hopscotch, quoits or darts.
  3. Plan a tasty and nutritious morning tea or lunch, see the suggestions below. And, if you do want to give chocolate, give a small amount of good quality chocolate instead of copious amounts of average chocolate. Research suggests the higher the cacao content the higher the antioxidant content and while I don’t suggest you make chocolate your first choice for sourcing antioxidants, if you are going to eat chocolate you should be getting something positive for your body as well as the taste!
Morning tea menu
  • Traditional small sized eater buns warmed in the oven,
  • Fruit chunks with a Greek yoghurt dipping sauce
    – Mix 2 cups plain Greek yoghurt with 2 tsp honey and ½ tsp cinnamon to make the dipping sauce
    – Serve with fruit such as chopped or sliced apples or pears, banana chunks, whole fresh berries, sliced stone fruit, and serve with toothpicks or small forks for easy dipping.
  • Almond berry cup cakes with a chocolate surpise (if you do want a chocolate offering)
    – Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line muffin pans with paper cases. Beat 185g margarine with 2 tsp vanilla extract and 1 cup castor sugar until fluffy. Beat in 1 ½ mashed ripe bananas then fold in ½ cup ground almonds, ½ cup plain wholemeal flour and 1 cup self-raising flour and ½ cup milk. Gently fold in 1 cup of frozen raspberries. Spoon into paper cases, push in one good quality chocolate mini egg into the centre of the mix and top cup cakes with some extra frozen raspberries, and ½ cup of flaked or chopped almonds sprinkled on top. Bake for 35 mins for 8 cup cakes or 20 mins for 12. Check they are cooked using a skewer inserted into the middle. Cool on a wire rack.
Lunch menu
  • Hummus with vegie sticks
    – Chop or slice carrots, celery, capsicum, cucumber, mushrooms, toss in whole cherry tomatoes, snow peas, beans and baby corn for a fabulous variety for scooping into your favourite bought hummus.
  • Roast vegetable frittata (to use all the blown eggs)
    – Pre-roast or use leftover roast potato, sweet potato, carrot, pumpkin, beetroot – up to one kilogram uncooked weight, chopped into 2 cm pieces. Add in ½ cup peas, corn or chopped zucchini. Place these in a large ovenproof oiled frypan. Whisk 6 eggs together with 1 cup of plain Greek yoghurt, a few grinds of black pepper, and a handful of chopped basil or parsley. Pour the egg mixture over the vegies and cook on the stove top at a low temperature for 8-10 mins while the egg mix starts to set. Sprinkle over 2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese and place on the top shelf of the pre-heated oven at 180 degrees Celsius or under a hot grill for a few minutes until the top is set and browned. Allow to stand for 5 minutes and serve with a green salad of rocket, spinach and toasted pine nuts, sprinkled with balsamic vinegar.
  • Chocolate custard with fruit – bananas and berries taste great
    – Either buy or make your favourite custard recipe but add 2-4 Tbsp sifted cocoa to the dry ingredients, depending on how chocolatey you want it to be.

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Post byDale Cooke

I'm a nutritionist, dietitian and personal trainer with 29 years of experience helping people improve their health. I really like using a non-diet philosophy to achieving a healthy lifestyle. Can I help you improve your health?