Holidays and big occasions can always present challenges when you are watching your weight. And Easter can be particularly difficult if you have any chocoholic tendencies! So what’s the best way to have a fab Easter but not pile on the pounds?
1. If you want to eat chocolate eat the right kind! Go as dark as you can!!
Many nutritionists credit dark chocolate (not milk, sweetened or white, but dark chocolate with a minimum of 70% cocoa, preferably 80% or 90% cocoa with being a ‘fat burning food’. (Fat burning foods are foods which cause a reaction in your body which means that your body uses many of the calories in the food in processing it.) But it won’t surprise you to hear that these fat burning properties are only in moderation and so you do have to watch how much you eat. However chocolate is also a low GI food, with much documented research into the beneficial effects on health and mental health, not least as a source of iron. Research seems to suggest that a small amount of dark chocolate cdoes not cause the sugar spikes caused by other chocolate; it may even help to regulate insulin and help to keep you feeling full for longer when eaten after a meal. Indeed, scientists have found that eating a couple of squares of dark chocolate at a snack can mean you eat 18% less calories at your next meal.
So when you buy your egg or chocolate bar, check the cocoa content and make sure you go for at least 70%; more if you can. Lindor even do a 99% bar.
But remember, in moderation is the key. I’ve tested it out and even for me who can eat chocolate for ever couldn’t eat too much of really dark chocolate as its so rich. So maybe moderation is easier than you think!
2. If you are eating milk or white chocolate, go easy….
I know, though, that there are load of other chocolates around. For me, every year I have to have at least one Crème Egg; its just ritual. Plus I love Cadbury’s Mini-Eggs. So I have bought one Crème Egg and one small bag of Mini-Eggs. I will savour, love and enjoy them. But I’ve decided that’s all this year.
3. Make your own Easter cakes…
Yesterday I bought my Easter hosts some wonderful looking cake from Betty’s in Harrogate. It looks amazing- full of dried fruit and marzipan. I may have a small amount. Or more likely I’ll make my own version using sugar substitute or natural sugars such as honey and maple syrup and brown flour. I even can make a sugar free marzipan – here’s my favourite recipe; I just swap the sugar with splenda.
4. Get active!
Try and work off any extra chocolate or cake by joining in a kids egg hunt. Check the web for activities near you, or if you have children in your life offer to organise an egg hunt – that way you have the activity of both hiding the eggs and also helping the kids to find them! One person I know will be dressing up as an Easter bunny this weekend for a hunt they are organising in their local park. Even better as he’ll be so hot in his suit he’ll be bound to sweat off a bit extra!
4. Expect a sugar slump afterwards….
If you do eat lots of chocolate and cake, expect you will probably have sugar cravings in the days afterwards. So when they come, just know what they are and decide in advance not to give in.
4. And lastly – just have a lovely Easter.…
Enjoy yourself and enjoy your food.