How to have an egg-cellent Easter… minus the guilt

Well it’s that time of year again. The candy canes and red chocolate roses have been replaced by the smell of warm, sticky hot cross buns and giant chocolate Easter bunnies. Bags of mini eggs are disappearing from supermarket shelves as parents prepare for their annual Easter egg hunt, while the rest of us use it as an excuse to stuff our faces with as much chocolate as we possibly can.

While there is nothing better than waking up on Easter morning overwhelmed by the creamy fragrance of chocolate just-about-everything,  I can’t help but think it is yet another clever marketing ploy by the big food companies and an exceptional excuse to over-consume.

Recent Cancer Council research has shown that one medium chocolate egg contains…wait for it…a staggering 23 teaspoons of sugar! If your jaw didn’t hit the floor with that statistic, imagine how much you’d be consuming if you’d dominated the Easter egg hunt! Now we all know that chocolate is yes, unfortunately classed as a discretionary food and we all should know the dangers of consuming these in excess. Put simply, a greater intake of discretionary food increases our risk of developing lifestyle related diseases such as heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes through excess weight gain. So limiting consumption of these types of foods to only ‘sometimes’ is for good reason.   

Nevertheless, just like Christmas day and most other holidays, we all end up consuming half our body weight in things we really shouldn’t. But before you lose hope and close your computer in fits of rage, here are my top five tips on how to stay healthy this Easter that won’t make you feel like you’ve just cleared out Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.

  1. Easter Sunday is for chocolate
    C’mon, fess up, we’ve all opened our fridge to find a year old, half eaten Easter bunny sitting there with those disturbing white spots (which btw, is actually known as ‘bloom’). The easiest way to prevent this is to simply purchase less. Buying enough chocolate for Easter Sunday only and limiting your intake to this day, is a sure fire way to cut back on the amount you consume for days or weeks (or years) to come.
  2. Take a trip to the dark side
    Not only is dark chocolate richer in flavour, it also has a greater cocoa mass than its milk alternative, indicating higher levels of important minerals such as potassium, iron, copper, phosphorus, zinc and magnesium. But wait, there’s more! It also contains flavonoids - plant compounds that possess antioxidant activity. These play an important role in protecting our bodies against disease by scavenging and neutralising destructive by-products, called free radicals. Now that’s not suddenly an open invitation to over-indulge in dark choc (see tip #1), remembering that most varieties on the supermarket shelf still contain significant amounts of sugar and fat. Of course, the darker the better, so opting for a variety that is roughly greater than 70% cocoa will give you greater health benefits than consuming milk or white chocolate.​
  3. Make your Easter feast a healthy one
    In my family, nothing screams Easter more than seafood and with so many refraining from eating red meat, especially on Good Friday, it’s a perfect excuse to treat ourselves with one too many lobster tails. Seafood is packed with a tonne of protein and minerals, and fish in particular is laced with myriads of vitamins as well as omega 3 fatty acids (they’re the good fats). If you’re not a seafood fan, don’t fret, a lunch consisting mostly of lean meats, veggie salads, fruits, grains, legumes and low-fat dairy (and no, chocolate eggs are not considered a source of dairy) will guarantee you survive the annual Easter pig-out.​
  4. Stay active over the Easter break
    As tempting as it is to Netflix binge all weekend while laying in a never-ending sea of chocolate (c’mon, we’ve all done it), keeping active will not only help you burn a few extra choccy egg kilojoules, you’ll be more inclined and motivated to continue healthy eating behaviours post-Easter.​
  5. Don’t be too hard on yourself!
    Remember that Easter is a time for celebrating, not depriving ourselves of the things we enjoy. The key is in understanding that Easter comes around every year and that sometimes we may spoil ourselves with one too many crème eggs. Success lies in picking yourself up from your sugar coma and continuing on with healthy lifestyle behaviours such as a good diet, exercise and relaxation.

Whatever you choose to do this Easter, remember that mindfulness is key to overconsumption. Stick to some of these tips and you’ll be well on your way to surviving this year’s Easter blow-out. 

Last updated:
12 April 2017