Just when you though you were safe from gut-busting holiday meals, along comes Easter, just full of unhealthy ways to indulge in food. But don’t fret, you can still enjoy Easter and stay on a healthy eating plan. Below are a few ideas to help you plan a healthier Easter celebration.
Easter isn’t about the dinner. Focus on the meaning of the day, rather than what you’ll eat. Easter is, at it’s essence, all about life. So treat yourself by concentrating on living a healthy, purposeful life. Concentrating on the non-food traditions of the day — such as family togetherness, church rituals and worship, and enjoying the happiness of youngsters as they discover Easter eggs — rather than the holiday meal will help you keep perspective as you make healthier choices. And, once you’ve adjusted to looking at the bigger picture, you can make an informed decision about how much — or how little — you want to indulge.
Consider making healthy substitutions for unhealthy favorites. Offer a lightly dressed, crisp salad along with the heavier dishes. Cut the fat, sodium and sugar where you can in foods like dressing, stuffing, green bean casserole, and desserts. I’ve found that my family rarely even notices if I make a healthier — but small — change to a recipe. For instance, while I couldn’t get away with serving tofu instead of turkey, I can serve a butter-less roasted sweet potato mash instead of sweet potato casserole, without a fuss.
Skip the candy. Just say no to the marshmallow Peeps and chocolate bunnies and opt Instead for plastic eggs for your egg hunt. Then fill them with stickers, money, small toys and gift certificates.
Eat lighter for the rest of the day. If you do decide to treat yourself with a high-calorie indulgence, mitigate the damage by saving calories elsewhere during the day. For instance, eat a lighter breakfast or skip the goopy appetizers in favor of a splurge at dinner. Then, cut back a bit when you eat your next meal.
Walk it off. Add in extra exercise to account for your Easter splurge. You could go for a walk before church, or get the whole family together to go for a walk after Easter dinner. Or even add a bit more time to your Monday-after-Easter workout.
Don’t show up empty. Don’t sit down to dinner on an empty stomach, it might encourage you to eat more than you’d planned. Research shows that having a light snack before being faced with an over-the-top meal can help you eat less.
Reward yourself. If you’ve been working hard on your healthy eating plan and do resist all those tempting Easter goodies, consider giving yourself a non-food reward for sticking to your guns. How about a new outfit? Or even something that will help you reach your health goals like a Fitbit or a new pair of running shoes.
If you give in, make it count. If you do decide to give in to temptation, make a conscious choice of what you’ll eat, don’t default to whatever chocolatey treat is near by. Eat what you really want, be it a Peep or a piece of coconut cream pie. By doing this, you guarantee that you’ll be satisfied, not just full.
Always strive for progress, not perfection. When it comes to eating healthy, Easter is just like any other holiday,,, it’s one day out of the 365 you’ll get this year. So relax and enjoy your splurge if you decide to have it. Remember that there is no such thing as perfection. If you can keep your splurges to 3 or 4 times a year, you’re way ahead of the game.