I love new beginnings. That is what Easter represents to me. It is autumn on my side of the world, so it is more of a clearing season. The days are cooler, and leaves are changing from green to shades of red and brown. There are no spring flowers or any lambs or baby bunnies dancing around! However, I still see it as a new beginning. And I think of chocolate! We tend to associate Easter with chocolate, which can feel like a super unhealthy and overly indulgent time of year. With so many people still focusing on good and bad foods (I encourage you to shift that mindset and focus on how foods serve you), it creates stress around your choices when you are socialising, and often you end up criticising yourself if you eat something you deem as bad. It is an unkind way to be. In reality, Easter can still be healthy. You can be kind to yourself and enjoy this time without feelings of deprivation, restriction and guilt.
Here are my suggestions for having a healthy Easter without compromising your enjoyment – and not missing out on the chocolate!
- Plan ahead
Traditionally it can be harder to source groceries over the Easter break. Some people shop as though the shops are closing for good! If you can stock your refrigerator and pantry with healthy snacks and plenty of whole real foods before the break, I encourage you to do so. If you have time to prepare snacks and meals, that is excellent, as this will make healthy choices more effortless when you are feeling relaxed and not wanting to be in the kitchen for too long.
Alongside food, sketch out a plan on how you want the Easter break to go. This will help you stay in control of how you spend your time rather than passively reacting to circumstances that arise. A few things you’ll want to consider may include how you will socialise, relax, stay active, and find some “me” time, which are all super important for a healthy Easter.
- Start your days with a healthy breakfast
That’s right, keep the hot cross buns and your crème eggs for snacks later in the day! I am a big fan of eating a whole real food breakfast. Being hungry when you wake up is a great sign that your digestive and elimination system works efficiently. As tempting as it may be to eat chocolate for breakfast, chances are good, it will lead to eating a lot more later!
A protein-rich breakfast can help keep you feeling fuller and stop those chocolate cravings from taking hold. Eggs and salmon are excellent choices, and tofu can be a great protein source if you’re vegan or vegetarian. Adding high-protein yogurt, nuts, and seeds gives another protein boost. Teaming a protein-rich breakfast with fibre will ease the cravings for sweet treats.
Here are a few breakfast suggestions:
- Greek yogurt with chia seeds and other nuts and seeds
- Oatmeal topped with nut butter, avocado, fruit, and nuts/seeds
- Avocado and egg
- Veggie frittatas/quiches
- Nut butter sourdough toast topped with fruit and nuts/seeds
- Fruit smoothies with 1-2 tablespoons of nut butter and yogurt blended in
- Be mindful of what you eat
You don’t need to deny yourself sweet treats over Easter. How boring would that be?! Simply bring a sense of presence to what you are choosing and why you are choosing it. It is easy to break into an Easter egg or bag of Easter candy, and before you know it, it’s gone! You have eaten all of it to only think to yourself, how did that happen? Often this leads to feelings of guilt and then follows the who cares? I will start again tomorrow cycle. Let’s clarify you aren’t starting anything new tomorrow! You are making food choices in the moment that feed your body or your soul, and sometimes both! If you feel like some chocolate and wine with some friends, first choose the best quality chocolate and wine you can access. Secondly, decide on your portions and allocate them. And if you choose to let loose with no portion control, accept it and don’t make it mean more than what it is. Please don’t put a value judgement on it. Acknowledge you ate more than you intended. Explore what led to these behaviours and then move along.
- Leave feelings of guilt behind you
As I just mentioned, don’t place a value judgment on your behaviour around food. You are not good or bad. It is just what was at the time. Don’t beat yourself up about what you ate and drank. If you didn’t follow your intentions, explore why you changed your mind. Was it because you had extra wine, and this impaired your judgement? Was it that you got caught up in the excitement of socialising and didn’t even notice your choices? Were you feeling lonely and decided to drown yourself in chocolate? Feeling guilty creates more negative behaviours and doesn’t allow you to be honest with yourself and support sustainable change. There is no need for perfection, as the choices you make most of the time impact your health and well-being, not the occasional experiences.
- Ask others to support your intentions
If you know that having Easter lunch with the family will bring up things you aren’t ready for or don’t want to deal with, instead of eating and drinking your emotions, ask a loved one for support. Explain the situation, and ask them to be there for a call, walk or quick exit if it gets too much. If you are committed to a dietary theory and don’t want to deviate, let people know and offer to bring a dish that meets your needs and can be shared. Also, understand that they may be curious and ask questions or even poke fun if they feel uncomfortable with your choices. Be comfortable with your personal boundaries, breathe and let it flow over you. It’s not your behaviour to own.
You may also want to swap milk chocolate for good-quality dark chocolate. If you know that eating milk chocolate makes you uncomfortable after eating it, try swapping it out for dark chocolate or non-dairy, organic chocolate. Dark chocolate tends to be lower in sugar (check the labels, though!). It’s also packed with antioxidants and monounsaturated fatty acids and can be a source of iron, phosphorous and potassium. If you choose dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa, it will also be a magnesium source. Although if you are not used to eating dark chocolate, it may taste a little bitter, you can get accustomed to the taste. You will at least get a burst of antioxidants while your taste buds delight in the flavours.
Try and get some extra incidental movement in. Play some games, and get competitive with an old-fashioned egg-and-spoon race. Go for a walk after lunch, do an Easter treasure hunt. Even if you don’t have kids, it can be fun for the adults!
I will encourage you to avoid sugar overload, but if it happens, support your body through its sugar coma by doing some self-care activities. Take a bath, go for a mindful walk (leave the headphones at home), and do a meditation or two. Even sleep in (if the kids allow it!). Don’t cut out your vegetable intake. Still fit them somewhere into your day! If it’s a struggle, remember to supplement. You can learn more about my favourite supplement to support me when I miss the mark with the vegetables here.
However you choose to spend your Easter, take some time to recharge, reconnect with yourself and be kind to yourself.
As always, remember your reasons, your health, your mission, and the people you love.
Enjoy your Easter.
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Blog posts are not intended to provide medical advice or take the place of medical advice and treatment from your doctor. Readers are advised to consult their qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Ocea Marie does not take any responsibility for possible health consequences for anyone reading or following the information available on the blog. All readers, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their doctor before beginning any nutrition or supplement program.
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