How to Make Easter (and Everyday) Eating Healthier
Deviled eggs, honey ham and chocolate bunnies are all perennial favorites for the Easter brunch, lunch or dinner table. But such tempting indulgences can make it easy to go overboard on this day of celebration. What’s important to remember about Easter eating, and any day of feasting for that matter, is that it’s all about balance.
You don’t necessarily have to forgo that Cadbury Crème Egg. Just eat it last, when you’re fairly full, and eat it slowly to give your body and mind time to savor each bite. Here are some other nutritionist-approved ways to make Easter eating a healthier happening.
Start with a Breakfast of Champions
You may not be able to control what will be served at the brunch or dinner table on Easter Day if you are not the host, but you can control what you eat when you first wake up. Make a good-sized smoothie or juice packed with greens, such as spinach or kale, fruits and low fat yogurt to load up on nutrients and filling fiber before the main feast. You won’t be as inclined to overindulge during the large meal.
Replace Ham as the Focal Point
Ham is often the centerpiece of the Easter meal. Unfortunately, like other processed meats, it can contain high amounts of cholesterol, fat and sodium. All are detrimental to weight and heart health. Try exploring alternatives such as pork tenderloin or salmon that offer good fats and generally less salt.
Think Whites and Fewer Yolks
A healthier version of the deviled egg can still be extremely gratifying on the taste buds. Replace some of the egg yolks with nonfat cottage cheese. You will still get a filling that’s rich and creamy while reducing some of the fat.
Pay Attention to Serving Size
If you just can’t sacrifice the holiday ham, remember to practice good portion control. A good rule of thumb is to fill half of your plate with veggies, a quarter with grains (bread, rice) and a quarter with protein (meat). If you want stricter measurements, use your hand as a measuring cup. One thumb equals one serving of cheese. An open palm is about the size of a serving of meat. A closed fist is comparable to one serving of fruit or vegetable. A cupped hand is one serving of grains.
Reach for Bread and Candy Last
After you have filled up on protein and veggies is the best time to consider reaching for a piece of bread, one or two Peeps, or another indulgence item. While it might be very tempting to inhale three or four candies in one sitting, a better strategy is to limit your sugar or starch intake and focus on enjoying what you eat.
Fight Off Stress
Preparing for a holiday gathering can be stressful, as can the day-of task of cooking and hosting guests. Stress can’t always be avoided but persistent stress causes your adrenal gland to release cortisol, a hormone that is known for increasing appetite. To refrain from stress eating a bunch of high-fat, sugary “comfort foods” leading up to and during the Easter meal, try hydrating with water, exercising or getting caught up in a good conversation. The water and exercise will help curb the feeling of needing to eat. Socializing can act as a distraction to reaching for food.
We know that overeating even for a short period of time appears to have long-term effects on body weight and fat mass. Although there are times when overindulgence may be difficult to avoid, for example on Easter Day, it is important to not turn that event into an “Easter weekend”. A better strategy is to enjoy a few small guilty pleasures at the Easter table and keep the activity level up to minimize weight gain.
The skilled staff at Lee Bariatrics is happy to provide nutrition guidance and support for better eating every day. Give us a call at 1-888-715-4330.
Learn more about healthier eating in these blog posts:
The above is for general information purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for the medical guidance from and discussion with your physician.