The bunnies have been at the end of supermarket aisles for weeks and if you have been strong so far it is only time before you are likely to succumb to the lure of Easter chocolate.
And it’s not only the Easter eggs we are dealing with, rather an array of baked good, Easter buns, lavish platters and the contents of overstuffed Easter show bags that translates into a few extra kilos by the end of April, if we are not careful.
So, if you’re keen to enjoy all the treats of Easter whilst keeping your waistline under control, here’s how to make those unhealthy Easter food options a little kinder to your health.
Hot cross buns
While a hot cross bun may seem harmless enough, it is the supersizing and flavoured varieties of bun that has translated a 150cal/30g carb and relatively innocent treat into a complete calorie overload. A single, large chocolate hot cross bun contains close to 300 calories and at least 40g of carbs (and that is without the butter), making your bun a small meal as opposed to a light snack.
Make it lighter: seek out mini varieties of your favourite Easter bun and spread the butter as thinly as possible.
They may seem small and insignificant, but when you consider that three small, solid Easter eggs contain more than 120 calories, even a small bag of these tasty treats is the equivalent of a meal’s worth of calories with more than 20g of fat and at least 20g of sugars. For this reason, when it comes to Easter eggs you’ll always be better to opt for individual serves, and where possible single hollow eggs, which contain just shy of 100 calories per egg.
Make it lighter: buy individual eggs rather than bags, and opt for hollow options to help keep your calories under control should you indulge.
You may be lured by cream eggs or praline but whatever your preference there is a growing range of flavoured bunnies and eggs readily available at checkouts and petrol stations that can easily slip into our day. A closer look at the nutritional panel will reveal that not only do these sweet treats contain plenty of chocolate but also plenty of sugary filling, which ultimately drive up their overall calorie content.
Make it lighter: if you must indulge, seek out small, individual chocolates rather than large gift sizes that are difficult to stop eating once you begin.
An Easter breakfast would not be complete without some piping hot hot cross buns and a delicious plate of homemade eggs or pancakes. Considering Easter is likely to result in plenty of chocolate being consumed, you are much better to opt for the protein rich eggs rather than sweet pancakes loaded with equally as sweet syrups and toppings.
Make it lighter: try a protein-based pancake recipe, or eggs on wholegrain toast as a low-sugar Easter breakfast option.
Easter entertaining often includes lavish spreads and grazing tables and while they look extremely appealing, they also tend to be packed full of high-fat crackers, dips, chips and oily veggies that are generally overconsumed.
The good news is that it is also easy to make some simple swaps to help lighten the calorie load of your grazing table by seeking out lighter options as the base and packing it full of low-calorie seafood and tons of fresh veggies.
Make it lighter: opt for wholegrain crackers and grissini sticks, chopped veggies and fruit, lower-fat vegetable dips and lighter cheeses such as Jarlsberg and goats cheese.
While there is plenty of chocolate around at Easter time, there is also plenty of seafood and the good thing for us is that seafood including shellfish, oysters and all types of fish is extremely nutrient rich and low in calories.
This means that you can enjoy seafood to your hearts content over Easter, with the only tip to avoid any fried varieties opting for grilled or fresh instead of deep fried or shellfish served with creamy sauces.
Make it lighter: smoked salmon, prawns and oysters are all much lower calorie options when compared to roasted meats and fried seafood.
Author Susie Burrell is a leading Australian dietitian and nutritionist, founder of Shape Me, and prominent media spokesperson, with regular appearances in both print and television media commenting on all areas of diet, weight loss and nutrition.