Surviving Easter Without Gaining Weight: Six TipsThere's never going to be an easy time of year for dieters, and most of us have a love-hate relationship with popular holidays that are, it seems, an excuse to indulge. With Easter looming and chocolate eggs lining the shelves, dieting temptation seems to lie everywhere.
Here's your guide to surviving Easter without putting on unwanted pounds - but without feeling that you've missed out, either.
1. Don't Buy Early
There are often big discounts on Easter eggs well before Easter. This isn't because big chain stores want you to have a great deal in credit crunch times - it's because they want to maximise their profits. How? Well, if you buy all your eggs six weeks in advance, chances are that you'll have eaten some of them well before Easter ... and you'll need to buy more.
2. Bake Your Own Buns and Cakes
When it comes to traditional Easter treats like hot cross buns and simnel cake, why not bake your own? You'll have complete control over what goes in, and it's often possible to adapt recipes to make them lower-fat.
3. Think Of Alternative Gifts
Whether you're the giver or the receiver, brainstorm some Easter gifts that don't involve chocolate! A book (perhaps of poems, or if you're religious, prayers) might work well. You could also put together a dieter-friendly Easter basket of healthy and/or non-edible treats: fresh fruits and seasonal flowers work well. Holiday decorations, like blown and painted eggs, are another alternative.
4. If You Do Buy Chocolate Eggs, Go Small
Many of us struggle with portion control when foods don't come ready-portioned. A 100g milk chocolate Easter egg contains around 520 calories - and that's without the chocolate bars and candy that eggs typically come with.
Try buying or asking for small, wrapped eggs (like shelled nuts, unwrapping each individual piece of chocolate means you'll eat fewer). Then you can enjoy one or two as a treat, without breaking the calorie bank in a single sitting.
Dark chocolate is also a better choice than milk or white - less sugar, fewer calories, and more health benefits. With dark chocolate, you're also likely to be satisfied with less.
5. Children and Chocolate
You'd be hard-pressed to ban chocolate eggs from the house entirely, but it's a good idea to encourage children to focus on something other than just the chocolate. The Easter weekend is a great time for family activities - why not have an active Easter egg hunt in your yard or local park, to encourage kids to run around and burn off some of that chocolate?
Also - don't eat your kids' Easter eggs! If they get given too many by indulgent aunts and grandparents, keep back a few to use as cooking ingredients throughout the year.
6. Compensate Before and After
A bit more chocolate than usual isn't going to cause you any long-term problems, but make sure you're careful about eating healthily in the run-up to Easter - and afterwards. If you've been scoffing chocolate for day in the office, or if you go on a big chocolate binge all week after Easter, you'll end up feeling ill, sluggish and guilty. Stick to your usual healthy eating patterns, and you'll enjoy those Easter treats all the more.