If you’ve got Easter choccie leftover, here’s how to indulge while staying accountable
Easter has come and gone, but chances are you’ve still got some leftover chocolate stashed in the pantry. F45 nutritionist Kim Bowman has some tips on how you can still enjoy your favourite treats while maintaining a balanced, healthy eating routine.
The trick is to stick to a mindful, balanced eating approach over the Easter holiday weekend and beyond. Not only will this satisfy your sweet tooth, but it also makes it significantly easier to guiltlessly enjoy the foods you love without having to over-restrict yourself.
Add protein and fibre to your breakfast
Balancing blood sugar first thing in the morning is essential to keeping sugar cravings at bay throughout the day. Both protein and fibre increase satiety by adding nutrient density to a morning meal.
This means that any sweet snacks you’ll be indulging in later on won’t send blood sugar skyrocketing but will instead allow you to enjoy in moderation. Consuming sweets first thing in the morning without any added protein or fibre is problematic due to the fact that sugar is ‘high glycemic.’
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Foods lacking protein and fibre such as cookies, cakes, and pastries are rapidly digested within the body inducing a peak in both blood glucose and insulin. This not only triggers sweet cravings but makes it extremely difficult to resist temptation as we start to feel hungry shortly after consumption. The trick is to start the day off with a little protein and fibre to boost feelings of fullness and provide your body sufficient fuel to stabilise blood sugar.
Try scrambled egg whites with some sauteed spinach and sweet potato or rolled oats with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt topped with berries, nuts, or seeds. Whichever protein and fibre-rich breakfast you choose, just be sure to have it before diving into those Easter treats as this will make it easier to avoid cravings later on in the day.
Daily active movement and regular water intake
It’s no surprise that exercise during and after the long weekend is key for staying on track. If you’re planning to travel and HIIT isn’t available, go for a 15-20 minute walk. Active movement is a key component to staying accountable over the holidays as it not only boosts our metabolism but lessens the temptation to continuously snack on sugary foods.
Stay on top of hydration throughout the day, too, with at least 2-3L of water as this will prevent dehydration. When we’re thirsty, we’ve already reached a state of dehydration which is a common trigger for sugar cravings as it is commonly mistaken for hunger.
Prepare your own favourite sweets
Aside from egg decorating, baking some of your favourite treats is a great way to enjoy the holiday festivities while also maintaining a balanced, healthy eating routine. Store-bought chocolates and sweets are often loaded with processed ingredients including refined sugar which when consumed in large amounts can be disruptive to our health, especially our gut microbiome.
To maintain a healthy balance, prepare a few homemade sweets this will allow you to select quality, non-processed ingredients while avoiding excess added sugar and hidden additives. When it comes to choosing quality ingredients for your baked goods, be sure to use a natural source of sugar such as raw manuka honey, dates, or fruit (bananas, applesauce, strawberries, raspberries).
For chocolate lovers, it’s best to go with quality dark chocolate as it’s a richer source of cocoa and antioxidants than milk chocolate. When it comes to choosing flour, it’s best to avoid enriched wheat flour (white flour) as it’s heavily processed and instead opt for a more nutrient-dense alternative such as almond, coconut, or buckwheat flour.
Kimberly Bowman, MS, CNP is an F45 Challenge nutritionist.