Top tips for a healthy Easter

 

shutterstock_1676194471 easter family Mar21

For many of us, Easter can often be a time of more food indulgence than Christmas!  With a long weekend, school holidays, plus much-needed holidays planned, it can all amount to a lot more eating.

However, enjoying Easter fayre doesn’t have to mean making unhealthy food choices during the break. Here are many healthy swaps you can make which will be just as tasty.

Clinical Nutritionist Suzie Sawyer shares her five top ways of enjoying healthy Easter food.

 

Delicious asparagus sprinkled with Parmesan

Whilst all vegetables taste much better when eaten seasonally, asparagus stands out from the crowd in this respect.  Asparagus that has travelled halfway around the world to the supermarket storeroom is often tough and tasteless.  However, English asparagus is now just coming into season this Easter, and it is delicious!

Grilled,Green,Asparagus,With,Parmesan,Cheese

Asparagus boasts many health benefits. It’s high in energising B-vitamins, especially folate, vitamin C and other antioxidants.  Importantly, asparagus helps feed the good gut bacteria that is so critical our overall health.

Even better, it’s so simple and quick to cook.  Roast in the oven for around 10 minutes in a little olive oil and serve either as a starter or side sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. 

Easter pancakes for all the family

Children and adults alike love pancakes whatever time of year, so Easter is a great excuse to enjoy them.  What’s more, pancakes are great for fussy eaters because they provide an energy dense, protein-rich breakfast to keep sugar levels in check. It’s also another great way of encouraging the whole family to enjoy more fruit by adding some bananas and blueberries.

Pancakes,With,Berries,And,Maple,Syrup,For,Breakfast,On,A

And for those with sensitivities to gluten (or just wanting a different taste), why not make them with buckwheat? Despite its name, buckwheat is gluten-free and produces some very delicious, slightly nutty-flavoured pancakes.  Enjoy with fruit and a dollop of natural yoghurt.

Chocolate

It’s no surprise that there’s lots of chocolate around at Easter!  However, many people don’t realise that dark chocolate contains some great health benefits. Dark chocolate is packed with super-healthy polyphenols which are powerful antioxidants.  The polyphenols also help manage high blood pressure, as well as providing other health benefits.

Chocolate,Strawberries,With,Chocolate,Syrup,Close,Up

If you’re not quite ready to ditch the traditional milk chocolate Easter eggs, why not serve a slightly healthy dessert using strawberries dipped in melted chocolate.  That way, you’ll be doubling up on antioxidant power with the fruit and chocolate and will be supporting the immune system too.

Cruciferous vegetables

The family of cruciferous vegetables include Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, and cauliflower.  Whilst many will be happy to hear that Brussels are not in season right now, the traditional Easter Day roast could really benefit from some delicious cauliflower.

Baked,Cauliflower,Steaks,With,Herbs,And,Spices,On,Baking,Sheet

Cauliflower is a very healthy vegetable, containing loads of fibre, vitamins, and minerals, together with plant compounds that help protect the body from serious disease.

What to give your cauliflower some extra flavour?  Why not toss the heads in olive oil, lemon and crushed garlic and roast in the oven? Garlic is another superfood and is especially healthy for the heart and immune system.

You can have turkey at Easter too!

Many of us have been programmed to have turkey at Christmas time and rarely throughout the year.  However, over recent years, many people have taken the opportunity of enjoying turkey over the Easter holidays too.  And it will bring plenty of health benefits.

Stuffed,Turkey,Breast,With,Baked,Vegetables,And,Spices,On,A

Turkey is naturally low in fat, so it wins hands down when put alongside traditional Spring lamb. Plus, turkey is slightly lower in calories but higher in protein than chicken. It also contains much more of the immune-boosting mineral zinc than chicken. A turkey crown is an even lighter option, with very little fat and no wastage.

Have a wonderfully, healthy Easter and enjoy some of these delicious and nutritious foods along the way!

Stay well.

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Easter eating: healthy and delicious dishes to enjoy

shutterstock_1676194471 easter family Mar21

Traditionally Easter is a time when we see friends and family and enjoy various gatherings.  Whilst it’s not going to be possible in quite the same way this Easter, it’s still a great opportunity to enjoy some wonderfully healthy, tasty dishes and treat yourself.

Whether you enjoy a traditional roast or would like to try some vegetarian alternatives, there is lots of in-season food on offer.

Clinical nutritionist, Suzie Sawyer, shares her favourite recipes for an Easter Day treat!

Start the day right

Whilst many people love the great British breakfast fry-up, this is very high in calories and fat and can make many of us feel really bloated. Eggs, of course, are the food of the Easter celebration, so before you tuck into the chocolate variety why not start the day with a traditional Easter breakfast of boiled eggs. In fact, eggs make a great breakfast whatever day it is.

shutterstock_374871019 boiled egg Mar21

Eggs are a great source of protein, delivering all the essential amino acids, helping balance blood sugar levels, whilst keeping you feeling fuller for longer without bloating.  Why not serve them with some sourdough bread, which is much kinder to the digestive system and really tasty too.  And don’t forget to find your marker pens and decorate the eggs before you enjoy them!

Lunchtime roast

For many, Easter is not complete without eating roast lamb.  British spring lamb, as the name suggests, is at its best right now.  Lamb is an intrinsically fatty meat, so it’s good to try and cook a leg which is naturally lower in fat.  It’s a great source of protein but also rich in immune-boosting zinc, plus it contains some omega-3 fats at higher levels than grass-fed beef.

shutterstock_446946859 roasted lamb Mar21

To further boost the immune system and to enhance the great natural taste of the meat, roast the lamb with some garlic and rosemary which are natural accompaniments. Serve it with some Jersey Royal potatoes (also in season right now) which are rich in nutrients, especially vitamin C. Add some delicious broccoli, stir fried with sesame seeds, and glazed carrots.  Both vegetables are rich in antioxidants to further protect the immune system.

shutterstock_1183271935 cauliflower cheese Mar21

And for the vegetarians, why not bake some in-season vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli and spinach with a cheese and chive sauce.  This dish would work well as a vegetable side and a tea-time treat too.

Dinner delights

shutterstock_1516787810 roasted ham Mar21

Roasted ham is another traditional favourite at Easter.  If you’re wanting to relax after lunch why not cook the ham ahead of time and serve cold.  How about using wraps rather than bread and add some lovely salad vegetables, especially sweet tomatoes which complement the ham well.  Tomatoes are loaded with lycopene which is another powerful antioxidant and great for the immune system.

shutterstock_238145404 vegetarian pie Mar21

Easter is all about colour so vegans and vegetarians can embrace the colours of the rainbow with a carrot, sweet potato, celeriac and beetroot pie.  All vegetables are in season, providing a nutritional feast.  The more colourful your vegetables the more nutrients you’ll be eating.

Sweet Treats

shutterstock_1016929156 hot cross buns Mar21

Why not make some easy Easter biscuits so you can have a little sweet treat and the younger members of the family can join in with the baking?  And of course, no Easter is complete without sone hot cross buns.  They don’t take too long to prepare and cook, and you can use gluten-free flour for those that can’t tolerate gluten.  Why not use brown flour rather than white, which contains some energising B-vitamins and won’t upset blood sugar too much.  They’ll make a great snack the next day too.  And for the vegans, hot cross buns are great made with almond milk and a dairy-free spread.

So, make the most of your Easter eating and enjoy some of these healthy and nutritious dishes.

Stay well.

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How to continue your Lent healthy-eating habits beyond Easter

An easter basket fillwed with flowers and colourful decorated eggs

As those of us who have been giving up certain food or drink for Lent are aware, the 40 days ends this weekend with the Easter celebration.  Whilst we may not be celebrating as, perhaps, we had planned with friends and family, it is a great opportunity to think about the changes you have made over the last 40 days.  

If you’ve worked hard during this period to stay away from certain foods, why not keep up the good work and permanently swap them out of your diet?

Clinical nutritionist Suzie Sawyer shares some great alternatives for you to try.

Crisps

Crisps are a guilty pleasure for many of us who often eat a bag per day with our lunch. A typical bag of crisps contains around 171 calories, a small amount of protein (around 2 grams) and over 10 grams of fat, offering very little nutrient value.

A pot of hummus with pitta bread as a healthy snack

Why not swap crisps for some healthier crackers such as pumpkin and linseed crisp breads, oat cakes or rice cakes. These all make great snacks when energy levels are flagging, and hunger pangs are kicking in, especially if you add some protein: try them with hummus, cottage cheese, avocado or your favourite nut butter.

Alcohol

Most people report how much better they feel when they have a sustained amount of time without drinking alcohol.  And these benefits increase the longer you’re tee total.  Drinking alcohol can become habitual but if you change up your routine, you can break the habit.  Alcohol consumption depletes other nutrients, especially B-vitamins needed for energy. And, of course, alcohol is high in calories: a standard glass of wine contains around 160 calories, whilst a pint of beer contains almost 200 calories – about the same as a slice of pizza.

An alcohol-free cocktail with mint leaves

There are so many alcohol-free but great tasting alternatives to wine, beer and spirits right now, so you don’t need to feel left out. Why not create some delicious alcohol-free cocktails? Serve these drinks in special glasses as if they’re the real thing. Even just trying to cut down post Lent will improve your health exponentially.

Chocolate

If you were a fan of big bars of milk chocolate, then changing to a minimum 70% dark chocolate option (preferably organic) is certainly permitted as a lovely treat.

Squares of dark chocolate

Cocoa naturally contains flavonoids – plant compounds that are high in antioxidants and have also been found to help reduce high blood pressure.  Two or three squares a day will certainly deliver some good health benefits whilst hopefully satisfying any sweet cravings.

Cheese

It’s amazing how many people are addicted to cheese!  Clearly, it does contain many health benefits, being high in protein and bone-loving calcium.  However, it’s also high in amines which can trigger migraines (especially soft cheese) and disrupt sleep if eaten too late into the evening.  Most importantly, cheese has a high fat content so should be eaten in moderation to ensure it doesn’t adversely affect weight and blood fat levels.

Goats cheese round

There are many alternative, delicious vegan cheeses available now, often made from coconut or soy.  If cheese is your weakness, why not try to change it up as much as you can with some alternatives?

Cakes

There are very few of us who don’t enjoy cakes in some form or another. However, if this was your ‘go-to’ treat pre-Lent, then try not to fall back into the same pattern post-Easter. Cakes are calorie high and nutrient sparse; sugar in all its forms robs the body of other nutrients. Have this in mind before you reach for a slice.

Homemade flapjacks

There are some great sweet and healthier alternatives that you can create in your own kitchen. Think homemade muesli bars or flapjacks, fruit pizza made with oatmeal, chocolate covered bananas, or fruit loaf. They all contain some health benefits (especially energising B-vitamins and immune-loving vitamin C) and should help you manage any sweet cravings.

So, celebrate your 40-day resolve this weekend, and plan your next 40 days and beyond to be even healthier with these delicious alternatives!

Stay well.

FOR MORE GREAT DIET AND LIFESTYLE ADVICE:

Sign up to receive our blog and get a weekly dose of the latest nutrition, health and wellness advice direct to your inbox.

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Visit us at www.feelaliveuk.com for the latest offers and exclusive Alive! content.

Follow and Chat with Suzie on Twitter @nutritionsuzie

For everything you need to know about vitamins, minerals and herbs visit our sister site Herbfacts

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