Wednesday, 21 March 2012 22:29

Healthy Eating at Easter

Most of us tend to overeat on big holidays, and Easter is no exception.  I am personally looking forward to enjoying my mother-in-law's home cooked lunch!  On holidays we can follow a few simple rules to make our large meal a little bit more healthy.

Try some of these suggestions:

  • Smart appetizers: Use a fruit platter or a veggie platter with a low-calorie dip.  How about a shrimp platter with a low-calorie cocktail sauce?
  • Good sides: Hot cross buns and other biscuits are plentiful on Easter, but try picking up a whole grain alternative.   Whole grain bread products contain fiber that helps lower bad cholesterol and helps prevent gastrointestinal diseases.   Pick vegetables that are deep in color and high in nutrients, like broccoli or green beans instead of mashed potatoes or creamed corn.
  • Red wine versus white wine?   The darker the color, the more antioxidants.
  • Lean protein: Ham is a traditional meal to cook on Easter, but how about using turkey instead?   If tradition will only allow for pork (some are hard to break!) try using a lean pork loin roast since this is one of the leanest pork cuts.
  • Check out your plate: Follow the power plate rule:  1/2 of your plate should be fruits or veggies, 1/4 should be whole grains and 1/4 should be your lean protein.
  • Bring a healthy dish to share: If you are going to attend a potluck for Easter, bring one healthy meal to share that you know you will love.
  • And let’s not forget dessert! Make a dessert that includes lots of fruit, like this delicious, low-calorie and easy to make parfait.

Very Berry Parfait Recipe

Makes 6 servings

What you will need:

  • 4 cups of fresh sliced berries:  strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.  You can try adding mandarins, bananas, pomegranate kernels, kiwi - be creative!
  • 4 cups of fat free vanilla pudding cups
  • 2 cups of lite whipped toping like fat-free Cool Whip
  • 2-3 tablespoons of Amaretto liquor (or anything similar will be ok, we sometimes use Disaronno liquor).  You may want to make a small batch for the young guests without the liquor and use 1 tablespoon of almond extract instead of the liquor.
  • 6 parfait glasses.  You can also use wine glasses, small clear glasses or dessert cups.fruit partfait

What to do:

  1. In one bowl, mix all your berries.
  2. In a second bowl, make your filling by mixing your liquor, pudding and Cool Whip together.
  3. Take ½ the filling and add it evenly to your 6 glasses.
  4. Add your fruit mixture to the glasses, evenly and generously!
  5. Add a final layer of the filling to each if your glasses.
  6. Top with a small mint leap, a little shaved chocolate, or extra berry mixture.
  7. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Viola!
Published in Healthy & Green Living

Easter EggsI can't believe that Easter is right around the corner, it snuck up on me!  I love planning for this holiday, in some ways more than I enjoy prepping for Christmas. There are just so many great ways to prepare and celebrate Easter, especially with young children. In the next two weeks I'll be posting crafts, healthy meals and other topics related to Easter, stay tuned! Meanwhile, below is my first Easter tip.

Easter Tip #1:  Healthier Alternative to Easter Basket Fillers

My children LOVE Easter baskets and eggs full of goodies, but l feel like we are just recuperating from the Valentine’s Day sugar rush! The last few years, the Easter bunny has not packed our baskets and eggs with chocolates and peeps, he’s gone a healthier route!

Try out some of these basket and egg fillers instead of the sugary and chocolate filled ones found in traditional baskets.

  • Books: How about an Easter themed book or new bookmarks.
  • Gift Certificates: Older children may enjoy a small gift certificate to a local frozen yogurt shop or bookstore.
  • Small Toys: Bath toys, small puzzles, stickers, tiny stuffed animals, temporary tattoos and dollar store items are big hits.
  • Treats: A small amount of candy is ok, but try adding yogurt covered raisins, trailmix, nuts, and pretzels to baskets.
  • Clothes & Accessories: Does your child need a new swimsuit?  How about some flip-flops?  Hair ties, barrettes and nail polish are nice…what about a new toothbrush? One of my friend gets her kids PJs for the warmer weather.
  • Consider a theme and filling your child's basket with appropriate items.  Think outside the basket if you will, with these ideas:
    • Outside Fun Theme:  As the weather gets warmer, children will enjoy things they can use outdoors.  Think bubbles, balls, sidewalk chalk, sunglasses, water guns, new beach toys, jump ropes and hula hoops.
    • Garden Theme: Encourage your child to pick up a new hobby!  How about including some seed packets or child friendly gardening tools? Kid-sized gardening gloves or a small watering can.
    • Craft/Art Basket:  Boost you child’s creativity with a new box of crayons and a coloring book.  Maybe some paints and brushes, washable markers, a new pack of stickers or playdough.

Now how about those chocolate & candy filled eggs? You might consider filling your eggs with the following items:

  • Stickers!   Kids loves them….buy a large pack and then cut them into small sizes that will fit in the eggs.
  • Band-aids are fun, try ones with characters or that are brightly colored.
  • Trail mix or mixed nuts are healthy treats.
  • Raisins, granola, dried apricots, other dried fruit or sugar-free gum
  • Kids will LOVE finding coins or even a dollar bill in an egg or two!
  • Avoid the full size candy bars and stick to the small snack size portions (in a limited amount) if you want to include candy.
The possibilities for a a healthy Easter basket are really endless.  Now, I too love sweets and my kids enjoy them too.  I am not advocating you ban the sugary sweets all together; but limiting them and replacing them with these ideas is something to consider.  See, last year kiddos looked very happy with their candy free Easter baskets!  I know, they are a bit much; but Easter is HUGE deal around our home.   The kids look forward to it and I have a ton of fun getting ready for it.
Easter Baskets
Published in Holiday Crafts