Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, most Holidays and celebrations, seem to have food as their centerpieces. The appetizers, the big meals, the desserts. The familiar saying,"I am so full" seems to go around the table by the end of it. And generally, that's not a good thing. In fact, eating to the point of feeling uncomfortable, puts stress on the body. Stress is one important factor of aging and disease. Unfortunately, this problem doesn't seem like it's a problem that's going to go away soon. Let's face it, food is delicious. But what we can do is make better choices about the food we're going to eat. The best gift we can give ourselves is to remember to eat healthily. Remember moderation is key to everything. Here're 19 ideas that will help you get through the holiday and hopefully have a Happy Easter!
The Easter Bunny is the bearer of all things sweet, delicious, and right with the world. But this holiday doesn’t have to induce the same sugar high as Halloween. Instead, fill those Easter baskets with some healthy alternatives. (Yes, we’ve included veggies and fruit, but we promise chocolate still has a strong presence.)
1. Nut Butter and Fruit
To keep the carrots company, chuck a few apples and bananas in that Easter basket. We like pairing them with Justin’s Almond Butter packets for a healthy fiber- and protein- filled snack.
2. Chocolate Covered Fruit
For a chocolate fix with a healthy dose of fruit, dip whole strawberries, grapes, or banana slices in melted chocolate. Microwave the chocolate on 50-percent power in 30-second increments, stirring between spurts, until smooth (or use a double boiler). Place the chocolate-ized fruit in mini muffin papers so the chocolate doesn’t smear all over the rest of the basket’s contents. To scale back on the chocolate, drizzle the melted stuff over fruit with the tines of a fork. For an added crunch, roll the fruit in chopped nuts (we like almonds, walnuts, pecans, and pistachios).
3. Fruit Snacks
Standard fruit snacks often contain a host of artificial flavors, synthetic colors, and preservatives. While it takes some time, it may be worthwhile to make your own fruit snacks using real fruit (this version uses just four ingredients—strawberries, lemon juice, honey, and gelatin). Pour the mixture into a shallow baking pan or cookie sheet and cut into cubes, or use bunny-shaped molds to get extra festive!
4. Individually-Wrapped Treats
Now that you know how to choose the good stuff, it’s time to healthify that Easter basket in another less obvious way. Chocolate bars are exciting and all, but individually wrapped spheres and squares of chocolate offer built-in portion control. Instead of ripping open a bar, grab one or two pieces at a time to enjoy.
5. Dark Chocolate
This time of year, drug stores and grocery stores stock their shelves with bunny- and egg- shaped treats… which are loaded with sugar, syrups, and hard-to-pronounce stuff. While we wouldn't tell you to forego candy completely (that's just cruel), you can choose a healthier chocolate bar by keeping a few things in mind. To reap the benefits of dark chocolate, choose a bar with 70 percent or more cacao. Healthy bonus points: Cacao has been shown to help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk for coronary heart disease . Make sure the first ingredient on the label reads “cocoa butter” or “cocoa liquor.” When sugar is the first ingredient, it may taste sweeter, but it has far fewer health benefits. Organic chocolate bars, while generally a little pricier, are more bang for your buck. Why? They’ve got fewer ingredients (usually just cocoa, sugar, and sometimes an emulsifier, vanilla, and milk) while other bars feature artificial flavors and cocoa processed with alkali (which knocks out some of the flavanol antioxidants) .