By Dr Liz

Acknowledgement: Karen Lee is a Master of Nutrition and Dietetics student who will be graduating shortly and interested in clinical and private practice opportunities. Karen can be contacted on: kawing.lee@student.bond.edu.au

Easter Monday in Australia in 2021 | Office Holidays

It feels like 2021 just started and already we’re celebrating Easter.

Although maybe its been on your radar-the hot cross buns in the shops a week after Christmas is hard to miss!! What things do you eat over Easter? Chocolate bunnies? Easter eggs? Or the traditional hot cross buns? Have you ever thought of celebrating Easter in a healthier way? Now as a foodie, I’m not going to be a kill-joy. As a dietitian and nutritionist I am going to suggest some healthier options to give you choice and a plan so you can still enjoy Easter without derailing your health and fitness goals. This article describes how to have a healthy Easter. What will I will be doing?. Enjoying a dark chocolate Easter Egg and then going ziplining with the family (as you do!).

Now for some sobering news.

The rates of overweight and obesity have doubled in Australia compared to decades ago. We know that obesity is associated with increased risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease, type II diabetes and some cancers. Now I’m not saying you can’t be fit and fat (just check out the Parkruns- there’s always a larger sized person who smashes me). It’s a complex topic and one I’ll leave to a future blog. However, we do know that one of the best ways of managing chronic disease is to develop more healthy habits (which also tends to result in weight loss). The best time to have started these healthy habits was 10 years ago – the second best time is NOW!

Food is an important part of celebrating Easter

In Australia, we tend to celebrate Easter by having family gatherings on Easter Sunday. It might be a brunch with lots of eggs (including the chocolate variety) then may move on to a roast lunch or BBQ. It’s fine to enjoy this time. To make the most of this special occasion why not think about what you really want to eat and then fill up on healthier options. Below are some suggestions for how to have a healthy Easter

For example, if you want a couple of chocolate eggs – make sure they are good quality so that you really enjoy them rather than just eating all the melted chocolate eggs the kids have rejected. Have healthier meal options including fish, chicken and vegetarian options. Offer plenty of salads with a balsamic dressing instead of mayonnaise or go for dressing on the side and people can add it themselves.  Include a baked potato and sweet potato instead of going straight for the creamy potato salad.

Keep hydrated and alternate water with alcoholic drinks if you are drinking. There are some great moderate alcohol beers and wines available which will also help you save some calories. Or go for low calorie options like sparkling water with berries, a dash of lime, diet ginger beer or kombucha. Keep the body moving. Go for a walk after lunch with the family, play backyard cricket or just stand up while you’re chatting around the BBQ. 

Healthier Hot Cross Buns

Now let’s talk hot cross buns -my favourite Easter treat! I’m the classic type and have yet to find a chocolate hot cross bun to my liking but feel free to prove me wrong. Regardless of your favourite hot cross bun, why not make a healthier bun this Easter and get the kids to help? Remember it’s never too late to start something new! Check out the recipe at the end of this article.

Enjoy a happy and healthier Easter with the following tips: 

  1.  Keep being active (30 mins physical exercise a day is recommended- take a walk after lunch, play cricket, basketball, go for a bike ride or if you’re brave you can try ziplining like we’re doing today!) 
  2.  Aim for at least 8 cups of water a day 
  3.  Prioritise vegetables on the table and in your fridge (munch on those carrots if you’re hungry!)
  4. Have fresh fruit on hand – berries, apples, stone fruit
  5. Get creative with sparkling waters. Kids love to make a healthier drink option with sparkling water, a dash of juice and colourful berries, citrus etc.

Wishing everyone a happy and healthier Easter. Even if it is a complete write off remember to get back on track on Easter Monday so that you don’t undo all your healthy habits. Starting the day with a swim, walk and healthy breakfast (not finishing up all the left over chocolate eggs) is the best way to get back into those healthy habits. Happy Healthy Easter everyone!

Healthy Easter suggestions

Healthier version hot cross bun (Nagi, 2020) 

Hot Cross Buns | Brown Eyed Baker

Sourced by: https://www.browneyedbaker.com/hot-cross-buns-recipe/ 

Ingredient list: 

For Buns 

1 tablespoon instant or rapid rise yeast (9 grams)  

4tbsp (110g) maple syrup or honey, 1 1/2 cups (375ml) milk unsweetened almond milk, 4 ¼  cups (640g) wholewheat flour, 2 tsp cinnamon powder, 2 tsp All Spice, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 ½  cups (210g) sultanas, 1 – 2 oranges (zest only), 50g / 3.5 tbsp nutelex, 

1 egg, at room temperature 

For Crosses 

1/2 cup (75g) wholewheat flour, 5 tbsp water 

For Glaze: 

1 tbsp apricot jam unsweetened, 2 tsp water 

Method: Pre-heat oven to 2000C. Blend all the bun ingredients together in an electric blender. Grease the large muffin tray and fill it with the batter. Keep it in the oven for 20-30minutes and once done, cool the bund on a wire rack