I do but now more than ever it is so important not to go crazy on the Easter eggs & chocolate bunnies. I'm sorry to start with a downer but the reality is sugar weakens our immune system. Studies show that our immune system is suppressed for hours after we consume sugar.
Good news is I have some tips that will help you keep on track with your health goals AND enjoy some Easter treats too:
1. Choose dark chocolate over milk or white chocolate.
- Dark chocolate contains 50-90% cocoa solids, cocoa butter, and sugar, whereas milk chocolate contains anywhere from 10-50% cocoa solids, cocoa butter, milk and sugar. White chocolate does not contain any cocoa solids and is made simply of cocoa butter, milk and sugar.
- It is the cocoa solids that contain the vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants.
- Cocoa solids are rich in plant chemicals called flavonoids that are believed to protect the heart.
- Cocoa solids are also a rich source of many minerals including iron, copper and magnesium.
TIP If you're a milk chocolate lover start with 40% dark chocolate and gradually work up to 70% to allow your taste buds to adapt.
2. Choose quality over quantity
- Lower quality chocolate commonly contains butter fat, vegetable oils, artificial colours or flavours. Make sure you read the ingredient label to check what is in your Easter eggs.
- Keep in mind all chocolate, even dark chocolate is also high in saturated fat. So enjoy in moderation.
- The darker the chocolate the more bitter the flavour which in itself reduces how much chocolate you eat.
TIP Read ingredient labels and avoid chocolate containing vegetable oils and artificial flavours.
3. Enjoy chocolate alongside some fruit & nuts
- This is a great way of reducing how much chocolate you eat. Berries, dark chocolate and almonds are a delicious trio. It is the combination of protein, carbohydrate and healthy fat that stops you over eating and keeps you fuller for longer.
- Eating this way also balances your blood sugars so you're less likely to crave sugar and carbohydrates. If you'd like more information on how to combine protein, carbohydrate and healthy fat then you can download my Healthy Plate here.
TIP Ensure protein, carbohydrate and healthy fat in every meal to avoid over eating, stay fuller for longer and stop sugar cravings.
4. Don't skip meals.
- Skipping meals leads to low blood sugar levels. You may feel light headed, shaky, weak, cranky or 'hangry' that angry & hungry feeling. Your body is crying out for glucose to restabilise your blood sugar levels which leads to cravings for sugar and carbohydrates. This is a biochemical response that is so much stronger than your willpower.
TIP Kickstart your day with a nourishing breakfast to avoid sugar cravings.
5. Are you eating plenty of magnesium rich foods?
- Craving chocolate could be a sign of a magnesium deficiency. Other signs include muscle twitches and cramps; poor sleep and fatigue. Magnesium is depleted during times of stress. It's very common to have sub-optimal levels of magnesium.
- Magnesium can be found in:
- Leafy greens (kale, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, bok choy)
- Grass-fed red meat
- Almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews and pine nuts
TIP Include leafy greens in your daily diet for magnesium.
6. Make your own chocolate treat.
- Try my Cacao & Walnut Balls. You can download the recipe card here. Delicious, nutritious and easy to make.
- Add some chilli or cayenne pepper for an extra metabolism boost.
TIP Making your own treats ensures no added nasties such as inflammatory oils and artificial flavourings.
Happy Easter to everyone and your families.
Nutritionist & Caterer
Adv Dip Nut Med, ATMS 50532
0403 861 117
PS. If you're struggling with sugar cravings, blood sugar imbalances or energy slumps I'm available for 1-1 nutrition consultations where I can provide a personalised nutrition plan. Please call or email me if you'd like more information.