21 April 11 Lessen the "Eat" in Easter!Puffy marshmallow chicks, a million flavors of jelly beans, chocolate eggs and rabbits, and countless other confectionery concoctions - sound like most people's Easter holiday? And let's not forget the Easter ham, potato salad, macaroni salad, fruit salad and the what-the-heck-is-that salad…plus dinner rolls.
This Sunday millions will be coming together for egg hunts, Easter baskets and bountiful brunches, but it doesn't mean you have to make your calorie budget go belly up. We've pulled together some healthy tips for reducing the "eat" in your Easter celebration this weekend.
First, play down the importance of sugary celebrations. Sure, the kids love any opportunity to get some extra treats, but seeing how many gooey-filled chocolate eggs will fit into their Easter basket shouldn’t be the main purpose of Easter morning. Even gorging on dyed hard-boiled eggs isn't a healthy alternative either. Instead, use an assortment of plastic eggs for filling baskets or hosting Easter egg hunts and stuff them with non-food rewards, such as small toys, money or made-up coupons to go to their favorite stores. Candies that are included in a basket should be individually-wrapped, not just a massive bag with six servings in it.
If you will be planning an Easter egg hunt, broaden your horizons. Get the neighbors involved and hide eggs over several different lots or around the whole block, letting the kids (and yourself) get some exercise hunting and hiding the eggs. Don't forget to hide them high and low to encourage as much bending and jumping as possible.
And one especially for the adults is to not sit down to Easter dinner on an empty stomach. You likely already know when and where you'll be eating this Sunday, so make sure you don't arrive hungry and ready to devour everything on the table. Do a little preliminary research, too, as to what will be served that day so you can find out the proper portion sizes for those dishes. Just because someone brings a massive bowl of super-sweet fruit salad and a small shovel as a serving utensil doesn't mean you need pile it on your plate so you can't see who's sitting across from you. Be prepared and take your time making your plate so you can limit (or eliminate) second- or third-helpings.
And because we don't want to just tell you what you shouldn't have on Easter, here's a recipe for a healthy version of something sweet - Carrot Cake (adapted from EatingWell).
- 1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple
- 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (is lower in protein and has less gluten-forming potential than regular whole-wheat flour)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup nonfat buttermilk (or make "sour milk" with 1 c. milk + 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar)
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups grated carrots, (4-6 medium)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
- 12 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, or Neufchâtel, softened
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons coconut chips, or flaked coconut, toasted
To prepare the cake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F and coat a 9x13 pan with cooking spray. Drain the can of pineapple over a bowl, pressing firmly on the solids. Keep the drained pineapple pieces and 1/4 cup of the pineapple juice.
In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and the 1/4 cup pineapple juice until well mixed. Now stir in the pineapple, carrots and 1/4 cup coconut.
Add all the dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients and mix with a spatula until just blended. Stir in nuts and scrape the batter evenly into your prepared baking pan.
Bake the cake until the top is springy to the touch and an inserted skewer comes out clean, which is about 40 to 45 minutes. Remove and let the cake cool completely on a wire rack.
To prepare frosting and finish the cake, beat together cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer until it is creamy and smooth. Now spread the frosting over the cooled cake, sprinkle the top with toasted coconut and enjoy!
Makes 16 servings.
Per serving: 342 calories; 17 g fat ( 5 g sat , 7 g mono ); 56 mg cholesterol; 43 g carbohydrates; 6 g protein;3 g fiber; 349 mg sodium; 150 mg potassium; Vitamin A (40% daily value); Fiber (12% dv).
Happy Easter from the MyNetDiary Team! Have questions or comments about this post? Please feel free to comment on MyNetDiary's Community Forum or Facebook page – We would love to hear from you. And consider visiting our new Pinterest page!
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