Easter is a tricky time of year to stay on track with your weight loss goals. Chocolate and hot cross buns are everywhere and as a result, many of us end up overindulging and paying for it on the scales at our next weigh in.
But the Easter Bunny doesn't have to symbolise a dietary disaster if you can follow a few easy tips.
Professor Manny Noakes, co-author of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet, shares her top tips on how to stay healthy over Easter.
1. Enjoy hot cross buns in moderation
Hot cross buns are usually made with white flour and refined sugars, making them less than ideal for weight control. But you don't have to eliminate treats such as hot cross buns from your diet.
The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet allows for a daily serving of an indulgence food, which means you can factor a treat like this in. Just make sure to go easy on the butter, and avoid buns infused with choc chips.
You could even consider baking your own hot cross buns using wholemeal flour, and minimising any added sugars.
2. Be active over the Easter break
It's more than likely your Food Unit intake will be going up over the Easter holiday period, so try to add in more exercise to burn off the extra calories.
Currently we’re still allowed outside for daily exercise so if you’re comfortable doing this, try brisk walking, jogging or cycling and aim to go for a little longer than you normally would.
If you would rather exercise inside your house or backyard this is also a great option. Skipping, running on the spot, doing strength exercises or following an online video will keep your body moving and rev up your metabolism in the process.
3. Celebrate with seafood
With many people abstaining from red meat on Good Friday, it's a good time to boost your fish and seafood intake. All seafood is rich in protein and healthy omega 3 fatty acids, especially cold water fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines.
Plate up your seafood with grilled vegetables or a garden salad. Avoid battered fish and hot chips, or topping your seafood with rich sauces loaded with cream or butter.
4. Manage your chocolate egg consumption
Eating chocolate at Easter is a tradition for many, and minimising the impact on your weight can be tricky. The key to doing this is to manage your portion sizes - try to eat small amounts and eat them slowly. Remember, 4 squares of milk chocolate counts as 1 indulgence.
Your waistline will also thank you if you can limit any chocolate egg indulgences to just Easter Sunday!
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5. Celebrate in small doses
While we won't be celebrating with family or friends this Easter weekend, it is important to still be mindful of your alcohol intake. Alcohol is loaded with calories, stimulates your appetite, reduces your willpower, and can lead to fatty binges the next day when consumed to excess.
If you are having a few drinks to celebrate this weekend, set yourself a limit of 1-2 and space them out by drinking a glass of water in between. Drinks with a lower alcohol content are better for you, so consider light beers or a wine spritzer (wine with soda water). In addition, be mindful of your portions of the nibbles that often accompany alcohol, such as potato crisps, cheese, crackers and creamy dips.
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6. Resurrect yourself
Setbacks and indulgences like Easter chocolates will always rear their head along your journey to weight loss and better health - and that's okay. It's how you bounce back that will ultimately determine your level of success.
Come Easter Monday, it's time to kick your healthy routine back to life. Plan out some healthy meals for the week ahead and schedule in exercise. Cut out your indulgences for the week ahead to balance things out and put away any remaining eggs to give to your family and friends when we're allowed to socialise again.
Getting back on track as soon as possible will help to minimise the damage of any Easter indulgences, and will generate a positive focus moving forward!