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.
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.
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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 some of the extra kilojoules.
You can get the whole family involved for a walk, or even out for a jog or cycle together.
If you would rather exercise inside your house or backyard this is also a great option. Skipping, dancing, doing strength exercises or following an online video will keep your body moving and rev up your metabolism in the process.
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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.
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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, four squares of milk chocolate counts as one Indulgence.
Limit your chocolate egg intake to just Easter Sunday too, and avoid buying more when they go on special after the long weekend!
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The long weekend can be a great excuse to indulge in a few more alcoholic drinks than you'd normally have, but if you're keeping an eye on the scales, be mindful of how much you drink. Alcohol is loaded with kilojoules, stimulates your appetite, reduces your willpower and can lead to unhealthy binges the next day when consumed to excess.
If you are having a few drinks to celebrate this weekend, set yourself a limit of one to two, 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 chips, cheese, crackers and creamy dips.
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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 chocolate eggs to give to your family and friends.
Getting back on track as soon as possible will help to strengthen your motivation, and will generate a positive focus moving forward!
Looking for weight loss motivation, dinner inspiration or exercise ideas? Check out the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet blog or read some incredible success stories.