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Nutrition tips to help you stay on track this Easter

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easterA new year can be a great source of inspiration – and for many of us, New Year resolutions have focused on making 2014 the healthiest year yet.

With BBQs and salads aplenty in the summer months, we start with a hiss and roar… but then all of a sudden Easter arrives – and along with it, all those Easter eggs and hot cross buns!

Thankfully, Jenny Craig dietitian Jemma O’Hanlon has some simple tips and tricks to help you through the Easter season.

Ditch the choccies

Ask for a different gift instead of chocolate this Easter – such as a movie tickets, a massage voucher or a DVD. See if you can get your family on board with this idea too, to avoid lots of chocolate temptations in the house.

Share the love (and the calories!)

Finding you have a lot of chocolate left over at home? Give it away to neighbours, family or friends, or bring it into work for everybody to share.

Do you really want it?… Really?

Before reaching for a chocolate ask yourself:
– Do I really want it?
– Am I really hungry?
– How will I feel after I eat it?
– Is there something else I can do or have to curb the craving?
Then it’s up to you to choose what you do.

Stall the cravings

You might want to try going for a walk and put physical distance between you and your craving until it passes.

Substitute for a healthier option

You might discover after thinking about it that your craving can be satisfied by something else sweet, such as a piece of fruit or making yourself a hot chocolate. Or, you may find that you can satisfy the craving by eating and enjoying a small amount of chocolate.

Opt for quality over quantity

A good choice of chocolate is dark chocolate, with at least 70% cocoa mass, making it have a strong and bitter taste. Ever heard that dark chocolate is good for you? This is because of the high proportion of cocoa. Cocoa is an important ingredient in chocolate and is high in flavonoids that act as antioxidants in the body, which can protect against heart disease and help to reduce blood pressure. On the other hand, our deliciously creamy milk and white chocolate contain about 20% and 0% cocoa mass. So where you can, choose a small amount of at least 70% dark chocolate because it contains the most antioxidants. Also, due to its rich and bitter taste, you may be more satisfied with a smaller amount and in the long run consume less kilojoules!

Everything in moderation

Avoid portion distortion! Having a healthy relationship with your food is important, so instead of cutting all bad food out, the team at Jenny Craig encourage portion control. As long as you can stop yourself from eating the whole egg, or two, having a few bites won’t hurt. Buy your chocolate in portion-controlled packets. Opt for individually wrapped mini eggs rather than large eggs or chocolate bunnies.

While chocolate is not something to eat every day, a fun size bar or 3-4 small squares of chocolate can be enjoyed as an occasional treat as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Your quick Easter checklist

  • Avoid portion distortion – buy portion controlled packets and opt for mini eggs
  • Go for quality not quantity – opt for >70% dark chocolate over milk or white
  • Give away excess treats or bring them into work to share
  • Think before you reach! Take a minute and see if your chocolate craving can be managed another way
  • Make a list of non-food gifts you would prefer to Easter eggs

Image / FreeDigitalPhotos.net – Ambro

Article brought to you by NZ Real Health

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