Mindful eating at Easter

Thursday, 29 March 2018

The Easter eggs and hot-cross buns have hit the shelves and for many people living with diabetes this can be a hard time to navigate. Often loved ones show love and appreciation with chocolate eggs, bunnies and bilbies. Lots of these gifts can make it more challenging to manage blood glucose levels over the Easter period. The following tips will help you overcome this challenge while still enjoying the Easter holidays.

1. Enjoy

Chocolate is a treat and not something you should be eating every day. When enjoying chocolate around Easter time try to be mindful of you portion size and savour the moment.

2. Be mindful

Eating mindfully can help enhance our nutrition, quality of life and help maintain a healthy weight. It’s especially important to eat mindfully when eating treat foods such as chocolate, so as not to overindulge. Remember to eat foods slowly and avoid distractions. Eating in front of the TV, computer or even while looking at your phone can mean you end up eating more – and not just at that sitting but later in the day as well. Choosing small individual eggs over large ones can help you to be mindful as you take your time to unwrap them and think about what you are eating at the time.

Mindful challenge:

Next time you are planning to have a mini chocolate Easter egg pick it up and place it in the palm of your hand. Notice the shape and colour of the wrapping, how does the light fall on it? Think about the texture of the wrapping. How heavy does the egg feel? Slowly unwrap the egg. Think about the sound the wrapping makes as you open it. Notice the movement of your hands as you unwrap the egg. Smell the chocolate. How does it make you feel? Is your mouth watering? Is your stomach grumbling? Take a bite of the chocolate. Do not chew or swallow yet. Feel the texture of the chocolate in your mouth as it melts. Notice the flavours on your tongue. After savouring the flavours for a few minutes and when ready swallow the chocolate. Once finished think about the lingering flavours from the chocolate and how you are feeling.

3. Portion out ahead of time

If you eat straight from a packet it is hard to keep track of how much you have eaten. This can mean you end up eating more than you think. Avoid eating from packets or snacking on large Easter bunnies or eggs and instead portion out your amount.

4. Quality over quantity

When choosing chocolate opt for a good quality dark chocolate. This will have flavanols which have an antioxidant effect. The other bonus of dark chocolate is that it has a slightly bitter flavour and is less tempting to over indulge. All chocolate, including dark chocolate, tends to be high in saturated fat, added sugar and kilojoules so it is still important to limit the amount you eat. For this reason still aim to only have small amounts. To help put this into perspective one medium egg (9-8cm) will have more than double the kilojoules of two mini eggs and one large egg (13cm) will have about seven times the kilojoules. That could be more kilojoules than in a whole meal in one large egg!

5. Keep those hunger pangs away

Having regular balanced meals that contain quality carbohydrate that is higher in fibre and have a lower glycemic index (GI), lean protein and lots of veggies will help keep those hungry-hormones under control. This means we are less likely to overdo it when we do have the occasional Easter treat. For more information download the factsheet ‘Healthy Meal Ideas’ here https://diabetesnsw.com.au/useful-tools/information-sheets/

6. Get creative

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to Easter celebrations. As a fun snack serve up hummus in mini flower pots with baby carrots for dipping. Add a twig parsley to the top of each carrot to replicate freshly picked carrots. If you need a fresh hummus recipe check out: https://diabetesnsw.com.au/recipe/healthy-hommus/
When making sandwiches or toast cut them into fun bunny or egg shapes. You could even add a little extra fruit to decorate a bowl of porridge for a bit of fun,
When it comes to giving gifts it doesn’t have to be food related. Make your own Easter basket with pampering creams or moisturising oils and decorate with plastic eggs or a little faux hay. For children soft toy bunnies are a lasting gift.

7. Re-gift in the right way

For many Australians the extra kilojoules from chocolate eggs or hot-cross buns lathered in butter can make it much harder to manage weight. However for those at with or at risk of malnutrition these extra kilojoules may be useful. Malnutrition is thought to affect one in ten Australian’s over the age of 65 years and another forty percent are at risk. Save your Easter chocolate to use as a gift for an older loved one in residential care. Of course it is essential to check with age care staff to make sure it is appropriate first.

8. Move more

Don’t forget it is essential to move more especially if adding in extra kilojoules over Easter. Instead of egg hunts consider treasure hunts with family fun activities in between.

It takes…

  • 20 minutes of brisk walking to burn off the kilojoules in two mini eggs
  • 45 minutes of brisk walking to burn off the kilojoules in one medium chocolate egg
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