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Updated 15 October 2015

Don't spoil your diet over Easter

It’s Easter again and all the supermarket shelves are groaning with chocolate eggs, bunnies and chickens. Do you indulge or do you stick firmly to your diet?

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Advertisements urge the public to not only satisfy their craving for “forbidden” foods, but to express their love by giving their nearest and dearest all manner of elaborate chocolate confections. Added to this are the ubiquitous Hot Cross Buns which have been on sale for weeks.


Temptations

Now if you have a weight problem and have been eating a low-fat, high fibre diet for months sticking religiously to eating the correct foods, you would not be human if the thought did not cross your mind that you could cheat just this once, succumb to temptation and indulge in those gorgeous chocolate Easter eggs and hot cross buns dripping with butter.

Stop right there!

You will be doing yourself a disfavour if you cheat over Easter. Just for interest’s sake I had a look at the kilojoule and fat content of these two traditional Easter foods and it’s mind boggling how high the figures are.

Chocolate Easter eggs

An Easter egg made of milk chocolate and weighing 100 g will add 2 240 kJ and 27 g of fat to your daily intake. If you eat more than one of these eggs, which is quite likely, then you will be overwhelming yourself and your slimming diet with nearly 5 000 kJ and 54 g of fat. This is really not worth it and will set your diet back for weeks.

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns contain about 1 650 kJ per 100g (about two buns) and if you add 10 g of butter to this, you will end up with about 2 000 kJ at a sitting. Not a wise move either.

Alternatives

So what can you do to prevent Easter from wrecking your diet and piling on the kgs? Firstly you need to take a decision to stick to your low-fat, high-fibre diet and then make plans to use alternatives for chocolate Easter eggs and hot cross buns which will not overload your body with fat and kilojoules. Here are some suggestions for your Easter breakfast:

  • Freshly squeezed orange juice or sliced melon (rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene, with few kilojoules)
  • Low-fat yoghurt (brimming with calcium and low in fat)
  • Hard boiled, brightly coloured hen’s eggs instead of chocolate eggs (see below for tips on preparation)
  • Bran muffins (see recipe) with Lite margarine, fat-free cottage cheese and strawberry jam
  • Coffee or tea with skim milk

Coloured Easter eggs

When I was a child growing up in a good German home, we never ate chocolate Easter eggs, but coloured boiled hen’s eggs instead. They make a stunning display and beautiful presents, can be kept in the fridge for long periods and don’t get gobbled up by ants if you hide them in the garden for the children to find on Easter morning.

Buy fresh hen’s eggs. Omega-3 enriched eggs are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E, have 1/3 less cholesterol and only contain 320 kJ per 50g egg.

Boil the eggs till hard and while still hot immerse in hot colouring mixture until the eggs have developed a deep colour.

You can buy Easter egg colours at most German delicatessen shops.

To make the colouring mixture, add one sachet or one tablet of vegetable dye to one cup of boiling water to which one tablespoon of vinegar has been added. The colours are stunning - bright red, deep blue, verdant green, royal purple and vibrant orange. You can dye a number of boiled eggs in each colour while the mixture is still hot.

Once the eggs have a nice, rich colour, remove the eggs from the dye and allow to dry on a wire rack (put paper underneath to catch drips). When the eggs have dried and cooled down, they can be rubbed with a piece of bacon fat or a drop of cooking oil to give them a shiny appearance.

Bran muffin recipe

Ingredients:

250 g wholewheat flour
83 g bran
25 ml baking powder
2.5 ml mixed spice
5 ml salt
2 eggs
425 ml skim milk
15 ml oil
60 g chopped dates or raisins or sultanas
30 g raisins or sultanas for decoration

Method:

1. Combine flour, bran, baking powder, spices and salt.
2. Beat eggs, milk and oil.
3. Add dried fruit to dry ingredients and then add egg mixture. Mix well.
4. Spoon dough into greased muffin pans. Decorate the top of each muffin with an X made of raisins or sultanas to create your own “hot cross” effect. Bake muffins at 200oC for 15 to 20 min until golden brown.
5. Serve with low-fat cottage cheese, strawberry jam and/or Lite margarine.

Each muffin only contains 325 kJ and 1.8g fat, but supplies nearly 4 g of fibre. I think you will agree that these bran muffins are an excellent alternative to commercial hot cross buns because the bran muffins contain half the kilojoules, 1/4 of the fat and 13 times more fibre.

Hopefully these tips will help you to stick to your diet and avoid the Easter diet trap of chocolate eggs and hot cross buns.

(Bran muffin recipe from: Cooking the Diabetic Way by Hilda Lategan. 

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