I’m a retired marshmallow peep and chocolate caramel covered candy junkie. Formerly, the spring holidays meant adding a few pounds and a sugar rush hangover. I now think about how far I’ve come and what I can do to successfully navigate these challenging situations.
For me, overcoming the junk food challenge really comes down to planning. If I’m healthy all week by eating less carbs, drinking little wine and pumping up my workouts, I don’t feel as guilty for the few splurges, whether it could be at a Passover Seder or Easter Brunch. Whatever the holiday or special occasion may be, my plan is to pick a meal or two and indulge without worry because the meals prior will have been plant-based and GMO-free.
With family and friends in town, impromptu social gatherings often arise. Rather than jump at any occasion to feast, I now think first. Can we make this a park play date? Do we want to catch up over a walk to the beach? Can we dine at an Asian, Indian or Italian restaurant where they tend to have many plant based options? If all else fails and the consensus is going to a steakhouse or American grill, I snack prior and focus my night on appetizers, salad and wine.
While I do believe that we all can cheat (eat) occasionally and it will not harm our bodies tremendously, I do the best I can to stay on track with my largely vegan, plant-based, little sugar diet. When it come to kids, this time of year is challenging as everything in the stores is chocolate covered. I try to find quality junk food aka non-GMO items, so that my son doesn’t feel like he is missing out on the sugar madness.
Here are some ideas to help with healthier holiday planning for Easter and Passover.
1. Cook: Hosting or not, make a few healthy items and bring them to the celebration:
- Healthy recipes for Passover: Unique recipes like spaghetti squash kugel or grain-free banana bread look delicious.
- Vegan recipes for Easter: Deviled tomatoes, beet and red cabbage slaw and lemony leek mushroom soup all sound fit for a feast.
2. Shop: Since I don’t enjoy cooking and often have little time, the local Stop and Shop grocery store provides some healthy side dishes. Also, Whole Foods Market or a local healthy cafe offers holiday inspired meals that often come in small serving sizes.
3. Be active: Not surprising, I find the more active we are, whether it’s running around or creating crafts, the less we eat. Helping the host in the kitchen and organizing kids activities at holiday feasts can be fun. Also, it keeps my fingers out of the snack bowls.
- From Micky Mouse matzo place cards to Lego Seder plates, there’s plenty of Passover crafty activities to fill your home and Pinterest boards.
- One of my favorite holiday posts is “Egg-celent Easter exercises and activities.” Focusing on movement and fun, this feature combines fitness and movement spun into traditional Easter activities.
4. Better candy: Select higher quality candies for the Easter baskets. Many of the well-known big brands have trans fats, preservatives and toxic artificial colors added. Brands like Yummy Earth, UnReal Candy, Endangered Species and Annie’s have sugary and chocolate treats made with non-genetically modified ingredients. Many of these can be found in the organic section of Stop and Shop (local grocery chain,) Target as well as many health food stores.
5. Enjoy. Happy Holidays.
What are your favorite spring holiday traditions? Would you consider adding a new healthy one?
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A Few Easter and Passover Healthy and Happy Living Items
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