By Nicky Martin, Head of Nutrition, Compass Group UK & Ireland
After a weekend of indulgence packed with treats and, possibly, an Easter egg or two, many of us are ready to get healthy eating back on track. But it can be difficult to go from a sugar-high straight to a strict no-treat stance, so why not ease your way in with some health-conscious, Easter-themed alternatives?
Mix your chocolate fix with a healthy dose of fruit, and melt your leftover Easter eggs for dipping with whole strawberries, grapes or banana slices. Or, to scale back on the chocolate, drizzle it over the fruit with the tines of a fork. For added crunch, you can also roll the fruit in chopped almonds, walnuts, pecans or pistachios — great sources of vitamins and other nutrients.
Even if you don’t bring the fruit into the mix, melting down those leftover Easter eggs can still be a great step forward. Pouring the melted chocolate into smaller moulds to help your portion control is an ideal way to tackle temptation if you don’t trust your willpower.
However, you certainly don’t have to go from indulgence to nothing, and chocolate can easily be part of a healthy diet. Especially if you switch to dark chocolate — it can help to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Choose a bar with 70 per cent or more cocoa and make sure the first ingredient on the label is ‘cocoa butter’ or ‘cocoa liquor’ instead of ‘sugar’.
Alternatively, you can even swap your chocolate eggs for real eggs. This great food in a shell works out at about 70 calories per egg and provides six grams of protein. Plus they are full of omega-3 fatty acids that are important for a healthy heart.
There’s also the chance to enjoy another Easter tradition in the form of a delicious hot cross bun. Try switching to the wholemeal version and choose one packed with dried fruit that’ll give you the flavour you want with the added benefit of extra dietary fibre. Resist the urge to slather it in butter or jam and focus on finding the flavour of the fruit.
I hope I’ve given you inspiration for some tasty post-Easter treats. Helping our customers make healthy choices they can enjoy is something we’re deeply committed to. That’s why my team and I work hard to make it as easy as possible to know what’s in the food served in Eurest restaurants. For more info, visit our Know your Food website to see our commitment in action.
Gunnars, K. (n.d.) 7 proven health benefits of dark chocolate. Available: http://authoritynutrition.com/7-health-benefits-dark-chocolate/ Last accessed 2 Feb 2015.