There is so much to love about Easter, especially when it comes to food. Delicious hot-cross buns. An abundance of chocolate Easter eggs. Cake. Alcohol. More hot cross buns.
But with all this available, how do we stop ourselves from over-doing it?
LIV Health had a chat with mindful-eating enthusiast and Nutritionist, Chantelle Vella, to learn how we can enjoy eating over Easter, while still nurturing our relationship with food, health and wellbeing.
[LIV Team] Why do you think eating sweets over Easter can feel so overwhelming and lead us to over-eat?
[Chantelle] Firstly, it is important to acknowledge that we live in a world where chocolate and sweets are available on demand 24/7, 365 days a year. From our local convenience store, to the supermarket, to boutique hand-made chocolate shops, we often take for granted that chocolate is so easily accessible.
With all the excitement of Easter, we often forget to stop savour the moment, and appreciate all the wonderful sensory qualities of food like the silky-smoothness of chocolate, or the delicious smell of freshly-baked hot-cross buns.
For many, Easter is a time for celebration with family and friends and we may feel obliged to eat and drink more than usual.
It is a great opportunity for all of us to practice more mindful eating and drinking, particularly when it comes to foods such as pastries, sweets, chocolates, and alcohol. These types of foods are known as discretionary foods (low in nutrients and high in energy), and unfortunately contribute to around one third of Australian adults’ daily food energy consumption.
Is over-eating over Easter and special occasions bad for our health?
Over-eating can cause us to feel sluggish, tired and very uncomfortable. If continued over a long period of time, it can also lead to weight gain.
Making an effort to listen to your body’s natural hunger and fullness cues can help to curb the urge to eat too much of your favourite foods. So before you reach for the third, fourth and tenth hot cross bun, try to ask yourself ‘am I actually hungry?’.
However, it is important to remember the enduring message is simply ‘everything in moderation’. Completely avoiding your favourite foods purely because of a high calorie content can actually create a negative relationship with food, which isn’t healthy either.
What are your top tips for eating more mindfully during Easter and the holiday festivities?
- Quality over quantity – try not to eat just for the sake of it and instead try to be selective by choosing a few favourite foods or sweets to enjoy
- Share the love –share your favourite dishes or desserts with others
- Chocolate is not a rarity – try to remember that, while it may come in cute bunny and egg shapes for Easter, chocolate is available every day of the year
- Don’t be too hard on yourself – if you accidently over-eat, don’t beat yourself up. Building a healthy relationship with food is a life-long process. Easter is not about guilt, it’s a time to enjoy with your family and friends. The best way to get back on track is to make one small, achievable change at a time, such as drinking water throughout the day, or plating up a serve (or two) of vegetables at dinner
Chantelle is a Sydney-based qualified community nutritionist (BSc, ANutr) and health communicator (MHC). She is passionate about public health nutrition, food sociology and health writing. You can follow and connect with Chantelle on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @nutritionmunch.