Tuesday: Easter – Eek or Peep?
Eek? or Peep?
Easter Food Guide
By: Tori O’Brien
Well, Easter is this weekend and for many it’s a holiday filled with chocolate and candy and egg hunting and pastel colors…so many good things! But, as parents once again how do we navigate this holiday with our children and their (and our) health and sanity? Here’s a quick and dirty list of DON’T eat this! Eat That!
1. Peeps (and Jellybeans) – well these are heaped full of sugar (marshmallow with sprinkled sugar or just plain sugar in a orb form). If you’re trying to watch your weight and you love marshmallows or chewy things then here’s a go to for YOU with no fat and 2 peeps equalling 60 calories. HOWEVER, for your children (or yourself) this is a brain nightmare. Sugar, sugar, sugar will not only trigger the pleasure sensors in the brain, but it can lead to a blood sugar crash AND trigger brain inflammation in learning challenge students (aka erratic and meltdown behavior).
2. Chocolate – oh the deliciousness of chocolate…during Easter there is an abundance of this stuff and it is not all on the same playing field. You have Cadbury eggs (filled with sugar creme), milk chocolate bunnies, white chocolate bunnies, chocolate filled things with nuts or creme or mystery things, dark chocolate. What’s a person to choose? Well, here’s what you want to opt for DARK CHOCOLATE! 60% or higher cocoa if possible (55% works). The higher the cocoa content the better it is for you (the darker it is the stronger the flavor or more biting the taste, so beware if you’re not use to this and maybe start on the lower cocoa end). Nut covered dark chocolate things are also a great option. Nuts provide heart-healthy fats and dark chocolate gives you antioxidants and flavonoids. The other sugar filled and creme filled ones again are sugar laden, white chocolate has little to no nutritional value and milk chocolate is mediocre aka wasted calories, sugar crashes, and needless use of energy trying to calm your now sugar brain-aggrevated child.
3. Ham – That’s right, a lot of families have Ham for Easter dinner. Make sure the fat or skin is sliced off and have at it. Ham can be a great lean protein source that helps keep you alert, build muscle and even out those blood sugar levels (leave the extra “candied goodness sauce” to others).
4. EGGS! – Easter is all about eggs (and bunnies – which rabbit meat would be okay to eat if you were having rabbit)! Eggs are EGG-CELLENT! DO IT! Go for the eggs! Eggs whites are high in protein and the egg yolks (even though have a bit of cholesterol in them – one to two yolks will do ya) have great vitamin and minerals. At Easter, those hard boiled eggs should be your family’s go to – you can even take the yolks out and just eat the whites after a few. These will fill you up, keep you lean, and no crazy behavior should ensue. But, stay away from the Deviled Eggs (unless you made them yourself with Greek yogurt instead of mayo).
5. Breads – Another potential Easter treat is sweet breads like hot cross buns. These are not your friend. They are more sugary than you realize and for some students the gluten can really trigger inflammation in the brain and gut or make them sluggish and foggy. Add sugar reactions to that and it’s just not a great combination. If you want bread, then treat yourself to some hearty, fresh made (at home maybe?! Breadmaker?) bread. German bakeries have great options, health food stores also have spelt and other (non-wheat allergy) based grain breads that could be delicious and so much more satisfying. Have it with some eggs!
Last thing, remember EVERYTHING IN MODERATION!! Just because I said to go for a certain item doesn’t mean eat the whole See’s candy box in the day. A few pieces here, a few tomorrow goes a long way!
Happy Easter eating!