4 ways to have a healthy family Easter (chocolate included!)
Easter is synonymous with chocolate – and us Aussies love our chocolate. In fact, the latest research from Roy Morgan showed that almost two-thirds (65%) of Australians aged 18 and over (that’s almost 12 million people) ate chocolate at least once in an average four weeks.
With that in mind, the idea of a chocolate-free Easter may be too hard for most Australians to handle. But Easter doesn’t have to mean overindulging in excessive amounts of chocolate, either. Moderation is key, and there are many ways to make your day healthier – without removing chocolate from your Easter diet altogether.
Here are our top tips for a healthy family Easter.
- Serve fruit rolled in melted chocolate
Instead of buying lots of eggs this Easter, opt for a healthier dessert option and dip some fruit in melted chocolate. Strawberries, bananas, apples, pears and grapes can be dipped in melted chocolate and eaten immediately, or stored in the fridge for later.
Dark chocolate and cocoa are also thought to be beneficial for health – specifically, research has linked them with reducing blood pressure. The good news about that is that dark chocolate often tastes better in cooking and when melted.
A simple way to melt chocolate is to place a metal bowl over a saucepan filled with water and set it to boil, then place the chocolate in the bowl and stir it as the chocolate melts. Be careful not to over-heat the chocolate as it can spoil easily (which often happens if you heat it in the microwave).
Tip: Add nuts to your treats. Nuts contain a range of health benefits, including healthy fats, fibre, B-vitamins, vitamin E and many other essential nutrients, Roll the chocolate-covered fruit in chopped pecans, pistachios or almonds while the chocolate is still melted and then place it in the fridge to harden for that extra crunch.
- Serve healthy snacks
If you’re hosting or attending an Easter family lunch, opt for healthy snacks. It’s likely there’ll be plenty of chocolate around already, so balance out the sweetness with some fresh vegetables, homemade hummus dip, boiled eggs, and raw nuts.
You could also consider making some healthy sweet treats, too. Cacao, coconut and date balls are a quick and sugar-free snack – simply combine pitted dates, almond meal, shredded coconut, coconut oil and cacao powder in a food processor and then roll the mixture into small balls before coating them in shredded coconut.
Tip: Cacao, coconut and date balls can be made in advance and frozen. For the full recipe visit the Taste website.
- Spend time together as a family
If you’re looking for a family bonding activity for your family on Easter Sunday, head outside and away from the distractions of television, technology and an overflowing pile of chocolate eggs. Walking, cycling, swimming or exploring a local national park are all great ways to have quality family time.
If it’s raining on Easter Sunday, consider some fun indoor family activities you can do at home, like board games, building an indoor fort, indoor exercise, making your own hand-painted eggs, and dancing.
Tip: Listening to music together is a great family activity and research has linked it with helping to create family bonds, particularly during the teenage years.
- Host a chocolate-free Easter egg hunt
If you still want the fun of a traditional Easter-egg hunt but without the chocolate Easter eggs, you don’t have to give it up altogether. Consider using other items, like miniature toys, small household items, or plastic eggs.
Give everyone in the hunt a list of the items to find – and set up a points system – where certain items have more points than others and are worth more at the end. Or, consider hiding one big reward – like a toy, new book or DVD.
Tip: If you have older children, consider offering rewards as an incentive. Give the winner the week off doing certain chores, like the dishes or vacuuming.
So whether it’s by eating more fruit, serving healthy snacks, having more family time or planning a chocolate-free egg hunt, it is possible to have a healthy Easter without completely cutting out chocolate. Try it and see – you might be surprised at just how easy it is!