Many of us are planning trips away or looking forward to some serious R&R over the Easter break.

Easter is also a time of celebration, littered with a variety of traditions ranging from religion to adventure. And of course, Easter is a time of serious indulgence, with chocolate eggs and hot-cross buns a plenty!

Celebrating Easter can be detrimental to the waistline. Consuming as many chocolate eggs as you can while minimising weight gain or feeling ill can be difficult at this time of year.

On the flip side, one could be overly concerned about weight gain and miss out on the joy of this celebration altogether.

Enjoying treats at Easter doesn’t mean your fitness and health regimes should be thrown out the window. To the contrary, Easter can be a time of indulgence as long as moderation is key.

Speaking with Studio 10 during the week, Research Director of CISCO’s Food and Nutrition Flagship and co-author of the Total Wellbeing Diet, Professor Manny Noakes, offered the following simple tips to stay healthy over the Easter long weekend:

  • Choose dark chocolate: By choosing dark chocolate this Easter, you will do your body a lot more good than you might realise. Apart from the nutritional benefits, including high fibre and iron levels, dark chocolate is also a good source of antioxidants such as polyphenols, which are good for overall wellbeing.

Studies have also shown that dark chocolate might improve blood flow and lower blood pressure, and could also reduce the risk of heart disease.

Naturally, all types of chocolate contain sugar, so it’s important not to over-indulge.

  • Stay active: Speaking to the Reader’s Digest Australia, The Biggest Loser trainer and fitness guru, Michelle Bridges advises the most simple way to keep fit during the Easter break is with an afternoon walk.

According to Bridges, taking an afternoon walk, rather than an afternoon nap offers several benefits – it helps maintain an active metabolism, allows you to spend time outdoors with your family and friends and ensures a fuller, better sleep at night.

If you regularly work out at the gym, or play a sport, the extra days off work allow you some extra time to participate in the exercises you enjoy.

If you’re camping, why not go for a hike, or if you’re by the beach, taking a dip in the ocean or surfing is a perfect way to keep active over the Easter weekend.

  • Don’t overdo the hot cross buns: Hot cross buns are made from white flour and refined sugars, which makes them scrumptious, but unkind to our hips.

In saying that, it is Easter. In her book, the Total Wellbeing Diet, Noakes advises that a moderate daily serving of indulgence foods (like hot cross buns) is okay. However, she does recommend not overdoing it by consuming excessive amounts of chocolate chips.

  • Be mindful or your alcohol consumption: If you’re out for lunch, or a special Easter event, it’s likely that there will be a glass or two clinking. Alcohol is a part of many celebrations, including those over the Easter break.

Alcoholic drinks are usually full of calories, and can stimulate your appetite while also reducing your willpower. And if you’ve ever experienced a hangover, you’ll be familiar with the need to binge on fatty foods the following day!

If you can limit your intake to one or two drinks with any meal, and break it up with a glass of water, you’ll be well on your way to staying healthy over Easter.

  • Enjoy seafood: Historically, many people choose to abstain from eating red meat on Good Friday, and instead opt for seafood.

Seafood is a great source of Omega-3, and is high in protein. Generally seafood is kind to the waistline, the heart and overall health. There are also lots of different types of seafood to choose from, so boredom is out of the question.

However you choose to spend your Easter break, Team VIVA! wishes you a happy, healthy holiday.