Friday, April 22, 2011

Saving up for the Easter Bunny…

Growing up in a Jewish household, I have always been fascinated by Easter candy. Candy was something I was never allowed to eat unless I was in a movie theater, it was Halloween, or the day after Easter when Cadbury eggs went on sale. As a chocoholic since the womb, I always look forward to those crunchy little eggs for my once-a-year treat. Now as a dietitian working with clients, I realize that Easter is a holiday filled with special treats…

Why have you done a good thing?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with having special treats for holidays. It’s perfectly normal and healthy to look forward to your favorite dish or giving in to temptation a little. It’s about portion controlling, sticking to your favorites, and finding ways to make extremely caloric recipes a little healthier. Here are some tips to get you through the day while still enjoying yourself:

1) Start the day off right with a workout or nice walk. Get some exercise in before the celebration. Burning off some extra calories will not only off-set the damage but also make you feel better and encourage you to make smarter choices throughout the day. Go for family walks and participate in the Easter egg hunt!

2) Have a good breakfast or snack before you go. Start the day off right with a healthy breakfast full of protein and fiber. If you are going to Easter brunch, have a snack beforehand so you don’t overdo it, like yogurt or a ¼ cup of nuts.

3) Stick to your favorites and have 1 plate full. At each of the celebratory meals, stick to one plate full of food and make your calories count by only having your favorites. Make ½ your plate full of veggies and fruit for better portion control.

4) Prep treat baskets for your guests. Instead of having bowls of candy around everywhere, package up little treat packs for each person individually. This way each person has his or her own portion and no one over-does it.

5) Limit the alcohol. Stick to 1 glass if you are a woman and 2 if you are a man. Drink your drinks slowly and spread it out with seltzer or water.

6) Serve healthy snacks too! If you are making the party, provide healthy snacks to munch on all day. Suggestions: veggies with yogurt dip or fresh fruit. In between meals, aim to keep your snacks healthy so you can enjoy that Easter basket!

There are always ways to make desserts a little healthier but still delicious to enjoy at the holidays. Here’s a great recipe from At only 300 calories per slice, I think it’s totally worth it for a holiday special treat…

Carrot Cake (adapted from (click here to print a copy of this recipe and grocery list!)

Serves 16


1 20 oz can crushed pineapple

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

2 tsp ground cinnamon

3 large eggs

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

¾ cup nonfat buttermilk

½ cup canola oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups grated carrots

2 cups grated carrots (finely grated) or 4-6 carrots

¼ cup unsweetened flaked coconut

½ cup chopped toasted walnuts


12 oz reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel), softened

½ cup confectioner’s sugar

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9 by 13” baking pan with cooking spray.

Drain the pineapple over a bowl, reserving a ¼ cup of juice.

Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Beat eggs and sugar together well. Add buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and reserved pineapple juice together until well blended. Stir in pineapple, carrots, and ¼ cup of coconut. Add flour mixture until just combined. Stir in the nuts. Scrape the batter into the baking dish and bake for 35-40 minutes or until center comes out clean.

To prepare frosting, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. When cake has cooled, frost and serve!

Check out these other recipes from that would make a great addition to your holiday meal!

Happy Easter!

--Amy Santo, MS RD CDN

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