Are you tempted by the Easter treats on display? They are everywhere! It’s no wonder many people’s willpower is wearing thin. How do you decide what to have, how much to have or whether it’s even ok to have something?
Let’s take a look at sugar to start with. Refined sugar, or table sugar, in small amounts is not ‘bad’ for you. But sugar is a little more complicated than that because all carbohydrate foods (including fruits, milk, yoghurt (even double thick), legumes, starchy veg, starches, breads, crackers, cereals and treats) convert to sugar. The reason why we should not choose the refined form of sugar often and in large quantities is because it does not give us any good nutrition (vitamins, minerals, fibre etc.) and it can upset blood sugar control. (Just as an aside, many other foods that convert into sugar are healthy as they contain good nutrition but they do need to be eaten in controlled portions)
For refined sugar the general guideline is not to have more than 4-6 teaspoons per day. That’s easy to calculate when using table sugar, honey, syrup, jam etc. but what about treats such as a marshmallow egg or an Easter bunny? There are 2 guidelines to consider:
* Note that if the first ingredients are milk or fruit then the ‘of which sugars’ will be natural lactose or fructose, and does not need to be counted into your 4-6 teaspoons of sugar per day
And one of the most important things to remember – DON’T GO SHOPPING HUNGRY! We all know that unhealthy foods land in our baskets, especially when there are large displays of them.
If you do want a sweet fix have chocolate with a healthy dose of fruit. Dip whole strawberries, grapes, or banana slices in melted chocolate (melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30-second increments, stirring between spurts, until smooth; or use a double boiler). If you want less chocolate, drizzle the melted chocolate over the fruit with the teeth of a fork. Also delicious is some added nuts (any nuts work). Roll the fruit in chopped nuts before dipping it in chocolate.
Have a happy, healthy Easter.