At Easter, walking into the supermarket can be very tempting. Cleverly marketed Easter eggs, hot cross buns and tasty treats bombard you from all angles.
So what can you do in times of temptation?
Try our top 10 nutrition tips
1. Goal setting and seeing the bigger picture
It may sound trivial, but writing down some goals around your eating habits is a good place to begin. It can be easy to make impulsive decisions if you don’t have a clear vision of what you want to achieve. When writing a goal, try and follow the S.M.A.R.T principles. Ensure your goal is specific, measureable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
2. Change your thoughts around Easter treats
There has been a movement in recent years towards removing the stigma around discretionary foods. Doing so can have a positive affect on eating behaviours. Sometimes by shifting your thinking to believing that a food is neither good nor bad can take the appeal away. It is essentially like taking an unhealthier food off its “naughty” pedestal, which in turn may make it something you might not crave as much.
3. Plan for social occasions
Planning can sound a little boring. But, if it’s possible, try and find out what options will be available before you head out to a special occasion. By knowing what your options are, you can make decisions of what to choose beforehand. This means you are less likely to get caught up eating impulsively.
4. Re-gift Easter treats
If you receive some sweet treats over the break it is a good idea to sort through and just keep the good quality chocolate. If you happen to crave a chocolate hit then having just a few high quality choices in the fridge might stop you from overindulging.
5. Find a friend to stay accountable
Being able to talk about your situation or health goals with another can often be very helpful. You can gain some support and the act of speaking out loud is another way to reinforce your own motivations. If currently you don’t have the right people in your life to talk to, consider contacting a phone support line like the NDSS Helpline (1800 637 700). This service runs during the weekdays and has diabetes educators, dietitians, exercise physiologists and even psychologists available to have a chat.
6. Buy high quality chocolate, preferably dark
If you do decide to treat yourself during the Easter break come up with a firm plan that you are going to choose quality over quantity. Purchasing high quality and preferably darker chocolate is a way to ensure you are not depriving yourself. It also reduces your chance of overeating in one sitting.
7. Practise mindful eating
This concept has become very popular in recent years. For some it might sound a bit wishy washy, but mindful eating techniques are not only backed by science, they are very practical and can work. There are a lot of strategies to try, but a starting point could include ensuring the environment where you eat is distraction free. This allows you to be in the moment and to take a second to properly appreciate the food you are eating. Take time to chew and swallow and focus on savouring the taste in your mouth. These strategies all help slow down how quickly you eat which in turn helps to stay more in tune with your hunger/fullness cues.
8. Always have a shopping list and avoid the temptation aisles
When we feel rushed and pressured it’s easy to act on impulse. Take a list to the supermarket to help keep you on task. Be aware of the sneaky ways shops try and encourage us to buy more things. Where possible, stick to walking around the supermarket perimeter as this is where the majority of the healthier, staple foods are found. If you do need to venture down some aisles be aware of the temptation areas. Always avoid shopping on an empty stomach – it can be easy to make split second purchases of tasty treats.
9. Use the holiday as an opportunity to fit in more movement
Think of your holiday break as an opportunity to squeeze in some more physical activity. Use the time off and the slightly cooler weather to take a walk and enjoy the outdoors. To motivate you, a 30-40 minute brisk walk burns roughly 600kJ, which is equivalent to the amount of energy in three small solid filled Easter eggs.
10. It’s okay to not be perfect all the time
Easter is a time of the year that can include family get-together’s, meeting up with friends or just cutting yourself some slack. Eating delicious food is often part of the celebrations, festivities and down time. If you do have a day of not eating exactly how you should, don’t beat yourself up or feel guilty. Diabetes management is important and consistency is the key, but being kind to yourself and allowing yourself a deep breath every now and then is a natural and normal part of being human.
-Linda Uhr, Accredited Practising Dietitian and Diabetes Educator