Cancer Council's five tips to have a healthy Easter

Cancer Council's five tips to have a healthy Easter

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Don't stress out about eating chocolate this Easter. Photo: Andy Zakeli

Don't stress out about eating chocolate this Easter. Photo: Andy Zakeli

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Easter is just around the corner, and the long weekend is a great opportunity to take a well-earned break.

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Easter is just around the corner, and the long weekend is a great opportunity to take a well-earned break, relax and catch up with family and friends.

Unfortunately, it is also a time when most of us tend to over-indulge; while it takes five minutes to consume a 120g Easter egg, it takes 80 minutes of strenuous exercise to burn the kilojoules off.

For those working on their health and fitness, it can be a hard time of year!

"Over-consumption of sugary foods, such as chocolate and sweets, can lead to unhealthy weight gain, which can put you at risk of chronic health problems, including some cancers," Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said.

"Even with the odd chocolate here or there, you don't have to let Easter break your healthy habits.

"Here are five tips from Cancer Council Queensland on how to avoid over-indulging this Easter!"

*Start the day right. Make sure you are starting each day with a breakfast rich in protein, fibre and energy, so you aren't reaching for the chocolate an hour later. Never eat Easter eggs on an empty stomach, as this will wreak havoc on blood sugar levels for the rest of the day.

Eating a nutrient rich breakfast every day, not just over Easter, is important as it will keep you from looking for a quick energy hit later, such as sugar or caffeine. Think omelettes with spinach and tomatoes, or a fruit-based protein shake. Or, swap the sweet one for its real version - a hard-boiled egg full of protein!

*Stock the fridge with healthy snacks. Long weekends and public holidays can sneak up on us, and with many shops closed over Easter, we can easily reach for the chocolate or take-away meals to keep us full! Stock your fridge with plenty of fruit and vegetables, and try to snack on some fruit instead, or make a fresh salad to keep your diet balanced over the long weekend.

*Don't deprive yourself but set a limit. Having the odd chocolate egg or nibble of a chocolate bunny is fine! Completely avoiding all chocolate over the Easter weekend is unrealistic for most people. Set yourself a limit of how much chocolate you will have and stick to it. A good way to set a limit is look at the serving suggestions included in the nutritional information on the packaging and aim not to go over this amount!

Alcohol is an easy one to over-indulge on when having fun with friends and family as well, so stick to a limit of no more than two standard drinks each day.

*Plan exercise with a loved one. Yes, long weekends are for sleep-ins and relaxing, but it's good to fit some exercise in where you can. Planning some physical activity with a friend or the family means you're less likely to hit the snooze button and roll over! Go for a walk or run with a friend or get active with the whole family by kicking a footy in the backyard or park.

*Eat dark chocolate. The darker the chocolate, the less sugar and more antioxidants it tends to contain. Switch your sugary milk and white chocolate to its darker variety to get your chocolate fix. The higher the percentage of cocoa, the less likely you are to over-indulge due to the less-sweet taste.

At least one third of all cancer cases can be prevented through healthy lifestyle choices, such as being physically active, so it's important all Queenslanders strive towards developing healthy habits to help lower their cancer risk.

For more information about Cancer Council Queensland, visit www.cancerqld.org.au or call 13 11 20 for information and support.

North West Star

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