EASTER is an exciting time when we can relax and enjoy spending quality time with family and friends. And of course at Easter we are often surrounded by large amounts of delicious food. 

There’s no reason to feel guilty about enjoying yourself, but stay within reasonable limits and portion sizes. Many people can eat their way through about 4k calories on Easter Day, which is about two times as much as most people need.  But don’t despair, as you can make healthier choices. 

If you’re using oil on roasties use olive, rapeseed or sunflower.  These will provide Omega 6 and 9 which help keep our bodies healthy.  Remember, one tablespoon of oil is roughly 120 calories, so don’t go overboard on this and don’t have your potatoes swimming in oil.

For vegetables, cook loads of them to boost your five per day and include all different colours of the rainbow.  Try to steam, microwave or oven roast your vegetables to avoid boiling and maintain more nutrients.  If adding sauces to your Easter Sunday dinner, remember a portion size is just over a quarter of a pint glass at 125g/mls.  You can also add herbs and spices like rosemary, thyme, basil, parsley, mint etc to give your meat, vegetables and potatoes a lovely kick.  These will provide antioxidants (rosmarinic acid and quercetin) which may protect against inflammatory diseases, and vitamin C which helps with normal function of our immune systems.  A portion size of meat is about 90g which is the size of a deck of cards.  Meat is full of protein.  If you are vegan the meat alternative is Quorn which is full of protein too. 

If you are having an Easter egg, try not to go overboard and remember the 30g limit of free sugars. A small Dairy Milk bar is approximately 25g.  If you do go overboard one day don’t worry or stress, simply reduce your free sugar intakes over consecutive days so you don’t go above 210g over a week.  But it’s important to note that going above 30g of free sugars per day will increase dental risk. 

If you drink alcohol don’t start too early and remember no more than 14 units per week spread across three of more days.  Carling, Coors and Budweiser pints have two units, a WKD 275ml bottle has 1.1, a small glass (175ml) of 12% wine 2.1, a shot (25mls) of 40% spirits also contains around one. 

Have a nice Easter and remember to look after your health. 

Lee McCusker (BA; MSc; MSc; MSc; ANutr; SENr) is a registered nutritionist from Belfast and can be found on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  Email: attentive nutrition@gmail.com