There are few holidays as indulgent as Easter. Social events and barbeques, hot cross buns with lashings of butter at any time of day and chocolate on tap can leave you feeling less than egg-cellent.
Although we love a choccy egg, sometimes a healthy swap is just what the doctor ordered (or in this case, the dietitian). So here are some great tips to keep you feeling your best, as well as a nourishing Easter brownie recipe!
1. Make healthier food swaps
Use dark chocolate instead of milk and white chocolate to boost your antioxidant intake and reduce refined sugars - both associated with reducing inflammation.
2. Plan your drinking wisely
If you like a drink or it’s a big part of your social occasions, choose wisely! Pick and choose the social events you must go to or at least must drink at, and when you do drink, choose lower calorie and reduced sugar options like wine, champagne and spirits with non-sugar mixers. Excess alcohol has been linked with increased risk of some cancers, disrupted sleep and mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.
3. Stay active
If anything, this is a great time to ramp up your activity because you’ve got more time on your hands. Grab a friend and go on a long walk or hike or do a fun outdoor training session. Regular activity is associated with improved sleep, mood and energy levels and reduces the risk of chronic diseases long-term.
4. Rest and self-care
Take the time to recharge your batteries and do something nice for yourself while you have the time. This might include having a sleep-in or an afternoon nap or just spending some time resting with no plans or anything to do. Slowing down your mind by doing something meditative is also very powerful – meditation is fantastic but any other calming activities can be wonderful too, like yoga, baking, reading, knitting or swimming.
• 2 eggs
• ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
• ¼ cup coconut sugar
• ½ cup maple syrup
• 1 tsp vanilla paste
• 1 tsp baking powder
• Pinch sea salt
• ½ cup cacao or cocoa powder
• 1 cup almond meal
• 50g good quality very dark chocolate, roughly chopped into small pieces
• ½ cup pecans or walnuts, roughly chopped
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line an 8-inch baking tray.
2. In a large bowl add eggs, oil, coconut sugar, maple syrup, vanilla extract and whisk together until sugar has dissolved. Then add baking powder, salt, cocoa powder and whisk again.
3. Add almond meal and fold together until combined but not over-mixed. Then fold through chocolate pieces.
4. Add the mixture to the baking tray and lightly smooth over the top with a spatula until even. Sprinkle crushed nuts evenly over the batter.
5. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until edges become dry and the centre is no longer wet.
6. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for up to one hour to ‘set.’ Gently remove from pan and cut into squares.