Wellness

How to have a healthy Easter long weekend

Easter is a wonderful time to relax and recharge. Sample some steaming hot cross buns, hit a nature trail or curl up with your book—this is your guide to long weekend bliss.

1. Be deliberate with your time


Whether you’re going on holidays or having a staycation, you want to make the most of your long weekend by proactively choosing how you’re going to dedicate your time. “Really put some thought into what you want your weekend break to look like, otherwise you could just be ‘reactive’ to whatever else is happening and end up doing what everyone else wants or expects you to do,” health psychologist Dr Marny Lishman points out. “If you have a few days off, it might mean there’s enough time to work out a schedule so you can balance out the social, relaxation, exercise and ‘me’ time.”

 

2. Eat and enjoy your favourite things


Whether it’s the Good Friday fish ’n’ chips or the Sunday morning chocolates, give some thought to your menu so you can factor in your favourite things. “If you’re enjoying an Easter feast with family and friends, try to eat mindfully at the table,” suggests Nicole Stride, WW program developer and dietitian. “Put your knife and fork down between mouthfuls and take your time to enjoy your meal and the company you’re with.”

 

3. Fuel your body with a healthy breakfast


Starting your day with a healthy breakfast will give you long-lasting energy for the adventures ahead. “Breakfast is a great opportunity to lean on ZeroPoint™ foods such as eggs, vegies, fruit and yoghurt,” Stride says. “If you’ve got a lunch or dinner event that day, sticking to ZeroPoint foods in the morning means you’ve still got your SmartPoints® Budget to enjoy the meal later in the day and can stay on track.”

 

4. Travel smart and pack snacks


Easter is synonymous with road trips, but that doesn’t have to mean relying on fast food pit-stops. “If you’re travelling a long distance, bring an esky and prepare some healthy snacks for the car ride ahead of time,” Stride suggests. “Fruit salad with yoghurt, small packets of air-popped popcorn and whole grain sandwiches with skinless chicken breast or reduced-fat cheese are some great options to try.”

 

5. Slow down and switch off


With work, exercise, family and social commitments to balance, we often think of downtime as a luxury afforded only to the lazy, but Dr Lishman says it’s important we purposefully take time to chill. “People underestimate the power of relaxation and its effect on our health,” she says. “Make sure you are proactive in having wind-down time so you can recharge, rejuvenate and reset. It could be lying down at the beach, sitting in a café sipping coffee, just reading a book without rushing or even turning your phone off for 20 minutes. Self-care should be a priority because you can’t be at your best for others if you are not aligned with your true self.”

 

6. Go on an active Easter egg hunt


Taking part in the Easter egg hunt can be a great way to earn FitPoints®. “Backyards or local parks are an ideal place to get you and your loved ones moving and, the more people you can get involved, the quicker the pace,” says accredited exercise physiologist Loren Kirkwood. “For us adults, the set-up can be just as physically active as it is for the children doing the searching. The up-and-down, crawling, bending and twisting to get to those hiding spots will get your heart rate up, helping to increase energy expenditure.”

 

7. Get creative and crafty with your kids


Rather than hunting for chocolate eggs this year, why not hide hard-boiled eggs for the kids to find? “They won’t melt and leave chocolate stains on your furnishings,” says accredited practising dietitian Melanie McGrice. “Once your kids have found all the eggs, it’s great fun to decorate them with pretty patterns using bright coloured textas. You can also stick feathers, stickers or bright paper on them, then smash them and eat them as snacks during the day.” Not only is it a fun family activity, but McGrice says you’ll get plenty of nutrients, too. “Eggs are rich in nutrition, including protein for healthy hair and nails, choline for memory and omega 3 for reducing inflammation,” she adds. And don’t forget, they’re also a ZeroPoint food.

 

8. Make movement fun


The sky is the limit when it comes to ways to earn FitPoints on the long weekend. “If you’re eager to get outdoors, why not try a new bushwalk, go kayaking, or cycle around a new track?” Kirkwood suggests. “If you need to be indoors, consider Twister, limbo, charades or Wii-Fit.” If you’re away from home and short of equipment, Kirkwood says a quick body weight sequence can fire you up for the day. “A body weight workout including squats, mountain climbers, push-ups, crunches and sprints will work a treat,” she says. “Try to stay as close as possible to your usual movement routine and your body and mind will thank you for it.”

 

Smart Easter food swaps


There’s no need to miss out on your favourite Easter foods. Try some simple swaps to stay on track.

Easter food swaps