It’s Easter! Ahhhh crap…

Ah it is indeed Easter time again. Warm Spring breezes carrying lovely pollen are blowing. Bluebonnets are in full bloom. Birds are chirping. Bees are buzzing. And the last of the New Year’s Resolutions are dying a chocolate egg and jelly bean shaped death.

We all know Easter is a time for ridiculous amounts of candy. I honestly think it’s even worse than Halloween since kids do still down the bulk of candy. Not so for easter. It sucks diet wise, but are there ways to cope with the Easter Bulge?

Yes, but you need a plan to get through this with your waistline intact.

Get A Plan

Sugar in and of itself isn’t bad. LOTS of sugar and HFCS is bad. Nobody in their right minds will tell you that a diet of Peeps, Cadbury Eggs, and jelly beans is healthy much less good for you.

Easter candy is all about sugar. It really does make Halloween look like the red headed step child of mindless indulgence. Easter candy is brightly colored sugar candy with a sugary shell and a dash of sugary coating on top of that it seems.

When you injest that much freaking sugar, it’s not good for you. When you hit that candy hard (I know I can), your blood sugar spikes like crazy for the first 20 minutes or so. Your endocrine system is working overtime to deal with that sugar. Your pancreas responds by dumping a ton of insulin to help you convert that raw sugary goodness into something the body can use. You’re getting a hormone rush. What happens is, usually that huge excess of energy is stored for later use in the form of fat.

Millions of years of evolution is telling your body that it won’t get this good again and we need to prepare for the lean times. Problem is, in the modern world, there aren’t lean times. At least not for the most part in the regions I’m from.

If you have a lot of fat in your diet, the insulin response is already jacked. That’s why you can actually eat a high carb diet even with Type 1 diabetes. However, your body really isn’t ready for it. That burst of insulin hormones in your body will cause the insulin to get overwhelmed and the sugar just starts circulating around your body. That’s high blood sugar. That’s not good in the long term.

The weird balance of hormone levels causes you to get lethargic because you really can’t get ahold of all that energy that is coursing through your veins. Long term, if that blood sugar stays high, you can seriously screw up your health. Everything from causing damage ranging from your eye sight to your kidneys and extremities in extreme cases. It also does a real number on pretty much every important system in your body.

Is that peep and jelly beans really worth it? No.
Do you have to totally abstain? No.

But, for me I have to abstain. I have a problem with gorging on unhealthy foods like this and I’d be willing to bet deep down you think you have the same problem as well. It’s all about the amount of sugar and excess calories you get.

It’s crazy easy to down 500-1000 calories in Easter candy. Just mindlessly chewing a jelly bean here and there while you sit at your desk or having a Peep or two here and there starts to really seriously add up.

But Damnit Scott, It’s Easter!

Yup. And a couple of months ago it was Valentines Day. Before that it was Christmas. Before that was Before that it was Halloween. After all, those only come once a year. (sound familiar?) There is always a good excuse.

For me, a lot of coming to terms with my eating was rationalization. I realized I rationlized so much of my eating. There was always a reason to indulge. At work special events, special events at home, hanging out at the theme park, county fair, yadda yadda. Like I said, I can always find a great excuse to not do something.

It’s all about realizing your triggers and the sources of the excess calories that you don’t realize you’re getting in your diet.

So What Do I Eat You Killjoy Bastard?

I’m not suggesting that instead of jelly beans you put Brussels Sprouts in your Easter baskets. I found that making a list of spluge foods really helped me out.

Adult Easter Treats

  • Dark Chocolate – it’s got less sugar usually, and is easier to find without dairy.
  • Dried fruits – These are incredibly calorie dense but are good alternatives if you “just need something sweet” Also, consider dark chocolate dipped dried fruits. SOOOOO full of calories but people really do love them.
  • Fresh fruits – The best alternative really. I have come to love and indeed relish fruit as a sweet snack.
  • Popcorn – I can’t recomend the Nordic Ware popcorn popper enough. It allows me to make popcorn without any added fat at all.
  • Crackers – Again, these are usually very highly processed and full of fat but do provide cruch. Just watch since most have dairy.
  • Nuts – Again, very calorie dense and fat but are great. I will throw a tiny amount in with fruit to give it a crunch.

Kid Friendly Suggestions

You don’t need candy to make kids happy. Though, as a parent, it’s what kids are conditioned by society to crave. With my kids baskets, we give them some of the above, but also include stuff from this list as well

  • Crayons – Everyone knows what these are for
  • Coloring Books (Dollar stores usually have great collections of tiny coloring books)
  • Stickers – My kid would very easily trade my life for a packet of stickers. Kids freaking love stickers.
  • Chalk – What kid doesn’t like to draw on concrete?
  • Play Dough – Buy some or better yet, make some with your kids. My kids freaking LOVE doing this and it’s easy and fun for everyone.
  • Pokemon Cards – Even if they don’t play Pokemon, they like the cards. Who knows, you may get lucky and get a valuable one to pay for all the other stuff you bought.
  • Plastic Eggs – I’ve found plastic eggs that are meant to be decorated at stores. I’ll decorate them like traditional Easter eggs and will use them to put stickers or pieces of Play Dough in. Hint: Candy also goes in them pretty easily.

Have a happy and healthy Easter!