Celebrating Spring and Diversity with Success – Lent, Ramadan, Easter, and Passover

By Terrie J., RD, LD, and Molly K., B.S. Kinesiology, Livea Centers

While holidays can be a joyous time to spend with family and loved ones and honor important traditions, they can also disrupt your routine and make it difficult to stick to plan. Lent, Ramadan, Easter, and Passover are no exception, with brunches – check out: Livea Navigating Brunch, fish fries, and holiday candy on the shelves in stores and at home, this time of year can be challenging for those who are committed to losing weight. Here are some tips and tricks, as well as different ways of thinking about this holiday season, in order to help you stay on track with your goals along with recipes for the different cultural traditions this time of year.

Lent

Traditionally, Lent is associated with giving up certain things as a sign of sacrifice and testing self-discipline (3). You may already be abstaining from these things while following your Livea plan, so it is an excellent time to add in some self-care activities! Volunteering, taking a break from social media, beginning a new healthy habit, or incorporating daily journaling, meditation, or prayer are all wonderful ways to honor this special time.

Fish Fry Fridays

Fish Fry Fridays are a Midwestern staple during this time of year. Whenever possible, seek out a healthier option instead of deep-fried fish, such as broiling, grilling, pan searing, or steaming. If not available, discarding the breading off of fried fish can still provide a great source of protein without the excess carbohydrates and added fat in the coating. Gravitate towards the vegetable sides served at these events and if not available, focus on the protein and treat yourself to a delicious and nutritious green salad either before or after the event. Choosing a refreshing squeeze of lemon rather than tartar sauce is also an excellent and flavorful way to enhance your meal and remain on plan.

If you’re abstaining from eating meat on Fridays this season, it is the perfect time to expand your protein options! Take this opportunity to try out different fish options that provide essential fatty acids as well as being a lean source of protein. Don’t forget you can include seafood or meatless options as well! Be sure to consult your Livea coach for more on-plan meatless options and recipes.

Eggs

Egg dyeing is a fun and festive way to honor the Easter holiday. Hard boiled eggs are an excellent source of protein and paired with a few servings of slice and serve vegetables make a perfect grab and go complete Fresh and Lean meal! 3 whole eggs provide one complete Lean-0 protein choice. Get creative decorating eggs as a fun family activity and keep them in the fridge all week long!

Get Active

Organize an Easter egg hunt around your home, yard or even with the whole neighborhood as a playful way to work some activity into your day! Fill plastic eggs with stickers, small toys, or tokens as a substitute for candy and get your steps in by placing the eggs in creative locations. Make it into a game and have fun chasing your children around searching for the eggs!

Avoiding Candy Temptations

Easter baskets don’t have to necessarily contain candy (1). Play-doh, fidget spinners, activity books, stuffed animals, jump ropes, and sidewalk chalk are all excellent ideas for an Easter basket kids are sure to love, all sugar free! If candy displays at stores, home, or work are a temptation for you, don’t make eye contact! Out of sight, out of mind! After all, isn’t Easter candy just the same candy that’s available all year long packaged differently? Stay strong and most importantly, make sure you always have a favorite Livea Meal on hand (Caramel Nut, anyone?) so that you can still enjoy a sweet treat while sticking to your program.

Spring is here!

Easter is a sure sign that spring has arrived (even if we know the weather does not always agree). Celebrate by experimenting with seasonal produce. Arugula, bok choy, mushrooms, kale, leeks, and sprouts are just a few of the in-season veggies in MN this time of year (2). Have fun with a new recipe or welcome in the warmer weather with a spring-inspired salad full of your favorites! Eating seasonally is an excellent way to add variety to your diet and to get the most nutrients out of what you are eating as your produce will be fresher, tastier, and more nutritious as it is picked and sold at peak ripeness.

Easter is traditionally a religious holiday though many who are both religious and non-religious celebrate it. Many customs from fasting for lent to feasting on Easter Day, decorating hard-boiled eggs, and eating chocolate covered bunnies celebrate Easter and is therefore one of the many holidays where food can be a major focus. Below are some tips to help you stick to your health and wellness goals while still having some fun.

  • Buy pre-made Easter baskets or prepare candy free baskets filled with fun toys and games for your loved ones. This will lessen the temptation to sneak a few jelly beans when you are putting them together and you won’t have bags of treats around.
  • Stick with your normal eating routine. Space out your meals every 2-3 hours throughout the day. This will keep your blood sugar levels steady so that you will be less likely to overindulge on Easter brunch.
  • Plan ahead! Get as much information about the event ahead of time. What will be served? What time will it be served? How long are you planning on staying? This way you can plan out your meals and snacks ahead of time. If they don’t have anything that fits your meal plan offer to bring a dish to share.
  • Ask yourself, “is it worth it?” Is that treat or extra portion worth possibly sacrificing your goals? If it is, then slowly savor it and do not beat yourself up over it. You weighed out the pros and cons and made the decision.
    • Fun Fact – One small treat like a Cadbury Egg containing 150 calories would take a 35-minute brisk walk to expend.
  • Be prepared to politely decline. If you know your Aunt Betty is not going to let you get away without trying her banana cheesecake make sure you are prepared with your response. If you can learn to politely decline without offending people, social gatherings will be much more enjoyable. Here are some examples to help prepare:
    • “No thanks!” A simple “No thanks” will go a long way. Sometimes we feel the need to explain our “no thanks!” but this can unintentionally offend others by suggesting what they are eating is unhealthy.
    • “No thanks! It looks and smells amazing…maybe later.” No matter what your excuse for saying no is, it is always a good idea to complement the host on his/her food.
    • “You know this is my favorite dish but I just don’t have the room for any right now.” Compliment first and then give your reason for declining. “It looks delicious but I couldn’t possibly eat another bite.” Most people will respect your decision to stop eating.
  • Enjoy your eggs! Have fun hard-boiling and dyeing eggs this season. One egg packs a nutritional punch containing 6 grams of high-quality protein, B vitamins, antioxidants and minerals that your body needs. Three hard-boiled eggs are the equivalent of one lean protein. Throw a few colorful eggs and a salad into your lunch bag to bring a little joy to lunchtime.
    • Fun Tipuse a wax crayon to write yourself an inspirational message on your egg before you dye it.

Our days are getting longer, and the weather is growing warmer which means summer is just around the corner! Make the most of the next several weeks with these tips and tricks and by communicating with your Lifestyle Consultant in order to ensure you have all you need to spring into your best summer yet!

Recipes to Enjoy this Easter

Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients:

  • 4lbs pork tenderloin
  • 2 tsp fresh cracked pepper
  • 4 Tbsp. parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme
  • ½ tsp garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp fine grain salt
  • ½ Cup water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix all the spices and cheese together in a bowl

Rub mixture over the entire surface of the pork

Place the pork in a roasting pan and pour ½-cup water into the pan

Bake about one hour until thermometer reads 145-160 degrees F.

Remove from the oven, cover with foil and let rest for about 15 minutes. Check to make sure the temperature has reached 160 degrees F. before serving.

Green Bean Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 6 Cups frozen green beans
  • 1/2 Cup onion, chopped
  • 4 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 packet Livea Tomato Soup
  • 6 oz. water

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Combine green beans, onions & parmesan in a medium baking dish
  • Mix Livea Tomato Soup with water and add to green bean mixture
  • Bake 45 minutes
  • Remove from oven and stir
  • Bake another 10-15 minutes

Broccoli Salad

Ingredients:

  • 6 Cups broccoli florets
  • 1/2 Cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 Cup light mayo
  • 2 packets Stevia/sweetener
  • 1 Tb apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 Cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

  • Wash and prep broccoli florets to the preferred size and set