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Hunt for healthy choices this weekend

Healthy U

By Lauren Cardarelli
On April 5, 2012

Put down the Peep and step away from those jelly beans. The Easter Bunny may have brought you a slew of sweet treats just in time for nervous, end-of-the-semester munching but that does not mean you should abandon your healthy diet.

With Sunday just a hop and a skip away, be on the hunt this holiday to celebrate with fresh, festive eats. I know it's tough with a big, buffet-styled brunch and all that caramel-filled chocolate in reach but it can be done. Here's how. Get egg-cited!

Lighten the basket. Call it childish, but I still get an Easter basket full of goodies every year. I look forward to what the Bunny has brought me, and I have to follow clues to find where it's located, just as much as Cupid, Santa and the rest of the gang.

Instead of overloading on candy or mindlessly consuming it because it's in front of you, pick a few pieces that you know you love and be conscious of your overall caloric intake.

To avoid eating all of your treats in one sitting, portion them out as dessert for the next few days, sharing the rest of the leftovers with your peers, colleagues and friends. You can always donate them, too!

So the question you're all wondering: what's the calorie count on Easter's finest candies? According to My Fitness Pal, one serving size of Peeps (or five marshmallow chicks) has 140 calories and contain 34 grams of sugar. 35 Assorted Jelly Belly Beans are also 140 calories with 28 grams of sugar. My favorite, the Reese's Peanut Butter Egg, weighs in a little higher at 170 calories but has the least amount of sugar of the three with 16 grams.

If you're making a basket for someone, try including health-conscious gifts like workout gadgets and gear, DVDs or healthy lifestyle magazines. Swap traditional desserts for homemade and consider dark chocolate, dried fruits or energy bars for their health benefits.

Avoid the Brunch Binge. We've all been there. Breakfast was skipped to save room for the early afternoon meal but your stomach is gurgling for attention.

Instead of running on empty, eat a light meal when you first wake up to get you through whatever family traditions lie between then and the glorious feast. You'll be less cranky, boost your metabolism and eat less later on! Try combining protein with fiber for sustainable energy.

As always, make good choices if presented with a buffet for brunch and be mindful of your portion sizes!

Get moving. I'm all for rest days but if candy, mimosa-filled brunch and lots of sitting around are in the holiday forecast, consider coordinating some kind of fitness into the schedule.

Help manage a neighborhood egg hunt, attend a parade or walk/jog with family members around the block. You'll feel productive and less guilty about the mountain of chocolate egg wrappers while squeezing in that important family time.

This weekend may present an assortment of enticing eats but they can also be debilitating to that healthy lifestyle you've been so working for. Be aware of the dangers that lurk in that basket, take it easy on the brunch buffet and put a spring in your step for an eggs-tra fit Easter. 

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