Hooray, it’s Easter! With the long bank holiday weekend approaching there’s time to gather friends and family and enjoy a little well-earned indulgence. So we’ve challenged our resident nutritionist, Anita Lemon to come up with a few treats that pack a nutritional punch.
1 – Eggs a plenty
There’s no better way to start the bank holiday weekend than with a leisurely brekkie.
Whether its eggs and soldiers decorated by the kids, or a more sophisticated spring herb omelette, eggs are high in protein which means they’re a premium energy source. They also contain lecithin which supports your body’s metabolic processes and aids the dispersal of fat.
2 – Spring lamb with rosemary and garlic
Simply place sprigs of rosemary into your chosen joint with a couple of bulbs of garlic (skin on) dotted around. Cook to your normal method.
It goes without saying this is an awesome protein source. But did you know lamb is rich in iron, zinc and B vitamins? The rosemary whilst a classic marriage also has health promoting benefits in the form of iron and calcium together with vitamin B6.
3 – Aubergine mash up
Half an hour before your lamb’s ready, skim off any fat, remove the garlic and add thick aubergine slices to the pan – roast for 20-30 minutes. Once cooked, let the lamb rest and lightly mash the aubergine with the garlic and season well.
Aubergines are high in dietary fibre together with Vitamin B1 and B6 and the deep purple pigment in the skin contains a powerful antioxidant which helps block free radicals. Garlic, a rich source of calcium and vitamin C, has great circulation boosting properties and is packed with a sulphur compound called allicin which helps the body eliminate cholesterol.
Your crushed garlic cloves will combine perfectly with the aubergine giving a smoky flavour that adds to the robustness of the lamb main. Served as a ‘mash’ there’s no need for potatoes.
4 – Wilted watercress
With its strong peppery flavour watercress is the perfect accompaniment. Wilt in a steamer of drop in and out of a pan of boiling water.
Eating watercress will help keep your immune system tip top, boosting your resistance to disease and infections. It also provides a source of iodine supporting the function of the thyroid.
One of my all-time favourite walks is along The River Chess at Chorleywood in Hertfordshire passing a watercress farm at Sarratt. This is a feast for the eyes as much as for the taste buds with row upon row of this wonderful produce growing in the narrow water beds.
Plate your wilted watercress up first serving generous portions, followed by the lamb, then topped with the aubergine mash.
5 – Hot cross buns with a twist
Personally I love these Easter treats. Warmed from the oven the combination of dried fruits, cinnamon and spices is the perfect tea time treat. And the twist? Top with a generous spread of raw coconut oil and serve alongside your favourite brew.
Raisins provide a quick energy boost, are a source of fibre and rich in iron. Cinnamon can help balance blood sugar levels which may spike from this simple carbohydrate based treat. Served with raw coconut oil, a fat source containing medium chain fatty acids and claimed to boost energy, this treat should keep you going until supper.
6 – Dark Chocolate Creations
Easter wouldn’t be Easter without chocolate eggs, just make sure they’re of the dark variety and contain at least 70% cocoa solids.
Dark chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine which aids the brain in the release of serotonin, also known as the happy hormone. It’s also a rich source of powerful antioxidants to help fight free radicals.
It goes without saying that this Easter goodie is high in calories, with caffeine, sugar and fat in the mix, so indulge in a couple of chunks a day rather than a big splurge.
Anita, is our resident nutrition expert here at the Academy of Fitness Professionals. She is passionate about sharing her own views on how we can support optimum health through effective nutrition. Based in London, she oversees our Level 2 Personal Exercise and Nutrition course together with nutritional elements of our Level 3 Personal Trainer courses which consider the role nutrition plays in developing positive lifestyle and exercise habits.
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