Despite record-breaking rain in Portland so far this year, spring has technically sprung. With the change in season comes that family-favorite date with chocolate, jelly beans and eggs: Easter.
Like many American holidays, Easter is typically a time of feasting—including big meals, gourmet desserts and piles of candy. Unique, though, to this springtime celebration is the addition of eggs…dozens and dozens of them, if you have kids in your life.
So how can you keep your Easter celebrations healthy and safe while still enjoying a traditional Easter egg hunt?
The Element of Surprise
One way to minimize how many hard-boiled eggs you’re stuck eating the week after Easter is to make some or all of your hidden treasures out of plastic eggs. Kids love to find plastic eggs, especially when you fill them with special surprises.
Plastic Easter eggs come in a wide variety, from classic pastel-colored eggs to the deviously camouflage-patterned ones. They never spoil and they are affordable and easy to fill any egg-size treats you choose.
To minimize the sugar impact of Easter, fill plastic eggs with healthy treats like crackers, raisins, and whole-grain, bite-size cereal. Small toys, coins and dollar bills are exciting finds too, especially for older kids who won’t try to eat them.
Don’t Walk on Eggshells About Egg Safety
Though plastic eggs are fun, colorful and safe, most kids still want a chance to color and hunt for real eggs. That can be cause for health concerns, since eggs are notorious for going bad. But a little planning goes a long way toward keeping you and your family safe while enjoying real Easter eggs.
To ensure Easter eggs stay safe to eat after the egg hunt, be sure to start with fresh eggs without cracks that have been continuously refrigerated. Then boil them for at least 15 minutes to ensure even the yolks are well-done.
Be sure to thoroughly wash your hands and any surfaces and utensils that touch the uncooked eggs. Even eggs that look sparklingly clean can carry salmonella bacteria, which in turn can make your holiday a bout of food poisoning instead of a round of jolly springtime fun.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends keeping cooked eggs at room temperature no longer than two hours. So wherever you plan to hide your Easter eggs, keep them in the refrigerator or an icebox until you hide them. Make sure your kids find their eggs within an hour or so.
Then dispose of any cracked eggs and refrigerate the rest immediately.
Once the hunt is over, use the eggs within a few days in order to enjoy them while they are still fresh and safe.
The Lighter Side of Eggs
To stick with a vegan diet, you can, of course, toss your eggs once they’re all found. But if you want to indulge in a little Easter egg-citement while still keeping your diet on a healthy track, you can lighten up the fat and calorie count of your favorite egg dishes with just a little creativity.
- Put the salad in egg salad: With its combination of eggs and mayonnaise, egg salad is a heavy-hitter in the diet game. Lighten the calorie load by using less mayonnaise and adding flavor through low-fat condiments like mustard, apple cider vinegar and fresh herbs. You can also mix in diced sweet peppers or chopped fresh spinach to lighten up the eggs. And to build a better sandwich, spread your healthier egg salad on whole-grain bread and top it with fresh veggies like sliced tomatoes and cucumbers.
- Put the egg in salad salad: Peel and slice a hard-boiled egg on a colorful bed of green salad, red tomatoes, purple cabbage and orange sweet peppers for an unbeatable Easter rainbow.
- The skinny on deviled eggs: Another Easter favorite is deviled eggs made after the egg hunt. To make a skinnier, healthier version of a classic deviled egg, ditch the mayo and use Greek yogurt instead. With yogurt’s creamy, full texture, you can use fewer egg yolks to create a delicious filling for your egg whites. Add a little mustard and top each egg with chopped fresh herbs for an extra kick of flavor.
A Plan to Keep Your Easter Hoppin’
Like any holiday, Easter can prove a minefield when you’re working toward a healthier, happier way of living.
But with a little bit of knowledge and advanced planning, you and your family can enjoy the traditions of Easter while keeping your healthy lifestyle hoppin’ along.
We at Adventist Health wish you and your family a very happy Easter.
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Author: LivingWell PDX Blog
Adventist Health is committed to creating a healthier Portland community.