Tips For a Healthy Easter Lunch

February 19, 2024

Easter is just around the corner. It’s a time we start to gear up for a delightful break from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. It’s a time to cherish moments with our loved ones, whether it’s through community celebrations, sharing a meal with the extended family, or the excitement of a backyard Easter Egg hunt.

Amidst the celebrations, it can be difficult to fit nourishing meals into the Easter holiday itinerary, especially if you’ve eaten a few too many chocolate eggs.

For our MindChamps families who are entertaining this Easter and looking for delicious and healthy meal ideas that will impress your guests but leave them satisfied and energised, here are some of our top tips for healthy Easter lunches.

1. Prioritise Good Quality Proteins

Serving high-quality, protein-rich foods helps you stay satisfied and full between meals. Choose non-processed meats rather than processed luncheon meats and use healthy cooking methods like baking, steaming, and slow cooking.

Here are some examples of animal and plant protein ingredients and meals:

  • Eggs: An egg-cellent source of protein with endless options – try hard-boiled in a pasta salad or fry up a sweet potato and spinach frittata.
  • Grass-fed Beef & Lamb: Include a variety of meat-based dishes such as beef noodle chow mein, lamb shanks with barley soup, or spice it up with a Korma lamb and vegetable curry.
  • Chicken & Turkey: Opt for oven-baked chicken or turkey breast schnitzel with wholemeal crumbs or a one-pan chicken and veggie bake.
  • Low Mercury Oily Fish and Seafood: Enjoy salmon parcels, cheesy tuna and wholemeal pasta, or a seafood paella for a protein and omega-3 boost.
  • Tofu: Try a tofu and vegetable stir-fry, topping with crushed cashews for extra protein.
  • Beans and Legumes: Include falafels or green beans in a haloumi salad or try a homemade black bean dip as a tasty addition to a charcuterie board.

2. Add Healthy Wholegrains

Incorporating wholemeal and wholegrain options, along with cereal grains and starchy vegetables, into your dishes ensures a beneficial mix of healthy carbs. These ingredients not only energise but also provide essential fibre, promoting a feeling of fullness and maintaining stable blood sugar levels for sustained energy and satisfaction.

To enhance the wholegrain content of your Easter lunch, consider the following:

  • Pasta: Choose wholemeal or legume-based pastas like red lentil pulse or wholemeal lasagna for a nutritious twist.
  • Grains: Dive into diverse grains such as barley, freekeh, quinoa, or bulgur, replacing traditional white rice with healthier variants like brown or wild rice for dishes like prawn and quinoa salad or chicken freekeh pilaf.
  • Wholemeal and Sourdough Bread: Enjoy a seeded sourdough bruschetta or bake wholemeal Lebanese bread into crunchy chips, topped with herbs and spices like oregano and paprika.
  • Starchy Vegetables: Don’t forget starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and pumpkin for vibrant, nutritious sides like a roasted pumpkin and chickpea salad.

3. Fill Your Table with Veggies

Vegetables are rich in fibre, which promotes fullness, blood sugar control, and good digestion, while providing essential nutrients like vitamin C and antioxidants for immunity and disease prevention. Diversity is key; aim for a rainbow of colours on your table to ensure a broad spectrum of these health benefits.

Try the following:

  • Increase Fibre: Include unpeeled veggies, such as baked carrot, zucchini, and parsnip in a one-pan fish tray bake or vegetable soup.
  • Red, Orange, and Yellow Veggies: Include a mix like three-color capsicum in a fajita bowl for variety of nutrients.
  • Purple Veggies: Try a homemade beetroot burger patty on a wholemeal bun.
  • White Veggies: Try a cauliflower lentil dahl or a spicy roast potato and chickpea bake.
  • Dark Green and Leafy Veggies: Pair spinach, kale, and pomegranate salad with a lean chicken or turkey bake for a delicious flavour combination.
  • Fresh Veggie Platters: Make colourful veggies the base of your Easter grazing platters with cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumber, carrots, radishes, fennel, celery, and olives for a satisfying fibre and nutrient-packed snack.

4. Make Some Healthy Swaps for Desserts

Easter desserts are a festive highlight, fostering connection and celebration. While indulging, consider substituting ingredients to increase protein and fibre, ensuring satisfaction without sacrificing taste. Reducing added sugar also helps avoid energy slumps, making dessert a joyful part of your Easter tradition without the usual downsides.

Try some of these tasty ideas:

  • Flours: Substitute plain flour with wholemeal options like spelt, chickpea, brown rice or quinoa flours, like in our Champ favourite spelt hot cross buns.
  • Cream and Ice-Cream: For a healthier twist on dessert toppings, opt for natural or Greek yogurt sweetened with honey or fruit. Enhance the flavor and texture by topping with grated frozen strawberries for a sweet, crispy addition. This swap not only adds nutritional value but also introduces an innovative taste experience to your desserts.
  • Veggies and Beans: Yes, you read that correctly! Adding legumes like black beans or grated veggies enhances fibre, protein, and nutrients in desserts without altering the taste. Experiment with a choc-black bean brownie topped with Easter Eggs or a hidden cauliflower vanilla muffin.
  • Sugar: To reduce added sugar in homemade desserts, consider reducing the recipe’s sugar amount by 25-50% or substituting with natural sweeteners like mashed bananas, dried fruits, honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar. Additionally, pairing desserts with fresh fruit toppings, such as on a tropical fruit pavlova, can enhance the dessert’s natural sweetness without the need for added sugars.
  • Fruit: Elevate fruit to the centerpiece of your Easter desserts for a nutritious twist. Consider crafting a summer fruit oaty crumble, assembling a berry and yogurt parfait, or grilling stone fruit with a maple glaze. These options are not only delicious but are also packed with fibre, antioxidants, and gut-friendly prebiotics, making them a wholesome end to your festive meal.

Now you have a guide for crafting delicious, nutritious Easter meals. Just like your weekly meals, focus on quality proteins, healthy wholegrains, and a variety of veggies. These tips are designed to boost the nutritional value of your Easter foods, allowing you to concentrate on creating meaningful connections and memories.

This Easter, explore our MindChamps Easter-friendly recipes for the perfect addition to your celebration!

Happy Easter Quiche Hot Cross Cakes Easter Chocolate Bark