Before you fill the traditional Easter basket for your children, think about how you are setting them up for the weight loss struggles that you might be battling. Chocolate bunnies, Peeps™ and candy eggs add to the obesity habits of children.  One of every three children in America is over-weight and one out of every five 4 year olds is obese; do they need an excuse for more sugar? Children learn by example, so no matter how you try to teach better food habits, they will follow what you do. That means you have to lead by example.
Think before you use candy or deserts as the “treat”.  “You can have desert if you eat all your vegetables…”  Do you hear the mixed message?
Reflect on your childhood. If you have struggled to lose weight in the past, then chances are you heard those same mixed messages, which still have a negative effect on your relationship with food. Why set up your children for the same struggle?

What can you do to help your children during Easter?     Keep in mind the 3 B’s:

Be Creative.Instead of a basket, get an appropriately sized beach bucket with shovel and some sand toys for summer play. Add in crayons, coloring book, card games, small toys, dried fruit snacks, raisins or trail mix. If you don’t have the courage to say “no” to candy, then at least choose sugar free candies.
Be Realistic.Holidays are prime times for retailers to push sweets and junk that they want you to believe you must have.   You don’t have to buy what they push.  Holidays have meaning, and it’s not found on the candy aisle.
Be Future Minded.  Think about the mixed messages with sweets and junk that send children on the road to diabetes, heart disease and other medical conditions, which are further compromised by obesity.
What can you do for yourself?  As the adult who is making a serious effort to lose weight and restore health (or maintain health) with Take Shape for Life, here’s 3 B’s to remind you how to enjoy the Easter/Passover holiday without falling into old calorie indulging traps.
Be Prepared.Have a shake, brownie, or bar before you arrive at your family or church gathering. This takes the edge off your appetite so you can make sensible choices. This is also the time to keep a bar in your purse or pocket in case dinner is served later than you expected.
Be Picky.Look over everything at the buffet or on the table before making choices. If you are eating at a restaurant, ask the server to have your food prepared without gravy or butter and request substitution of green vegetables for potatoes. When eating with the family, make the same request of the hostess. If you feel that you cannot ask, then do your best to adapt the food or eat less of it without sparking a family drama.
Be People Centered (rather than food centered).This weekend is about spiritual connections, family and celebration.  Stay focused on the reason that this time is special. Plan to spend twice as much time talking as eating. As with any holiday overstuff on good conversation and you will “gain” wonderful memories.

Lean & Green Recipe Idea that’s suitable for holiday dinner. Who says you have to eat ham at Easter?
Leave the ham and butter for TV Chefs –  here’s a better option:

Mediterranean Style Tilapia & Spinach Salad

Fresh thin slices of Tilapia fish
1 can chunky tomato-garlic (or tomato-okra)
1 package fresh Baby Spinach
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Pan sear for 5 minutes on each side on medium heat in Canola Oil or Soy Margarine
Take Tilapia out of the pan and drain the oil.
Add in a can of chunky tomato-garlic (or tomato-okra) and stir around skillet.
Put Tilapia back into pan with tomato and simmer for ten minutes at lower heat.
During the slow cook, rinse Baby Spinach for salad.
Serve Tilapia with a small amount of  flavorful tomatoes and a side salad of Baby Spinach topped with a shake of Extra Virgin Olive Oil or no-cal vinegar/oil dressing.


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