Top 5 healthy Easter traditions

Top 5 healthy Easter traditions

Top 5 healthy Easter traditions

By Kate Johnstone

This year is my first year to really have to think about Easter as a parent. Normally Easter consists of a few treats (not always sweet) that my husband and I would share over the holidays. I also attempt to make hot cross buns from scratch which is always a surprise to see if they end up edible. Throw in a brunch with family and a few DVD marathons and that is Easter at a wrap.

Little one is nearly two and much more aware of what is going on around him. He has noticed all the bunny themed merchandise in the shops and has already started receiving Easter gifts from play groups and well-meaning family and friends. We have a reasonably well-publicised sugar-free policy with my son and most of the time our community is respectful and cooperative with it. Easter is a tough gig though for parents who want to celebrate the Easter holiday without being overrun by coloured foil filled with highly refined sugars and who knows what else. It seems that this holiday see’s normal, sensible people have sudden amnesia and start buying treats for children that have ingredient lists with more numbers then letters.

My dear husband and I spent the weekend brainstorming how we were going to celebrate Easter with our toddler and what traditions we would like to start. Not being particularly religious, it was also an opportunity for us to reflect on the values that we associate with the Easter tradition and how we could imbue those in the celebrations with our son. For us, we settled on Easter being a time to celebrate transformation and change as a positive part of life. This became the basis for choosing our treats and traditions that we would share with our little one and family.

Here are our top 5 healthy Easter traditions:

1. Easter hunt: Little people LOVE the excitement of an adventure and nothing speaks adventure to the young at heart like a treasure hunt. We are organising a treasure hunt through our front garden with a range of lovely little gifts to reflect the interests of our toddler. Think a little dinosaur figurine, some colourful boiled eggs, gems and colourful stones, a few small bags of dried fruit tied with colourful ribbon or some crayons, paints or chalk.

2. Egg and butterfly craft: Communicating a complex concept like transformation to a small child would be difficult with just words. Incorporating this idea into kinaesthetic activities such as arts and crafts is a great way to do this. The symbolism of the chicken and the little chick breaking out of the egg is potent for children. Similarly, the caterpillar to butterfly transformation is a wonderful way to talk about life change and growth. Over the last month there have been moths and butterflies everywhere in Australia so it is a timely reflection of our seasons. Find some colouring in or craft projects online to do over the holidays that fits with a theme that means something to your family.

3. Warm winter goodies: In the southern hemisphere Easter is usually during our Autumn season. There were many families who shared with us the tradition of giving each of their children (or each other) a new set of warm winter wear. We loved this practical gift idea that linked to the holiday season. Gifts ranged from beanies, scarves, winter PJs and slippers. We thought this would be a lovely time to gift our son his first warm dressing gown and slippers.

4. If you must have chocolate: Shop around or make your own! There are so many fantastic, healthier alternatives that are simply delicious. For children, you can get a yummy Carob option like The Carob Kitchen range which my little one loves and isn’t fully of refined sugar and nasties. I also really love Loving Earth raw chocolate for a treat that is good for you. If you feel game to make your own chocolate it is super easy! You can find some great recipes on the Web.

5. Healthy treats: It can be a hard sell for many to swap the sugar for better alternatives at Easter. Luckily, our student practitioners are full of good recipes and ideas to make the transition an easy one. Our nutritional medicine student practitioners have created a range of healthy, nutritious Easter recipes and brunch ideas that will impress both big and small! Below you’ll find a few of my favourites.


Easter recipes

Hot Cross Buns
By Maggie, Frances and Anna
Nutritional Medicine Student Practitioners, Brisbane 2015

Ingredients:

Buns:
1/2 cup almond meal
1 cup coconut flour
6 eggs (preferably organic and free range)
250g coconut oil/ghee/grass fed butter melted
2 granny smith apples, peeled and grated
2 teaspoons nutmeg
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup organic raisins
1/4 cup cacao nibs (optional)

Crosses:
Water
1 teaspoon cacao

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180°c
  • Mix almond meal, coconut flour and spices into a bowl
  • Add melted coconut oil (or ghee/butter) with beaten eggs
  • Add apple, cacao nibs and raisins and mix into a dough
  • Once mixture is combined, roll into even balls (makes roughly 12)
  • Place into lined muffin tine
  • Place cacao into a bowl, gradually add drops of water until paste forms (use small whisk or fork)
  • Place into piping bag and draw a cross on top of each bun
  • Place buns into the oven for 30 minutes

Hot Cross Bun Truffles
By Alana, Karin and Tahlia
Nutritional Medicine Student Practitioners, Brisbane 2015

Ingredients:

Buns:
3 cups almonds or almond meal
Juice and zest of 1 orange
4 tablespoons organic maple syrup
1 teaspoon mixed spice

Topping:
125g dark chocolate
1 teaspoon bee pollen or orange rind

Method:

  • Mix ingredients (except topping) in bowl
  • Knead with hands until you form a dough that can be squeezed together to form a ball
  • Roll into balls and flatten slightly by patting between two palms
  • Place ball on plate and use the side of a chopstick to press a cross into each ball
  • Decorate by melting dark chocolate (melt with a double boiler: place chocolate in stainless steel bowl over gently simmering pan of water)
  • Drop one ball in at a time and just let the chocolate coast in the base of the ball only
  • Remove from a chocolate with tongs
  • Place on plate covered in baking paper
  • Once the base of the balls are done, take a chopstick and dip into chocolate and drag gently along the grooves of the cross
  • Sprinkle with bee pollen or thin slithers of the orange rind
  • Keep refrigerated in an air tight container

Almond Chocolate Truffles
By Karin, Alana and Tahlia
Nutritional Medicine Student Practitioners, Brisbane 2015

Ingredients:

Truffle:
2 cups almond meal
4 tablespoons organic maple syrup
1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste

Topping:
250g good quality dark chocolate

Method:

  • Combine truffle ingredients and knead with you hands until it forms a firm dough
  • Pinch off portion of mixture and roll into balls
  • Place in fridge for 15 minutes to set
  • Melt dark chocolate (melt with a double boiler: place chocolate in stainless steel bowl over gently simmering pan of water)
  • Dip one ball in at a time using a spoon, toss gently to coat
  • Remove ball and place on plate covered in baking paper
  • Place in fridge to set, keep in airtight container

Tahini Balls
By Carolyne and Wilma
Nutritional Medicine Student Practitioners, Brisbane 2015

Ingredients:

1/2 cup hulled tahini
10 seeded dates
1 tablespoon honey (optional)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
3 tablespoon cranberries
1/4 cup walnuts
Dessicated coconut for rolling

Method:

  • Mix all ingredients together in food processor
  • Portion out mixture and roll into balls
  • Roll balls in dessicated coconut
  • Store in an airtight container OR wrap in coloured cellophane and bow, give to someone you love

Chocolate Protein Balls
By Wilma and Caroline
Nutritional Medicine Student Practitioners, Brisbane 2015

Ingredients:

300g roasted unsalted almonds
16 pitted fresh dates
60g chocolate or vanilla protein powder
2 tablespoon cacao or coco powder
2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Desiccated coconut for rolling

Method:

  • Place almonds into food processor with cinnamon, protein powder and cacao. Process until the mix looks crumbly.
  • Add dates, vanilla and process again until the mix starts to come together. Add a splash of water if you need to so that the mixture is soft and can form a soft ball
  • Roll out 14 balls from the dough
  • Roll in coconut and store in the fridge for up to 4 weeks

Cacao Fudge
By Rachel
Traditional Chinese Medicine Student Practitioner, Adelaide 2015

Ingredients:

1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut
2 cups of pitted dates
1/2 cup cacao powder
1 tsp vanilla extract (this can be exchanged for peppermint)
1/4 cup crushed mixed nuts (seeds or dried fruit for nut allergies)

Method:

  • Blend all Ingredients in a food processor or Thermomix until smooth and creamy
  • Transfer the mixture to a dish lined with plastic wrap, for easy removal
  • Place the dish in the freezer, and allow the fudge to set for at least an hour before slicing and serving. Thanks to the coconut oil, this raw fudge will melt quickly if left to sit in a warm room, so it’s best served directly from the freezer.
  • Store the leftovers in a sealed container in the freezer

Chocolate and Date Bliss Balls
By Rachelle
Naturopathy Student Practitioner, Adelaide 2015

Ingredients:

200g Medjool dates
50g walnuts
50g cashews
1/4 cup or 10-15g shredded coconut (small amount of extra for finish)
2 tablespoon coconut butter (or coconut oil)
1 tablespoon chia seeds

Method:

  • Blend all ingredients in a food processor or Thermomix until completely chopped and smooth
  • Roll into small balls and cover with extra coconut, refrigerate for about 30 min to an hour until firm
  • Store the leftovers in a sealed container in the freezer
 
This article provides general information and is not intended to constitute advice. All care is taken to ensure information is accurate and relevant. Please see your Practitioner for health treatments and advice.

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