Easter at the table, menus and tactics to avoid weighing on the scales

Easter at the table, menus and tactics to avoid weighing on the scales


OfSilvia Turin

For those with weight problems, meals during the holidays can be a difficult time. How to avoid anxiety and “damage”

Easter and Easter Monday are opportunities to spend time with family, in company, perhaps go on some trips and certainly enjoy traditional dishes at the table. For those who must control your weight or lose weightpublic holidays represent a “challenge”, sometimes experienced with the discouragement of giving up, other times with guilt feelings (always wrong) that follow days of culinary excess.

The Easter period is very similar, in terms of caloric load, to the Christmas one: Good Friday was previously a fasting day, now it is the one in which fish is eaten, at Easter (and subsequently) free to meat, lasagne, colomba and the rest. We have slipped towards heavier dishes from the point of view of fats and of animal proteins and the excesses last three days. Yet some traditional recipes (Easter cake, eggs with asparagus) would be a little lighter than those of other holidays.

Is there a right middle ground to face the Easter days without too many consequences on weight (and too many regrets)?
«Start with the vegetables (also a dip) ensures that the glycemic load (see below, ed) overall of the meal is lower – observes Enzo Spisni, author of the book “We are all intolerant” (ed. Sonzogno), Director of the laboratory of Translational Physiology and Nutrition at the University of Bologna, where he is Associate Professor -. This means that the calories that end up in the adipose tissue will be fewer, for the same foods. The other advice we can give is to do one walk (don’t worry) immediately after eating: this also greatly reduces the absorption of calories, because they accumulate in the adipose tissue especially when the glycemia is high. Walking is a way to lower it.”

* The glycemic index measures the speed with which a food increases blood sugar after eating it concentration of sugars in the blood (called glycaemia) compared to that caused by the intake of a reference food (usually white bread or glucose). High glycemic index foods cause a surge in blood sugar levels called «glycemic peak». All sharp swings in blood sugar are bad, especially to those suffering from diabetes, but generally also to those who are healthy. The glycemic index of foods is also a valid parameter in a weight loss diet: keeping it low serves to regulate the production of insulin, a hormone that is used to metabolise sugars and which can promote the tendency to gain weight. The glycemic index may change depending on the cooking methods used. In particular, the “glycemic load” of the entire meal also depends on the associations between foods. The rule is to place fibers and other macronutrients alongside high glycemic index carbohydrates, in particular good fats (extra virgin olive oil, avocado, oilseeds, dried nuts): a plate of wholemeal al dente pasta with vegetables and fish has a much lower glycemic load than plain pasta with oil, perhaps overcooked.

In those days the tendency is to eat more eggs than usual, is this a problem?
«Certainly not because of the weight or even because of the cholesterol – states the specialist -: eggs have a low caloric quantity and cholesterolemia (there amount of cholesterol present in the blood, ed) changes over a long time. The value does not only depend on nutrition (there is also a genetic variable) and from a dietary point of view it matters how I have eaten in the last month. For example, during the Easter period, breakfast with an egg is preferable to breakfast with a dove.”

Colomba is like panettone, a very “substantial” dessert, but are chocolate eggs better?
«It is preferable that they are of dark chocolate, otherwise they are almost just sugar, then they will certainly be better. It is possible to choose the dark-hazelnut variant which may be more caloric “on paper”, but the hazelnuts they contain a series of positive micronutrients that help lower the glycemic index and take away “space” for sugar.”

Is it possible for those on a diet to enjoy the holidays without anxiety and guilt?
«It’s certainly not those three days that make the difference, it’s the other 300-odd days that change the sign on the scale. The strategy is to sip the pleasures and “recover” the following week. Let’s go for a walk a day, increase the vegetables in each meal, the fiber in the morning (so whole grains) and eat a little less. 3 or 4 days will be enough to compensate for unbalanced meals”, concludes the expert.

March 30, 2024



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