Heart Foundation dietitian Maria Packard said now was the time to go easy on hot cross buns and chocolate as COVID-19 forces families to stay at home and restrict their daily physical activities.
“Why not start Easter morning with a heart healthy breakfast to fill you up and help cut down unhealthy snacking during the day. Eating well can help our support mind, body and soul, especially as people adapt their exercise routines to living in lockdown,” Ms Packard said.
“While the occasional chocolate treat is OK, opt for quality over quantity.
“Heart healthy eating is about the variety of foods consumed regularly over time – not just focussing on individual nutrients or foods. Regularly eating a good mix of healthy plant-based foods, with smaller amounts of animal proteins and cutting down unhealthy junk foods will help reduce your risks for heart disease.”
To kickstart your Easter break in lockdown, the Heart Foundation has six recipes that can be adapted to use pantry staples or other ingredients if some things are hard to find in the shops:
Start the day with our savoury Easter Brunch Tarts that use everyday fuss-free ingredients like wholemeal bread, eggs and colourful veggies. Serve it with a side salad to boost your veggie intake while adding heart healthy fats like olive oil and avocado to your diet.
Adapt this recipe by swapping wholemeal bread for multigrain bread. If you don’t have spinach or capsicum, swap them for veggies you have on hand– either fresh, frozen or canned – like tomato, corn or peas.
Ditch the high kilojoule hot cross buns for heart healthy fruity hot cross scones. This recipe creates the perfect scone texture from a mix of pumpkin, ricotta, buttermilk, currants with added spice mix for flavour. This recipe can be made ahead and will help use up the extra flour you may have stocked in your pantry. It freezes well into individual scones and is a great recipe to get kids helping and learning skills in the kitchen!
Adapt this recipe by swapping mixed spices for ground cinnamon or nutmeg that you may already have stocked in the pantry. Or use alternative dried fruit options like apricots and sultanas.
Rich in healthy fats, fish is the perfect heart healthy food to showcase on your Easter menu. This dish will even win over the reluctant fish lover in the family. Better than any takeaway, it’s packed with flavour from its coriander, lime and curry base, and has two serves of healthy veggies.
Adapt this recipe by using any type of firm white fish that is available or drained tinned salmon. Swap fresh coriander for dried coriander or herbs.
Try our heart healthy version of the classic fish fingers. Our panko crumb is mixed with quinoa and sesame seeds to add crunch and texture, plus lots of healthy wholegrains and fats. Served with a delicious yoghurt and lemon tartare sauce, this will be a family finger lickin’ fish dish. Just remember to wash your hands after eating for good hygiene.
Adapt this recipe by swapping white fish fillets for salmon or an alternative protein like chicken breast. Swap sweet potato for mixed roast vegetables – either fresh or frozen – whatever you have at hand. Panko breadcrumbs can be replaced with regular breadcrumbs or make your own from day-old bread.
Who doesn’t love mash! Raise it to a new level with these heart healthy Mediterranean flavours. This recipe provides three and a half serves of vegetables per serve and healthy fat sources from fish, pine nuts and olive oil.
Adapt this recipe by swapping firm white fish for salmon (fresh or frozen) or another firm protein like tofu. Swap cauliflower for mixed frozen vegetables from your freezer. Swap pine nuts for unsalted nuts like almonds, almond flakes or seed mix if you have it.
Once Easter is over, treat yourself to a patriotic breakfast featuring wholegrains like oats or wholemeal flour with a mixed fruit and nut topping.
Adapt this recipe by swapping fresh fruit and berries for bananas, drained tinned peaches or any type of seasonal fruit. Pick tinned fruit in natural juice rather than syrup. Coconut essence can be swapped for vanilla essence if preferred.
“Now more than ever it’s a time to enjoy simple heart healthy foods to help celebrate the Easter break and spend time with loved ones,” Ms Packard said.
The Heart Foundation wishes all Australians a happy, hearty and healthy break.