When I think of an Easter meal, many of the dishes that come to mind are easily converted to a Paleo-esque format without too much difficulty. If you’re used to starting your meal with a plate of cheese and crackers, why not replace that with a fresh, spring vegetable cruditÃ©s plate drizzled with lemon and freshly chopped herbs? Thinking glazed, baked ham? How about lean pork chops instead? And rather than asparagus smothered in thick, creamy Hollandaise, how about roasting it with garlic and oil?
The following is a menu that I’ve used when hosting an Easter dinner. All dishes are simple to make and, of course, 100% Paleo!
- CruditÃ©s plate with baby carrots, blanched broccoli florets, grape tomatoes and bell peppers (omit the previous two if you’re following an autoimmune Paleo diet) and cauliflower florets. Drizzle with lemon juice and chopped herbs of your choice.
- Fresh, mixed green salad (be creative) – use dark, mixed lettuce leaves, raw walnuts, fresh berries, sliced carrots – whatever you feel like! Remember to think color.
- Grilled, lean pork chops marinated for a day or two leading up to serving. Play around with this: use a meat tenderizer to pound the raw chops into a tenderer cut. Create a marinade out of olive oil, lemon or lime, and perhaps some fresh cilantro or parsley, garlic and shallots… just have fun with it!
- Asparagus grilled under the broiler, drizzled with extra virgin cold pressed olive oil.
- Steamed baby carrots (instead of the traditional “glazed-with-butter” version).
- A plethora of colorful, fresh, spring fruits – go with whatever is available in your area and use that as your theme! Try berries, apples and pears, citrus… and have fun!
- One of my favorites is to toss sliced apples first in lemon juice (to prevent oxidation) and then sprinkle with cinnamon for a delightfully sweet treat. Finish with your favorite herbal tea.
For the kids:
- Keep the focus of the Easter egg hunt on items other than sweets and treats. Perhaps you can create an obstacle course with (non-candy) prizes for all the kids who complete it, rather than having them focus on who finds the most candy!
- If eggs are part of your family’s diet, here’s a great opportunity to make eating hard-boiled eggs fun for the little ones. Spend the afternoon coloring the eggs with a food-based egg coloring kit (so they’re safe to handle and eat) found at your local health food store.
Nell Stephenson, the original “Paleoista,” is the author of Paleoista, Gain Energy, Get Lean and Feel Fabulous with the Diet You Were Born to Eat (Touchstone, 2012) and co-author ofThe Paleo Diet Cookbook with Dr. Loren Cordain, PhD (Wiley & Sons, 2010). In addition to her work as nutrition consultant and trained chef, Stephenson is a personal trainer and competitive endurance athlete who credits the Paleo diet for her transformed health and athletic success. Visit her blog at www.paleoista.com.
New to the paleo diet? Take the guesswork out of everyday eating with a customized nutritional plan from Nell Stephenson””now available at Vitacost.com! Choose from more than a dozen specialized menus tailored to fit your unique lifestyle and nutritional needs.