Can you imagine Easter as a Jamaican without bun and cheese? Some may answer yes because of personal preference or medical condition, but for most of us, the answer is no. Bun is an excellent source of carbohydrates to supply the body with energy. The basic Easter bun recipe requires wheat flour, brown sugar, molasses, baking powder or yeast and dried fruits.
Some special diets restrict persons from eating bun or cheese or both bun and cheese at any time. For example, persons with chronic kidney disease, whether receiving dialysis or not, are not supposed to eat the raisins, mixed peel, maraschino cherries because of their high potassium content. Therefore, the traditional bun should be avoided even if the dried fruits are picked out after baking.
Persons with diabetes and those 'watching their weight' or trying to lose weight may choose not to eat bun because of the high sugar content. The key to controlling diabetes and weight loss is portion control. One slice of bun has the same amount of sugar/energy as one slice of bread and half of a serving of fruit. Therefore, a slice of bun can be swapped for four ounces of yam or potato or half-cup rice or one finger of green banana and two ounces of fresh fruit.
Persons with wheat allergy should eat bun made with flour from other starches such as potato, yam or breadfruit (this requires lots of testing of recipes as a binding agent will be needed to hold the bun together).
Nutrition in cheese
Cheese is a milk product with different textures, flavours and forms. Cheese is a tasty, versatile, flavourful and convenient food that is high in protein, saturated fat, cholesterol, calcium and phosphorus. Cheese is available in low fat and vegetarian varieties. Examples of low-fat cheese include mozzarella (soft, white cheese made from low-fat milk) and feta (made from sheep or goat's milk), low-fat Cheddar or Swiss. Mozzarella cheese is also low in sodium.
One ounce of cheese is made from about seven ounces of milk and provides seven grams of protein, 200mg calcium and the fat content varies based on the type of milk used and its fat content.
So, for the Easter, choose wisely. Here are some tips:
Cut thinner slices of bun to reduce sugar intake.
Cut thinner slices of cheese to reduce fat and sodium intake.
Choose low-fat, low-sodium cheese if you have high blood pressure or any illness that requires sodium or salt restrictions.
Reduce frequency of eating bun and cheese throughout the day.
For kidney disease patients, swap one serving of staple (one slice bread or three to six crackers) for a quarter of a round bun that has no dried fruits.
Have a healthy and holy Easter!
Marsha N. Woolery is a registered dietitian/nutritionist in private practice and adjunct lecturer at Northern Caribbean University; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.