As yummy-scrummy Easter treats of all shapes and sizes hit the shops and fill our tummies, the kilojoule counter no doubt shoots up and then goes off the Richter scale. Yes, our plan to diet over Easter has already well and truly headed South!
We’ve had Hot Cross Buns with real butter (!) and all possible variety of chocolate. So you can imagine that we all looked a little sheepish when we received this advice from leading dietitian, Susie Burrell, who says that because a typical chocolate Easter egg contains around 9-10g, it’s very easy to exceed the recommended daily sugar intake.
“During seasonal periods like Easter it’s quite common to experience sugar rushes, headaches and mood swings as a result of indulging in more than we should, Susie says.
“This is because the daily recommended sugar intake for an adult is 30g and is only slightly less for children, coming in at 24g, so you only need to eat more than three Easter eggs for your body to become overloaded with sugar.
“While enjoying the spoils from an Easter egg hunt spoils all at once might be tempting, your body will be left feeling the side effects long after the celebrations have ended.”
It’s All About Balance
Susie recommends celebrating with chocolate alternatives or controlling portions instead.
“While it may not be the preferred chocolate flavour among children, dark chocolate is healthier than its milk and white chocolate counterparts as it contains less sugar.”
You CAN Still Eat Your Eggs…Just Not 100!
Dietician, Karen Inge adds that just because you’re losing weight and plan to stick to your diet over Easter doesn’t mean you have to forsake the foods you love when it comes to Easter. “You can eat Easter eggs, just not 50! she says (and we breathe a sigh of relief).
“Be warned however; to burn off the kilojoules in one 200g milk chocolate Easter egg, you may have to jog for 3 hours to prevent it from adding to your waist line!”
Karen shared that from her years of experience, she has collected the following:
TOP TIPS FOR SURVIVING EASTER
1. Choose smaller Easter Eggs
2. Understand Easter foods should be celebrated on one day – it’s not a month long celebration
3. Swap chocolate hot cross buns for regular hot cross buns
4. Easter is over, give away all your left over eggs.
You could even suggest your friends give you alternative gifts other than chocolate to help you stay on track with your weight loss goals,” said Karen.
“It’s important to balance your treats with healthy food. You can have your cake and eat it too – just a different kind of cake and one that is portion controlled!”
“Try and gear your social activities around being more active and having fun. For example, an Easter egg hunt with the family or getting out in the park for a picnic will help burn off those extra treats consumed on Easter Sunday.”
To recap (and remind those of us who are choosing to read this sage advice in denial), here’s an Easter Survival Guide:
1. Size does matter: Buy small individually wrapped eggs instead of the biggest egg you can find! A 100g milk chocolate egg contains about 500 calories (2100 kJ), which can be up to a third of your daily intake if you are trying to lose weight. Unwrapping each egg will help you to eat less in one sitting.
2. Quality over quantity: Have a small piece of good quality chocolate instead of a large amount of basic chocolate. Choose dark chocolate over milk chocolate as it has a higher percentage of cocoa (70-85%), which will leave you satisfied with smaller portions. Plus, cocoa contains antioxidants which have been shown in research to have a positive impact on heart disease.
3. Easter is one day – celebrate THAT day only: Easter eggs and hot cross buns are for sale months in advance. Avoid turning Easter into a month long binge festival.
4. Only buy what you need: Don’t eat with your eyes.We often tend to buy more eggs and bunnies and end up with too many in the pantry at home. Write a list of people you need to buy eggs for and stick to it. Don’t include your own name on this list!
5. Give alternative gifts: Easter doesn’t have to be all about chocolate. Alternative gifts could include fresh fruits, nuts and painted eggs. Non-edible gifts such as books, toys and flowers are great gift ideas.
The long Easter weekend is such a wonderful family time. So while you should keep these tips in mind…way back in your mind…it’s more important to focus on smiles and happiness and having fun! Happy Easter!
What are your top tips to control your diet over Easter and not go crazy over chocolate eggs? Tell us in the comments below.