If you’re counting the number of sleeps until the Easter Bunny arrives here are a few sobering thoughts that may have you rethinking your Easter egg game plan and limit the amount of chocolate you buy this Easter.
Australia is one of the highest consumers of chocolate at Easter and many adults over indulge and suffer the consequences, without even being aware that the humble Easter choc fest, is the cause.
If you feel are feeling a little down in the dumps, develop a migraine, diarrhoea or heartburn…think chocolate!
Ok…so what about the affects on the kids!
Many parents think caffeine levels in chocolate might be a problem, but actually milk chocolate contains the lowest amount of caffeine at only 1 mg/7 grams, compared with darker varieties at 28 mg/7 grams.
Children under six would need to consume 315 grams of milk chocolate to reach the recommended daily allowance.
According to experts in chocolate research, caffeine levels in milk chocolate are too low to be problematic.
But, if your child is particularly sensitive to foods, they may have a lower caffeine threshold, so look out of some tell tale signs.
Kids that become jittery, you may notice trembling hands, increased heart rate, you can feel their heart pounding when you cuddle them, anxiety and insomnia…taking longer than usual to fall asleep, are symptoms of too much caffeine.
As a word of caution…other drinks and foods, particularly at times of celebration may include cola’s, energy drinks and any other foods that contain chocolate as an ingredient…all contributing to potential caffeine overload.
Think of that late night short black or latte that kept you awake for hours, and left you feeling restless and unable to unwind…that is exactly how your kids might be feeling.
Chocolate also relaxes parts of the gut enabling stomach contents to travel back up into the oesophagus, or food pipe, just the same as reflux, in small babies.
In quantity, this amounts to vomiting, and is not pleasant for child or parent, especially if it occurs in the car or bed!
Have you ever cleaned up chocolate vomit?
Ok, so what about sugar? We all know too much sugar in our diet is a bad thing. It causes weight gain, dental disease and affects the health of vital organs such as the liver and heart, and a myriad of other serious conditions.
In terms of your children over indulging over the Easter break, the most noticeable side affects they will exhibit will be tiredness, thirst, maybe fluid retention and decreased urination, and some parents say hyperactivity…although some research disputes this.
4 Tips to a fun filled luscious and healthier Easter:
- Think healthy…add fruit! Make a berry delicious chocolate dip…Gather a selection of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries even banana and mandarin segments. Begin by melting a variety of dark, milk and white chocolate, in a microwave or double boiler. Stir frequently and be careful not to let it burn! When melted, individually dip fruit into the melted chocolate and arrange on baking/non stick paper. Try coconut, ground almonds, or sprinkles for additional WOW factor. When chilled, serve on a platter for the grownups, or in pretty baskets for the kids.
- Limit the size. For young kids, it’s all about the numbers. Watch them count their stash…the more the merrier! BUT think small! Scatter tiny eggs around the house or garden for an Easter egg treasure hunt. The kids’ will be delighted and think they have scored a massive amount of chocolate, but the small portions allow you much more control…you can be the ‘keeper and stash protector’, and hand out at intervals…At any rate it stops gorging and tummy ache!
- In addition to the eggs collected from the treasure hunt, give each child one, and only one, special egg. All in all it will be enough to satisfy their chocolate needs… and won’t break the bank for you. If you are really lucky, the grand folks might even supply the ‘special’ one!
- Suggest to friends and family to give an alternate gift rather than chocolate. A book, a small toy (bunnies are popular) or even clothing are all more productive choices than chocolate and last much longer, too!
Enjoyment without physical or financial over-indulgence, it can be done. Happy Easter!