Easter, for many, is a time to take a break from the usual routine and enjoy spending time with family and friends. It’s also a time when both children and adults indulge in chocolate and other treats.
With a typical chocolate egg containing around 1,000 calories, that’s over half a child’s calorie intake for the day, chocolate, if eaten in excess can lead to weight gain, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, all of which can increase the risk of heart disease. Consuming lots of sweet and sugary foods such as chocolate also leads us to having a ‘sweet tooth’ which makes us crave more of it.
Heart Research UK has come up with some great ideas for enjoying a healthier Easter-“eggstravagance” without forgetting a heart-healthy lifestyle, so instead of over-indulging in sweets and chocolate treat yourself and your family to some hearty Easter treats instead.
• Avoid buying lots of chocolate for your children by sticking to just one Easter egg and treating them to a new toy or a day out instead.
• Organise an Easter egg painting competition for the whole family by hard boiling eggs and painting with water colours, then let a neighbour judge the most attractive design.
• Limit your chocolate intake by filling up on three nutritious main meals first before bringing out the chocolate as a sweet after dinner treat.
• Use high fibre wheat or bran cereals to make chocolate Easter nests. Try topping with grapes or blueberries as a fruity and colourful alternative to chocolate eggs.
• Wrap up dried fruit or nuts such as Brazil nuts or walnuts in colourful, decorative paper, served in a wicker basket to give as an exciting alternative to chocolate.
• Melt some of the eggs to dip in pieces of apple, pear, pineapple, strawberry and blueberry to give an Easter boost to your 5-a-day.
• It’s not only children that enjoy chocolate, many adults do too. If you are partial to chocolate, opt for a dark chocolate made of 80% cocoa solids, which is full of heart healthy antioxidants that can help protect your arteries and your heart.