No sooner has the temptation of Christmas and Valentine chocolates gone, than along comes Easter, a time when an extraordinary 90 million chocolate eggs are sold in the UK each year.
There are always new Easter chocolate products on offer, 45% more in 2012 than the year before, and with so much to choose from it’s easy to overindulge.
Chocolate is a concentrated source of fat, saturated fat, sugar and calories – a typical egg contains around 1,000 calories, over half a child’s calorie intake for the day.
All this could spell trouble for our waistlines and cholesterol levels, but there are ways to have an Easter-“eggstravagance” without forgetting a heart-healthy lifestyle.
“Egg-stra” care: check the labels for how much extra sugar and fat is hidden and choose dark chocolate with 80% cocoa solids wherever you can as it’s high in antioxidants that can help protect your arteries.
Mini eggs: give smaller Easter eggs to children and encourage them to have an egg each day of the holidays rather than gulping them all down in one go.
Alternatives: rather than exchanging eggs, surprise people with an Easter basket of berries and tropical fruit, a garden or house plant, outdoor toys like a cricket or croquet set, skipping ropes or hula hoops. Why not spend the Easter egg money on a family day out to the seaside, local ice rink, zoo or theme park instead?
Healthier coating: save up some of the eggs to melt and then dip in pieces of apple, pear, pineapple, strawberry and blueberry – an Easter way to help with your 5-a-day.
Real eggs: real eggs are a great source of protein, heart-healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. Hard boil, decorate and hide them well in all parts of the garden so there’s plenty of running around to find them. Mash with low-fat mayonnaise, cress and slices of cucumber on whole grain bread for some tasty picnic sandwiches and go for an “eggs-hilarating” day out walking over the Easter weekend.
Why not curb the over-indulging this Easter, by spending fewer pounds and not piling any on? There’s no “eggs-cuse”, with a little forward planning you can enjoy a great Easter break – helping hearts by not overloading on chocolate.
For more information and advice about healthy living, contact Heart Research UK via email email@example.com