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Easter chocolate – and what to do about it

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Belle told me I was “on thin ice” this morning. She thinks it's hilarious to pretend she's the mom and I've done something bad. She also does that thing where she walks past, pauses, looks at me and then indicates she is watching. I'm usually in the middle of the washing up or something non-incriminating, but last time she did it as I was pouring myself a glass of wine. She also said “easy now!!”, which is what I tell her when it comes to maple syrup. Hahaha. I almost died laughing. Kids are funny.

They're not funny when they're on a sugar high though. Especially Belle. She would be the first to admit she “goes a little crazy”, which is hard because she loves sugar.

So we have figured out a few rules to make things easier for her. First, we just don't really have it at home, so there's not too much temptation. Second, if she is given something as a gift, she can either have it (and spread it out over a few days) or give it up to the Switch Witch, and last, if she is headed to a party or some other fun event where there will be lots of sugary stuff, we talk about it in advance and suggest she picks two small things.

That way, she is included and has choice, but she doesn't go too far overboard. Above all, just not having it at home makes things so much easier!

It's about to get a little harder though as a walk through Phoenix this morning reminded me that Easter is well and truly on its way. It's wall-to-wall chocolate eggs and the Peeps are about to hit the shelves too.

Before long there will be Creme Eggs and Mini Eggs at every checkout, tripping up everyone with good intentions in Bermuda. The only saving grace of the Mini Egg is that they are at least naturally coloured. That makes them a way better choice than Peeps.

I know some of you will take that as a green light to eat as many Mini Eggs as you like. THAT IS NOT WHAT I'M SAYING! AND YES, I'M SHOUTING AT YOU! Hahaha. I mean OK, enjoy one or two, but take it easy people!

I do have a few great healthy Easter recipes to help you out, so I will include some here next week and post some on social media too. In the meantime, here are my top tips for making Easter a little healthier this year. It's all about balance!

Top tips for a healthier Easter

• Give toys or books instead of chocolate

Is it mean not to give your children chocolate at Easter? Not necessarily, especially if they've already brought plenty home from well-meaning classmates, friends and family.

I do give my children a chocolate bunny, but we try and dilute the madness with a few small toys. You can try stuffing plastic Easter eggs with small toys and stickers as well as a few chocolates, and do a hunt. Let's face it, your children having less means that you will have less too. How often do you swipe something from “the kid's cupboard”?!

• Choose cleaner options

Have you ever read the label on the Peeps box? It's basically sugar, gelatin, sugar, artificial colours and more sugar. We're not talking small doses of colours either — those are some fluorescent chicks on the shelves and they make my skin crawl. We wouldn't ever think it was OK to feed them to an animal, and yet somehow we don't bat an eyelid when we give them to our children. What's up with that?

So check your ingredient labels — there are lots of better options out there that don't have all the chemical dyes. Look for natural food colours (in most British brands for example) and try to avoid heavy doses of high fructose corn syrup. This makes simple chocolate (in moderation) your likely best option.

• Allergy-friendly options

If you have a dairy allergy or intolerance it can make chocolate hard to navigate. Don't just eat it anyway and put up with the consequences; you'll set off unpleasant symptoms and a cycle of inflammation that can undermine gut health integrity. Supermart is usually your best bet for dairy-free alternatives, including the Moo-Free brand and some of the Green & Blacks options.

They always have something new, so keep an eye on the shelves!

• Build activity into your traditions

If Easter is a time of excess for you, then build some activity into your traditions. A treasure hunt in the Botanical Gardens, a long walk on the beach, even a lively game of mini-golf.

Simply getting up and moving is a good start. People usually massively overestimate how much they are burning off though, so you will need a really, really long walk if you go for brunch!

The advice given in this article is not intended to replace medical advice, but to complement it. Always consult your GP if you have any health concerns. Catherine Burns is a fully qualified nutritional therapist trained by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in the UK. Please note that she is not a registered dietitian. For details: natural.bm, 236-7511 or, Facebook, Natural Nutrition Bermuda

Tempting time: there is always a lot of chocolate around at Easter, but it is a better option than sweets full of artificial colourings
If you must give your children a sugary treat at Easter, chocolate is better than candy
If you must give your children a sugary treat for Easter, choose chocolate over artificially-coloured candy

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Published February 23, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated February 23, 2018 at 8:37 am)

Easter chocolate – and what to do about it

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