Food is entwined with our traditions and celebrations and it’s certainly lovely to share yummy food with our friends and family. But with obesity in kids and adults on the rise, Easter can become a choc-fest that fuels unhealthy eating habits.
Listen in as I chat about this on the BBC Radio Essex breakfast show with Ben and Jodie.
I’m not a nutritionist but as a parent myself I’m definitely conscious of the amount of sugar that my two kids eat. They LOVE chocolate! And as a life coach I know how easy it is for us adults to get off track with healthy eating goals when temptation hits too.
THE STRUGGLE IS REAL
I’m a strong believer that knowledge is power, so I actually did a bit of research and found that an XL Cadbury’s Creme Egg Easter Egg has over 2,600 kcals which is more than a whole day’s worth of food plus 11 x more sugar than the NHS recommends a child should have – the equivalent of over 50 lumps of sugar, which is a scary thought!
KID’S RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD
Clearly, we want our kids’ relationship with food, and chocolate, to be a positive one – we all know how difficult it can be to change the psychology of how we eat when we’re older… so I definitely don’t want to demonise chocolate for my kids, but more lead into a conversation about having a healthy balanced diet and where chocolate sits within that.
Now clearly, for younger children, like my son who’s 6, he’s going to struggle to make those healthy choices, and actually, even for us adults, we usually overestimate the amount of WILLPOWER we have to resist temptation once those yummy treats are in the house!
LIMIT CHOCOLATE IN THE HOUSE
So a tip here is to limit how much chocolate is in the house to start off with – after all, we can’t be tempted if it’s not there. So buying smaller eggs for example that aren’t loaded with extra sweets inside them and buying them just before the Easter weekend too.
But even if we control how much chocolate WE buy for our kids, it’s often friends and family members who give Easter Eggs as gifts, right? So now is a great time to have a conversation with them and ask for their help in reducing the amount of sugar our kids are eating, and suggesting that they buy an alternative gift instead like a book, a small toy or a craft set that they can do together.
GET EVERYONE MOVING
Getting everyone moving over Easter can be helpful too, perhaps a family walk after lunch or adding in some fun exercise with an Easter Egg hunt against the clock, in the house or garden. You can reduce the chocolate here too by switching hidden chocolate eggs for hard boiled or cardboard eggs and having just one chocolate egg as a prize at the end of the race (which of course, everyone wins!)
If we do end up with leftover chocolate after Easter I tend to use it up in one go by melting it down and using it as a thin topping for healthy flapjacks or mixing it with cereal for quick and easy crispy cakes that we can share with friends. You could also use it as a dip for fruit kebabs to boost your 5 a day.
WE ADULTS STRUGGLE TOO
This time of year can be hard for us adults too, right? Many of us commit to new healthy habits in January and then just a few months later Easter comes along, and if we overindulge on chocolate or other sweet treats it can feel like we’ve undone all our good work. The next step is we quit our goals altogether! This is called the COMMIT/QUIT cycle where we commit to a habit like healthy eating, stumble a bit along the way and quit, until we feel guilty for quitting and commit all over again. Here are 4 ways to break that cycle:
1.) Remember WHY you committed to building your new habit in the first place. When I’m working with my coaching clients we create a fun visual representation of their goals with a vision board of images and words that can act as a daily boost and reminder.
2.) Prepare and have strategies in place for when it gets hard to stick to your goal! Have some healthy low or sugar-free snacks on hand like salty popcorn or cut up vegetables that you can grab when that chocolate craving hits. Or if you don’t want to feel left out when everyone else is tucking in, buy some very dark chocolate which has a much lower sugar level and is harder to overindulge on.
3.) Research shows that being accountable to someone else makes it more likely that you’ll stick to your goals. So get an accountability buddy, perhaps a friend, colleague or family member who you know is trying not to overdo it on the chocolate this Easter too, and help each other stay on track.
4.) Remember that if you do overindulge, it’s just a bump along the road and not a reason to quit altogether. Stop yourself feeling overwhelmed by getting back on track by setting yourself really small, easily achievable goals for the next week so that you can build up your confidence and momentum again.
At the end of the day depriving yourself of things you love is the quickest way to make you crave them even more so try not to eat it when you’re absolutely starving (it will make it even harder to limit how much you eat) and instead savour the chocolate you DO eat this Easter.
Happy Easter everyone!
Are your New Year resolutions slipping through your fingers? If you’re ambitious but stuck in self-doubt or overwhelm, let’s talk. Book a free 45-min confidence and clarity call with me here.