Unless you’ve got unbreakable will power and aren’t all that fussed about chocolate, Easter can be a disaster for the waistline. With chocolate everywhere, it’s hard not to undo all the good work you’ve done at the gym.
So how much damage can you really do in one weekend? Australia’s leading Accredited Practising Dietitian Karen Inge from the Jenny Craig Medical Advisory Board shares her top tips on how to avoid completely blowing out this Easter.
“A 200g milk chocolate egg contains about 1000 calories (2100 kJ), which can take up to 3 hours of jogging to burn off,” Inge says. She suggests buying small individually wrapped eggs. They take longer to unwrap which can trigger the brain to acknowledge that you’re eating another egg.
Inge says 95 per cent of pleasure from food comes from the first mouthful, so remember to eat slowly and really savour that delicious chocolate egg.
Quality over quantity
Choose a small piece of good quality chocolate instead of a large amount of cheaper chocolate. Inge suggests dark over milk or white chocolate as it contains less sugar and has a higher percentage of cocoa, which will leave you satisfied with smaller portions.
“If you like eggs that are filled with caramel or praline remember that they are higher in sugar so perhaps go for hollow eggs or smaller sized solid eggs,” she explains.
Don’t buy with your eyes
To ensure you only buy what you need, Inge suggests making a list of who you need to buy eggs for and make sure your own name isn’t on the list.
Also, don’t go to the store on an empty stomach – you’ll end up succumbing to the towering displays of chocolate chicks and marshmallow bunnies.
Hot cross buns without the handles
Hot cross buns are lower in fat than chocolate but can be very high in sugar. “What’s happened this year is [there are] a greater variety of hot cross buns such as those with raspberry and white chocolate or dark chocolate” says Inge.
She suggests choosing the original variety, with or without fruit. “Forget about chocolate hot cross buns, get your chocolate from an egg and avoid lashings of butter. Hot cross buns are low in fat, it’s the fat we put on them that’s the problem.”
Related: Will you need a post-Easter detox?
Think outside the egg
Easter doesn’t have to be all about chocolate. If you’re trying to be healthy, ask family and friends to give you alternative gifts, like fresh or dried fruit and nuts. But it doesn’t even have to be something edible. “Hand painted hard boiled eggs are a beautiful healthy gift,” says Inge. Books and flowers are great ideas too.
You could also do a good deed and convince your friends and family to donate their eggs to a local charity or children’s hospital thereby sharing the love and the calories!
Instead of staying inside and over-indulging on chocolate, get outside and kick start your exercise program with long walks or a cycle. Catch up with family and friends at a beach or park rather than indoors where you’re more likely to indulge.
According to Inge, it’s simply a case of kilojoules in versus kilojoules out. If you exceed the number of kilojoules you require in a day (which is pretty easy to do with chocolate) it can play havoc with your waist line. An Easter egg hunt is the perfect way to help burn off those extra treats consumed.