Rivalled only by Valentines Day, Easter is the best excuse to eat more chocolate with the sound of that bunny hopping down the path with a big basket of choccie eggs music to the ears of chocolate lovers everywhere.
It's also a little scary for the calorie conscious, diet watchers amongst us (me included) as it's so easy to indulge in this treat.
However it's not all bad news - chocolate has wonderful beneficial properties from a nutrition standpoint says Sally-Anne Livock, APD, director of Sunshine Coast Dietetics.
“Powerful antioxidants can be found in chocolate – specifically, polyphenols. These abundant and essential nutrients can help reduce our ‘bad’ cholesterol, known as LDL, whilst increasing the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol,” she says.
Eating dark chocolate has also been shown to significantly reduce blood pressure. And don’t forget the psychological effects: “Eating chocolate releases calm, soothing, feel-good hormones,” Sally-Anne points out.
However, while she loves a chocolate bunny as much as anyone, Sally-Anne – whose dietary doctrine is all about moderation – encourages self-control.
“Keep this in mind next time you peel back the foil on an Easter treat: it takes about 35 minutes of running or an hour of swimming to burn off a single chocolate egg. Plus, chocolate contains significant quantities of unhealthy fats.”
Chocolate can be addictive, too, especially after a period of sustained intake, like Easter. It contains stimulants – caffeine and bromine – which provide the “lift” experienced by eaters.
“The ’lift’ from chocolate is similar to other addictive chemicals. Because of this, chocolate craving is not just an excuse – it’s a real occurrence,” says Sally-Anne.
Sally-Anne shares tips for those seeking to ensure their Easter is egg-cellent – while practising moderation:
• Purchase only small quantities of chocolate - enough to last only a day or two - because typically the more you have on hand, the more you eat.
• Buy the best quality you can. A small amount of high-quality chocolate will satisfy you sooner than a large quantity made with inferior ingredients. Schedule a visit to Monty's or Mayfield Chocolates.
• Eat chocolate at room temperature: it’s the best way to get that velvety mouth feel, says Sally-Anne!
• Consider giving a small, high-quality chocolate treat for Easter alongside a second, non-chocolate gift. This helps keep Easter from becoming just another “eating excuse” – and helps stave off a chocolate addiction.
Learn more at www.sunshinecoastdietetics.com.au
Disclaimer: This is not a paid post - simply sharing good eating tips to balance my food obsession.