To Chocolate or Not to Chocolate

It doesn’t take much ‘googling’ to find hordes of articles and tips on how to control your child’s chocolate intake during special occasions such as birthdays, family get-togethers, Christmas etc.

I expect many parents and caregivers either have strong views on managing chocolate consumption with their children – or – go with the flow and pick up the pieces afterwards.

With Easter fast approaching the anticipation of just ‘how many eggs that big bunny is going to bring’ will be hyping up kids everywhere.

You only have to logon to any media screen or turn on the TV or take your kids to the latest Peter Rabbit movie, to be bombarded with the happy images of chocolate Easter eggs rolling down grassy meadows with the friendly rabbit guy dropping them off into back yards for the kids to find!

But does the over-indulgence typical at Easter time actually effect our kids in a negative way long term?
Or is it just a short term exhilaration that for some children tips them over the edge behaviourally around Easter?

Studies in the UK where 2 groups of children, one where chocolate was restricted and the 2nd where it was not – suggested that those who had less access to it became pre-occupied over time with the need to binge.
Yet the 2nd group showed less of this pre-occupation and seemed to get over it and back into routine quickly.

So if you’re looking to minimise the amount of chocolate devoured by your children in coming weeks, how do you do it keeping everyone happy?

With so much out of your control over this holiday period it’s good to decide what you can keep some control over.
Here’s a few tips:

  • Have a quiet word in advance with extended family ensuring they fit in to the overall quantity plan for Easter eggs.
    It’s no good if Grandma alone turns up with a ‘bag full’ just from her!
    You might need to get your partners help with this as a joint effort often helps the overzealous Granny/Aunt etc.
  • Head for the outdoors – keep the family as active as possible! There’s nothing like running around in the outdoors for a few hours to burn off sugar. This will also make them genuinely hungry for real food to balance some of the junk food overload.
  • Strike a balance – balance the rest of their diet with low sugar content (or low GI) foods to balance the high ones. So use brown rice or wholemeal bread instead of white bread etc.
  • Set some timings around when the family will have Easter treats.
    Often the kids love to be part of this decision and then will feel like they’re in control and will stick with the guidelines –maybe ‘every other day, or a couple of small ones each day’
  • Build their Easter memories with non-chocolate items or activities….read a special Easter story at bedtime, paint ‘real eggs’ with Easter themes, give non-food gifts – a beautiful soft bunny toy or a special egg cup each child can use ongoing.
  • Use plastic eggs (available from most craft stores) and fill them with small treats such as fluffy chicks, small toys etc. You can use some of these plus chocolate eggs to decrease the amount of chocolate eaten

Ultimately the Easter period is a wonderful time for family to enjoy quality time with each other and for the children this can provide many long lasting and enjoyable memories.
Whether it’s a chocolatey Easter or not so chocolatey – I’m sure you will find the balance that works for your family.

Have a safe and happy Easter from JourneyTree!


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