It’s that time of year again – the chocolate abounds, and the temptation to indulge is possibly even bigger than usual because we are isolated at home during the Covid-19 outbreak, and missing our friends and family.
Some would probably even argue that chocolate is an essential item right now, and worth a special trip to the shops!
I’m not entirely convinced, but I do know it can be really good for you in small quantities - especially the really dark, high cocoa content variety.
It’s very nutritious, for example - a 100 gram bar with 70–85% cocoa contains 11 grams of fibre, 67% of the RDI for iron, and plenty of magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium too. (Plus about 600 calories, so you might not want to eat an entire bar a day!)
Dark chocolate can also improve blood flow and lower blood pressure, help reduce risk of heart disease, protect your skin from sunburn and even improve your brain function – lots of positive reasons to treat yourself!
If you’re worried about eating too much of the good stuff, here are 8 quick tips:
Enjoy it – it’s the chocolate season after all! If you’re lucky enough to get a chocolate egg, own it and don’t beat yourself up for eating one!
Go for quality, not quantity. Ditch the milk chocolate and head on over to the dark side. Remember all the positive things about chocolate with over 75% cocoa solids.
Portion control is key – try to savour every bite instead of getting carried away.
Work for it with a fun Easter egg hunt! Flip the traditional challenge on its head by getting the kids to hide the chocolate and making it really hard to find! If it’s hot and sunny you could even let them spray you with the hose pipe if you’re proving too good at finding the goodies…
It's not all about the chocolate. Embrace family time without distractions from remote working and school tasks. Go for a walk somewhere quiet, or arrange a virtual Sunday lunch with distant friends and family.
Have healthy alternatives to hand, like fresh fruit.
Get some exercise. Back to point 4, create an Easter hunt circuit with sprints, squats or shuttle runs in order to earn your egg. Get everyone in the family involved and have a laugh!
If you have a long-term healthy eating goal, keep it in mind but don’t stress. I use a 80/20 rule for balancing out healthy foods with treats. If you eat more than usual this Easter, that’s OK. Tomorrow is another day - you can get right back on the bus and continue eating healthily. It is the overall 80% of how you feed your body that has the biggest impact, not the 20% splurge.
So have a fabulous Easter – really looking forward to seeing you again soon on my screen as usual, for the duration and beyond!