Survival tips from a chocolate overload

The hot cross buns have been out for months, but this week they will be rolling out the doors of supermarkets and bakeries across the country, along with the chocolate that is sold alongside them. It’s an easy time to feel a little out of control with all of the coloured foil staring at us each time we get to the end of an aisle. Can you enjoy the Easter season without going into a chocolate induced coma? Here are some tips to keep you sorted.
Firstly, no chocolate for breakfast! (a downfall for many, especially kids). Even starting the day off with some fruit salad or fruit skewers (which are also very fun to make!), pancakes with a thin layer of spread, eggs and bacon with some toast, or your usual favourite can curb the want to eat all the chocolate in front of you. We are hungry in the morning, and good fuel in our belly will help make good decisions later.
Quality over quantity – this can definitely help when purchasing chocolate. It is sometimes hard not to see value for money, but there is nothing worse than having Easter chocolate in your pantry several months after Easter. Pick an option that looks nice, and often the branded packs are a nice little option in terms of quantity. People often appreciate getting less chocolate.
Style of chocolate. Milk and dark chocolate contain similar amounts of kilojoules per 100g, but the amount of each of these you eat can make the difference. It is much easier to eat five small solid eggs than it is to eat five hollow larger eggs, so using a little trick on your mind like this can help. Two small solid eggs is the equivalent of having 1 large hollow egg, and the smaller eggs are often much easier to eat, so make conscious choices.
Portion it up as soon as you can. This is good for everyone rather than ending up with a chocolate hangover on Easter Sunday afternoon. It you are given large amounts of chocolate, have some small containers or ziplock bags handy and break them up and portion them as soon as possible. Place these away and only keep one portion handy for the day. This is a great way to have chocolate handy to share with family and friends too, and will help to prevent overeating.
Have a good lunch. This may be seafood and salad, a roast with lots of vegetables, or something as simple as a barbeque. By having a balanced meal that includes some vegetables, a small piece of protein, and grain foods, you will find yourself feeling full for a while and not looking for chocolate just because it is there. Don’t guts yourself though! Have a plateful, wait and see how you feel before going back for more. And always go back for veggies first (it will tell you if you are really hungry).
Don’t go crazy on the butter. A hot cross bun and butter are a match made in heaven, but this doesn’t mean the bun needs to drown in butter. Sharing a bun is always a good idea.
Take some time to exercise. This might include a wander to the park for the kids to run off their energy, or a leisurely walk by the beach or through the bush in the morning or at sunset to enjoy the beautiful scenery available to you. Not only will this invigorate you, it will help your digestion after a meal and can be a good start to a regular exercise routine. You are doing this to make yourself feel good, not as a punishment for having some chocolate.
Easter is a once a year occasion, so enjoy it while it is here, and don’t beat yourself up over it. Get back to your normal routine as soon as possible, and continue to make conscious decisions about your intake. If you are looking for more guidance, come and see one of our Accredited Practising Dietitians.