Easter is just around the corner and if, like me, you’ve been bombarded by the lavish display of chocolate eggs and bunnies at the supermarket, you probably have one thing on your mind – sweet, creamy chocolate.
In a timely coincidence, a new study sprouting the health benefits of chocolate hit the news last week. According to Aussie researchers, eating chocolate is linked to better brain function. Now this isn’t the first time we’ve seen a study promoting the benefits of chocolate, and it certainly won’t be the last, but before we go gung-ho, tucking into Easter eggs left, right and centre, let’s take a closer look at the research.
Most of the media headlines reporting this study fail to mention that these results found that people who eat chocolate just once a week performed better in memory and concentration tasks. That’s not once a day, or once after every meal. Just once a week. This occasional way of eating chocolate is something we dietitians like to call ‘moderation’ – after all, no food is off limits, it’s just eating it in sensible portions.
So, this Easter, enjoy chocolate but keep in mind that it’s an occasional treat. Jumbo bags of eggs and overindulgent Nutella-stuffed hot cross buns jam-packed into the pantry make it all too easy to find yourself grazing on the sweet stuff all day long.
Try these three easy tips to enjoy Easter, without the chocolate coma:
- Buy small, individually wrapped chocolates. It’s easier to portion and seeing the empty wrappers is a good way to hold yourself accountable. And keep treats for a single time of day, say after dinner, or at 3pm with a cup of tea rather than grazing all day.
- Treat yourself only when Easter actually arrives. Remember, Easter Sunday is one day, not a month-long festival.
- Go for quality. A few squares of quality dark chocolate may be just as satisfying as a giant bunny made of cheap compound chocolate (which is mostly sugar).