Easter is just around the corner and so is chocolate.
Let’s accept that Easter will mean indulgence on one level or another. As a chocolate lover myself, I will certainly not tell you that you should not eat any at all at this time of the year. However, the issue arises when there is too much chocolate in one go, often leading to bingeing. You give in to temptation and you feel miserable because you have over done it. You feel guilty and beat yourself up for failing as you let go of your best intentions for your health or weight loss goals. Let me help you fix that.
Chocolate can be good for you
The good news is that the right kind of chocolate can actually be good for you. The healthiest form of chocolate is dark chocolate (70% cocoa content or higher) with some of the following benefits:
- rich in antioxidants and minerals
- good for heart health (lowers blood pressure and blood clots)
- better brain function (reduces the risk of dementia and stroke) and makes you happy (alleviates feelings of anxiety and depression)
If you want to avoid the Easter chocolate binge and make the most of it, here is how:
1. Control how much chocolate enters your house by trying to discourage family and friends from buying chocolate for you.
2. Choose high quality darker chocolate eggs (70% cocoa). This leaves less room for sugar meaning that your blood sugar will not be thrown out of balance, especially if you want to avoid energy crashes, cravings and weight gain. My favourite brands are Lindt, Green & Black’s, Ombar and Montezuma’s.
3. Portion control is key. You probably do not need to eat all the chocolates at once to satisfy your sweet tooth. Similarly, avoid eating too much chocolate in one go with the intention of getting ‘rid’ of the chocolate sooner. It is healthier for your body and mind to have a small amount of chocolate more regularly.
4. Eat your Easter eggs straight after a protein and veg-based meal rather than between meals or on an empty stomach. Protein and fibre will slow down the speed at which sugar enters the bloodstream, preventing blood sugar and insulin spikes. If you have chocolate between meals, try eating a small handful of nuts at the same time to cancel out the sugar rush.
5. Make sure your decision to eat chocolate is a conscious one. “Some chocolate would be nice, but I choose not to have one right now". Do not take orders from an Easter egg! Choosing puts you back in control. The responsibility is yours. You are the one who puts food in your mouth.
Even the healthiest people overindulge but they do not beat themselves up about it. They just go back to eating normally. And so can you!
Christelle Page is a registered nutritionist specialising in healthy weight loss, and a certified health coach working on mindset and eating habits. Visit https://keepcalmnutrition.co.uk/ for more info on all her services.