As Easter rolls around, so does the chocolate. Dietitian Suzanna Greenwood shares her top five tips for surviving this indulgent season...
#1 Enjoy Easter at Easter
Although hot cross buns and cream-filled eggs have been adorning supermarket shelves since January, there's no need to start filling your Easter baskets yet! Wait until Easter actually arrives. That way, temptation isn't calling from the pantry for weeks... and you'll still get to enjoy your favourite treat at Easter.
#2 Time Your Treats
Chocolate for breakfast? Hot cross buns for lunch? Oh, but it's Easter! When sweet treats are everywhere you look, you may be tempted to tuck in at all times of day. A simple way to curb this tendency is to save such goodies only for dessert. As well as providing some simple boundaries for snacking during the day, this strategy will help you look forward to - and enjoy - your evening treat all that much more!
#3 Quality over Quantity
We often hear about dark chocolate's health benefits - it is higher in protective antioxidants and lower in added fat and sugar than white or milk chocolate. But the best reason to choose top-quality chocolate is that it's much easier to eat in moderation. Just a few small squares of rich, slightly bitter dark chocolate will satisfy that cocoa-craving, and as a sweet bonus, you'll start to retrain your taste buds to enjoy fewer sugar-rich foods too.
#4 Savour, Don't Scoff
Many of us think of chocolate as naughty or even sinful. We tend to wolf down these "bad" foods without paying attention to their flavour or noticing how much we're actually devouring. Ironically, this only deprives us of the pleasure and enjoyment we were seeking in the first place! Instead, try to eat these treats mindfully - by removing distractions, focusing fully on the food, eating slowly, and appreciating its aroma, texture and flavour. You'll be surprised at just how good it tastes - and by how little you actually need to feel satisfied!
#5 This Easter, Try Something New
If your family has always bought traditional chocolate-based treats for Easter, consider starting a new trend by opting for gifts of a different kind. Non-food gifts such as a bunch of flowers, a visit to the beauty salon or even a movie voucher are still a thoughtful gesture, and they mean you won't have Easter treats temping you from the pantry for months to come.
And remember - Easter isn't all about scoffing down chocolate. Take the focus off food and instead look forward to spending time with loved ones. Think about ways to get active outdoors and enjoy the longest long weekend before Christmas!