Is it just me, or do the diet police seem to have been out and about this year shaming us about celebrating Easter with the giving and consuming of chocolate eggs? This is what I have heard and seen over the last week:
- several stories on radio and on commercial TV news reports displaying eggs with piles of sugar next to each one to show how much of the sweet stuff each egg contains
- the head of the Australian Dental Association declaring chocolate eggs contribute to tooth decay and that we should consider giving our children presents – games, toys – instead of eggs
- dietician Karen Inge advising we should eat only dark chocolate eggs, rather than milk, as they contain less sugar and are healthier for us
Here’s what I think – and of course, you don’t have to agree! It is the food that we serve at special times in the year that feeds our traditions, that builds our identity; be it deep fried foods at Hannukah, sweets at Eid, long noodles at Chinese New Year, plum pudding at Christmas – or chocolate eggs at Easter. It may not always be food that is healthy for us, but it is has significance and meaning.
Kids get excited about Easter because the Easter Bunny comes, eggs are hunted for and chocolate is allowed to be consumed at breakfast time (that’s how we roll!). Yes, Easter is the story of the crucifixion and resurrection but I think it is the chocolatey fertility symbols of pagan celebrations which have become woven into the Easter celebrations, that form our children’s Easter memories. And, in a society where we attend church less than we did generations ago, it provides a window for us, as parents, to speak of the Easter story with our children. Today, Easter Sunday, chocolate eggs will be consumed in our house, as they have every other year. There will be leftovers that will be nibbled on over the coming week – and then they will be gone, for Easter is celebrated but once a year.
Do chocolate eggs have lots of sugar? Yes. Oodles. Could sugary eggs contribute to tooth decay? Of course, but we brush our teeth twice a day so that should keep it at bay. Could I give my kids presents instead? I guess so but isn’t that what makes Christmas special? And how do presents relate to resurrection or new life? Is dark chocolate better for us? Yes, but it doesn’t appeal to everyone’s palates, especially kids. Is sugar a contributor to our weight and health problems? From what I have read across numerous publications, yes. So let’s continue to educate ourselves and our children that this is a special time of the year when we can enjoy chocolatey sweetness; that we can talk about, and create memories of, the deliciousness that comes at this time of year. It is how we eat on the ordinary days that will affect our health, not how we eat on this one special day of the year.
What do you think? Should we crack (haha, see what I did there?) down on the eggs? Or are we allowed to be Augustus Gloop for one day?