photo credit: Jema Smith
By Omotolani Shokeye
In the old days, hot cross buns, roasted lamb and boiled eggs made up traditional Easter fare. Fast forward decades and decades, and this tradition has been replaced with an eggs-traordinarily unhealthy alternative: chocolate eggs.
The first chocolate Easter eggs did not surface until the 19th century, in Germany and France. Nowadays, many people don’t know about the history of Easter foods, and children now think that this Christian holiday is all about one thing: chocolate.
Even the big companies are seemingly forgetting that Easter was originally about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Prime Minster Theresa May recently criticised the National Trust for excluding the word “Easter” in ads for its annual egg hunt, saying the decision was “absolutely ridiculous”.
Let’s face it: chocolates are practically unavoidable during Easter celebrations, as chocolate manufacturers and supermarkets inundate consumers with advertisements of luscious, gooey chocolate eggs. But while everyone likes to have a chocolate treat – especially children – do most parents know the effect of the chocolates on their little ones?
And do they care?
Chocolate is safe for most people in moderate amounts, too much of a good thing can lead to health risks. Chocolates contain caffeine as well as sugar and dairy, which could lead to obesity.
“In 2014/15, more than 1 in 5 children in Reception, and one in three children in Year 6 were measured as obese or overweight. Children in most deprived areas are twice as likely to be obese than children in least deprived areas,” according to the NHS obesity catalogue http://content.digital.nhs.uk/catalogue/PUB20562
Many supermarkets start to sell Easter chocolate months before the actual holiday. While some parents might blame the stores for enticing the children to want treats, others say it’s all up to Mum and Dad.
Mother of four Tracy Stapleton said: “Parents should be responsible and watch what their children eat, keep them healthy and avoid obesity, parents should not use Easter as an excuse to feed children tones of calories. We should of course give treats but also know when it is overdone.”
The modern Easter chocolate innovation has evolved, and are now made to look like children’s favourite movie characters. This will only encourage the children to indulge more chocolates, chocolate critics fear.
For something a bit more healthy – which your children are sure to love (not) – here are four examples of healthy treats for you and your family to try this Easter.
• Get creative with the family by creating an Easter bunny made out of vegetables. It’s a great way to get the kids involved in cooking – even if they refuse to eat it.
• Replace chocolate eggs with traditional boiled eggs and soldiers.
• Fruity chocolate fondue: Melt the chocolates and spread them over a bowl of mixed fruit.
• Replace chocolate bars with fruity yogurt-coated bars.
“My kids usually get chocolate eggs,” says Sophie Bines, mum of three, who works as a communications associate on Holloway Road. “If I gave my four-year-old son a vegetable bunny on Easter, he’d throw it across the room.”