Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Don't get fat from a bunny bearing chocolate!

It's that time of year again. Can you smell it? The fresh scent of cocoa in the air. It's on all the stacks outs and ends of the aisles in all your favorite stores. CHOCOLATE!!!

I went down the main aisle of the grocery store with my boys and I had to PEEL their attention away from the huge display that ran up the middle of the store. Easter time is here again and a new level of holiday gift-giving has arrived. I'm sure you may have noticed it over the last year, but for EVERY "holiday" or occasion they have come out with all the goodies that you can stuff baskets full of and give as gifts. Excellent marketing idea for those who spent ages trying to get people on board giving gift baskets, but NOW it involves every possible thing being tossed in. Toys, books, cards, crayons, but most of all candy! Sugary treats with their packaging changed for the season (like costumes) and to entice the eyes (at all sight levels) of those who like to buy for the occasion.

At some point, I am thinking that when people think of giving to children, that their first instinct is not always going to be laden with sugar. That the "treat" they think they are giving is a "present" left by the Easter bunny as "it" secretly hopped around all night long leaving these gifts of colourfully foil-wrapped chocolate balls and other goodies for kids to gorge on. And of course, as we think these gifts of chocolate will ONLY be eaten by the kids, then we fool ourselves as we may all be familiar with the taste of the tail of the chocolate bunny and a nibble of the tip of its ear (the easy to snap parts) as our children share with us as they have been taught to do with their toys. Those little nibbles and bites add up to a lot of sugar and a lot of unwanted and unsupportive calories. They also leave you hungry, and craving for more with your thoughts all obscured and your children running around in hyperactive circles till they drop from fatigue and exhaustion. About 25 chocolate chips (not even a handful for me) is easily 100 calories or more. That means an average-sized, well-meaning, chocolate easter bunny's appendages can amount to over 500 calories (2 ears, 1 foot, 1 tail, and the paw....flat chocolate bunny), about 1/3 of required calories for an average woman (doing average exercise). That equals almost a full lunch and snack.....2 MEALS worth of calories.

So pray that your generous, gift-basket-bearing-tonnes-of-sugary-treats friends are heavy on the chocolate giving this year (especially if you have more than one child too). And if you like to stock up a basket for your kids at this time, opt for options like coloring books, fancy parkers, pens, and pencils, fruit, carrots, flowers, seeds to plant in the garden (carrot seeds), gardening tools...the options are endless. Or celebrate this time in a way that does not shove unnecessary, and unsupportive foods into their faces and establishing an expected tradition (habit) of celebrating with sugar, gifts, and treats. Focus on the WHY of what you are celbrating this time of year and share it with your friends and family. We can also celebrate by getting together with family, doing something fun and active together, and enjoying quality time. What better time in our economy to up the standard on quality, instead of showering with quantity.

Have a great weekend and enjoyable holiday!

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