Cream eggs, novelty eggs and chocolate bunnies – it’s hard to avoid confectionery at Easter time.
The question is, whether to indulge and try to work off the calories or abstain and miss out on all those delicious goodies.
As ever, it’s all about moderation – and making some informed choices.
Choose the lowest calorie eggs
The trick is to pick smaller eggs that are fun and offer a chocolate treat without adding inches to the waistline. Many chocolate eggs are less than 200 calories.
For instance, a Galaxy Bubbles chocolate egg is 155 calories while a Cadbury Cream Egg is 180 calories. A Maltesers MaltEaster Bunny is 156 calories, and a Lindt Gold Bunny Paw is 110 calories.
But beware, some small treats are more calorific than others. A bag of mini eggs may seem harmless enough but contains 15 calories per egg, which works out at 445 calories a bag. A small 50g Lindt Chocolate Bunny is 275 calories.
However, calories start to stack up dramatically with full-size Easter eggs. A Cadbury’s Dairy Milk egg is 1758 calories, a Mars egg is 1623 calories, a Flake or Wispa egg is 1562, and an Oreo egg comes in at 1528 calories.
Exercise helps to burn calories
After indulging in chocolate treats, is it possible to burn off those calories with additional exercise?
While determining how many calories are burnt during exercise is not an exact science, a calorie counter gives these estimate. 1 Based on a full-size Easter egg, an average person would need to run for three hours or do two hours of swimming to lose those extra calories. Whereas, a Cadbury’s Cream Egg is only going to require 19 minutes of skipping, 10 to 15 minutes of burpees or 50 minutes of walking.
Somewhere in between the two, an average-sized Easter egg of around 600 to 800 calories would mean jogging for at least one hour or taking a high-impact aerobics class.
Experience the health benefits of chocolate
Surely a chocolate treat or two doesn’t do any harm. Many claims are made regarding the health benefits of chocolate. Unfortunately, not all of these are true. However, a few have been backed up by scientific research.
A study by Canadian scientists discovered that 44,489 people who ate one serving of chocolate per week were 22% less likely to have a stroke than people who ate no chocolate. A second study found 1,169 people who ate 50 grams of chocolate once a week were 46% less likely to die following a stroke than people who didn’t eat chocolate.2 It’s thought that because chocolate is rich in antioxidants called flavonoids, it may offer a protective effect against strokes.
Some observational studies have also shown a reduction in heart disease risk in those who eat the most chocolate,3 but this is far from conclusive and more research is needed.
Enjoy guilt-free dark chocolate
When it comes to antioxidants, cocoa and dark chocolate have been found to contain more than most other foods. One study showed that cocoa and dark chocolate had more antioxidant activity, polyphenols and flavanols than fruits that were tested, including blueberries and acai berries.4
Quality dark chocolate with 70% or higher cocoa content is rich in iron, magnesium, copper, manganese and other minerals. Generally, the darker the chocolate, the less sugar it will contain.
Therefore, even on a healthy eating plan, a couple of squares of dark chocolate is not going to do too much damage to the waistline.
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