Are a truck load of Easter eggs really a gauge of how loved your child is? Do they need ten eggs on Easter Sunday or will the parents end up eating them when the kids go to bed?!
Easter is coming and the shops are full of chocolate eggs; eggs of all shapes and sizes, colourful with Disney characters and ribbons and pretty boxes - and if that doesn’t entice you then maybe the 3 for €5 signs will grab your attention.
Grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends are all stocked up ready to shower your precious little ones with watered down chocolate and enough calories and sugar to survive on for weeks alone.
In my extended family I am known as a ‘Chocolate Nazi’, not because I hate chocolate or ban it, or refuse it, but because I restrict it.
I find it strange that I need to explain to loved ones that my adorable, bouncing 18 -month-old does not need ten Easter eggs. Under twos are not actually supposed to have ANY added sugar in their diet. While that may seem impossible, and even unrealistic in day to day life, the advice does not change on Easter Sunday. The number of eggs he receives does not equal how loved he is.
Both of my children will get one Easter egg each as per a legal contract between me and the Easter bunny, I’d hate for them to feel they missed out on a cultural sugar craze and since the rabbit is passing he may as well throw two in. They will also get Easter boxes from the elusive bunny with a few creative toys, such as blocks, stickers, books and maybe a teddy/doll/ball as compo for chocolate.
The four-year-old will more than likely consume her high energy egg before breakfast, while the 18-month-old will get some of his before I distract him with some toast. And then normal life will resume - you know the one that is already filled with hidden spoons of sugar in 'healthy' things such as yogurts, granola bars, fruit juice and cheese!
For the past five years I have kindly requested relatives and loved ones to refrain from buying Easter eggs for my kids, they don’t need them and to be honest will not really appreciate them.
Instead, a stockpile of enticing boxes filled with tonnes of sugar will cause arguments in the house as they spend days screaming for their Easter eggs before breakfast, lunch and dinner … and I refuse. So to be awkward, I ask loved ones who really want to buy something to give the children clothes, toys or books for Easter. The first few Easters were not easy, as I tried to convince people that my baby girl would not hate them or think they had been forgotten without an egg, but I stood strong and have now reluctantly acknowledged my ‘Chocolate Nazi’ title.
A survey last year found two in five children will get between three and five eggs at Easter; 23% of children will get between six and ten eggs, while 12% will take the proud delivery of a staggering 10 to 15 eggs.
Even a single chocolate bunny (100g) has about 550 calories and it contains up to 55 grams of sugar equal to 14 teaspoons of sugar. The recommended amount of sugar for a child aged 2-18 years is 6 teaspoons a day. And do I need to repeat that under twos are not supposed to have ANY added sugar?
Childhood obesity and early tooth decay is a real problem in Ireland and a massive strain on our health system. Don’t even mention the effect of sugar overload on the behaviour of young children. So are all those Easter eggs really a gauge of how loved your child is?
Don't think for a second that our house is full of healthy and sugar free foods. I love sugar and so do the kids, it is not banned, but moderated - just like my weekly alcohol intake!