Should I give my child chocolate at Easter?

P2B resident dietitians from @https://www.facebook.com/wayoflifenutn have written the following blog for all of my parents this Easter weekend answering the question I have been asked by many this week:

Should I give my child chocolate at Easter?

What a great question! As a Mum and Dietitian, I find this question is a great conversation starter to the topic of “everyday” vs “sometimes” foods.

“Everyday” foods are the nutritious foods we should be enjoying daily; the 5 food groups. This includes:# vegetables and legumes/beans# fruit# grain (cereal) foods mostly wholegrain and/or high fibre cereal varieties# lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts seeds and legumes/beans# milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives.

At any age, it is recommended we eat a certain amount of each food group daily to meet our nutritional requirements for good health (go to www.eatforhealth.gov.au for further information).“Sometimes” foods are less nutritious choices, often high in sugar, salt and/or fat. These include chips, chocolates, lollies, high fat takeaway foods, sugary drinks etc.

When we replace foods from the five food groups with too many “sometimes” foods, or eat the five food groups in inadequate amounts, we are at risk of not meeting our nutritional requirements.

There are many names for “everyday” and “sometimes” foods, however I find these the most positive terms. I would always encourage not using terms like “healthy” vs “not healthy”, or “good” vs “bad”, as these do not embrace the fact that it is completely OK to occasionally have “sometimes” foods. It may also create negative associations with food and eating.

So, should I give my child chocolate at Easter? The answer is that if you want to, of course you can!

But perhaps consider these things first:

1. How old are they? If they have only started their solids journey, this probably is not needed.

2. Choose an appropriately sized chocolate to save room for “everyday” food choices later in theday.

3. I would encourage just the Easter Bunny brings the Easter eggs for your child. Friends and family may want to give something, but perhaps instead you could encourage they choose from the wonderful selection of Easter arts and crafts or plush toys in the stores at this time of year.

4. Encourage your children to savour and enjoy chocolate. It is so delicious!

Written by Janita Averay APD Paediatric Dietitian and Director of Way of Life Nutritionwww.wayoflifenutrition.com.au