Niki Bezzant is editor-at-large of Healthy Food Guide.

Niki Bezzant: Don't try to make Easter healthy

Food is about enjoyment as well as sustenance. Photo / Getty Images
Food is about enjoyment as well as sustenance. Photo / Getty Images

On Easter Sunday, by now, you've probably indulged in some chocolatey treats.

Supermarket chain Countdown estimates customers will consume the equivalent of 23,200 chilly bins full of chocolate eggs this Easter season.

Across the ditch, Australia Post says Aussies spend more than $72 each buying sweet treats online.

This surprised me. I probably spend a tenth of that in total, and nothing online.

But not having a particularly sweet tooth, I might be an outlier.

In any case, it seems we all love our Easter treats.

The marshmallow egg - not a feature of Australian Easter egg indulgence, as it happens - is our favourite.

Here's hoping we don't lose this special Kiwi treat when Cadbury closes its doors here.

I've seen a few predictable articles in the past couple of weeks along the lines of: "Which Easter eggs are the healthiest?" and "The healthiest way to enjoy Easter".

There are also alternative "healthy" treat recipes popping up. Raw "indulgent" pseudo-chocolate treats made from cacao and dates and coconut oil.

I sigh quietly to myself when I see these. I'm really not a fan of these story angles.

Here's why.

Let's just admit Easter eggs are not health food, and we are kidding ourselves if we try to make them so.

The same goes for raw, organic and vegan treats. They are usually just as calorific as their regular counterparts and often more expensive.

If you prefer them, enjoy, but don't do so believing they're healthier than any other sweet treat.

That said, how about we don't try and make Easter healthy?

How about we just enjoy our delicious Easter treats, recognising that they are treats, and eat them accordingly?

Comparing one Easter treat to another to determine which is less bad is not particularly helpful and tends to suck the fun out of Easter, don't you think?

Comparing one Easter treat to another to determine which is less bad is not particularly helpful and tends to suck the fun out of Easter, don't you think?

Food is - as I feel I'm always saying - about pleasure and enjoyment, too. If we're going to have chocolate, we owe it to ourselves to take pleasure in it.

Savouring our treats is part of eating mindfully, which ultimately helps us to have a better, healthier relationship with food, and also, perhaps counterintuitively, to eat less.

If you're someone who feels guilty about eating "indulgent" foods this may be hard to get your head around, but bear with me.

Think about the last time you ate something guiltily and ask yourself: did I enjoy it? Or did I rush through it and eat it while berating myself internally, thereby losing the pleasure?

Many people struggle with the latter pattern of thinking.

But if we can reverse it, we're going to get double benefits. We'll enjoy our food more and overeat less.

So here's how I think we should enjoy Easter healthily.

1. Eat a wide variety of good, wholesome food, as per every day.

2. Remember Easter is not every day.

3. Enjoy and savour every delicious bite of your Easter chocolate.

healthyfood.co.nz

- Herald on Sunday

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Niki Bezzant is editor-at-large of Healthy Food Guide.

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