The eggstra mile for you

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NINETY million Easter eggs will be sold in the next few days.

And while that means a lot of happy faces for the recipients, it also means a lot of people eating food with a lot of calories.

There are always new Easter chocolate products on offer, 45 per cent more in 2012 than the year before, and with so much to choose from it’s easy to overindulge.

Chocolate is a concentrated source of fat, saturated fat, sugar and calories. A typical egg contains around 1,000 calories which is more than half a child’s calorie intake for the day.

A spokesman for the national heart charity Heart Research UK said: “All this could spell trouble for our waistlines and cholesterol levels, but there are ways to have an Easter “eggstravagance” without forgetting a heart-healthy lifestyle.”

l Check the labels for how much extra sugar and fat is hidden and choose dark chocolate with 80 per cent cocoa solids wherever you can. It is high in antioxidants that can help protect your arteries.

l Give smaller Easter eggs to children and encourage them to have an egg each day of the holidays rather than gulping them all down in one go.

l Rather than exchanging eggs, surprise people with an Easter basket of berries and tropical fruit. Or why not give them a garden or house plant, outdoor toys like a cricket or croquet set, skipping ropes or hula hoops.

l Another alternative is to spend the Easter egg money on a family day out to the seaside, local ice rink, zoo or theme park.

l Save up some of the eggs to melt and then dip in pieces of apple, pear, pineapple, strawberry and blueberry – an Easter way to help with your 5-a-day.

l Real eggs are a great source of protein, heart-healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. Hard boil, decorate and hide them well in all parts of the garden so there’s plenty of running around to find them.

l Also using real eggs, you could mash them with low-fat mayonnaise, cress and slices of cucumber on whole grain bread for some tasty picnic sandwiches and go for an “eggs-hilarating” day out walking over the Easter weekend.

The spokesman added: “Why not curb the over-indulging this Easter, by spending fewer pounds and not piling any on? With a little forward planning you can enjoy a great Easter break – helping hearts by not overloading on chocolate.”

For more information and advice about healthy living, contact Heart Research UK by emailing lifestyle@heartresearch.org.uk