Home » Easter and the chocolate hunt – how to find the happy balance

Easter and the chocolate hunt – how to find the happy balance

Guy Hazlewood    February 22, 2024    5 min read   

This year, Easter falls at the end of March, so it is right around the corner.

For many people, Easter means an extra-long weekend, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying tasty foods. For most of us, this includes lots of chocolate for adults and children alike.

Image: jamieanne on Flickr.

There are scientific reasons why chocolate tastes good and why we crave it. The complicated process of chocolate production involves fermentation, drying, roasting, and grinding cocoa beans. The chemical reactions that occur in each process create the chocolate flavours and aromas that our brains love. Chocolate also contains a very specific combination of sugar and fat that creates a delicious mouthfeel. This means that the delicate combination of sweetness, richness, creaminess, and texture is highly pleasing and satisfying to eat – and sometimes irresistible! It’s no wonder chocolate intake increases over Easter time.

Many people find it difficult to find a happy balance with chocolate, especially when trying to pursue a healthy lifestyle. Here are some tips to support Springfield residents this Easter:

· Chocolate doesn’t need to be a ‘guilty pleasure’. Flip the attitude; instead of guilt, savour it and feel enjoyment. There’s science to back up this approach; a study from 2014 in the United States showed that women who associated eating chocolate cake with celebration had more successful weight maintenance than those who associated eating it with guilt.

· Look for other ways to eat well over Easter. This season is ripe with the opportunity to incorporate vegetables and fruit into meals. If you are entertaining, consider how you can use vegetables as the main base for dishes, such as soups, casseroles, curries, and vegetable platters. You can also support your community by buying locally where possible, like a farmer’s market, a greengrocer, or your local butcher.

· Incorporate physical activity into your long weekend. With the added leisure time over Easter, you could incorporate more outdoor activities. For example, go for a walk in Robelle Domain, go for a bush walk, play a game of sport in the park or even backyard cricket with your family.

· It’s just one day (or weekend). Most people consume chocolate over Easter, and there’s no reason to beat yourself up about it. Remember that good health and wellbeing is all about balance over the long-term, including a focus on your mental, social and environmental health. If you are worried about consuming too much chocolate, try reminding yourself that Easter is just one weekend, include some fresh food and physical activity in your holiday, and prioritise your mental health by being social with your loved ones.

So, sit back, enjoy the happy moments of opening Easter eggs (or hunting for them). Let the chocolate work its magic in your mouth, feel happy (not guilty) and have a great Easter.

– Laure Baumgartner

The University of Queensland Centre for Community Health and Wellbeing at Springfield

The year ahead

Since establishing our research office in the Springfield Tower in 2023, we have met with over 100 community members and listened to their priorities on health and wellbeing.

We have heard a strong desire for support in pursuing physical health through healthy eating and physical activity.

We have also heard about potential projects to support mental health, financial wellbeing, social connection, and better support to prevent and respond to domestic violence.

In 2024, we would like to start work in many of these areas, and this cannot occur without a strong connection to the Springfield community.

To further strengthen the connection we have with the Springfield community, we want to start holding events and engagement opportunities that are relevant and useful, such as public talks and seminars, skill workshops, focus groups, and individual meetings. We want these activities to be highly accessible for all community members to attend, including being held in well-known local places with refreshments and amenities.

Next steps

We want to work together to start planning these events and activities.

If you would like to contribute to our planning in events and engagement, we would love to hear from you.

We want to partner with local businesses, health services, hospitality venues, community centres, schools, and other groups who share our vision for happy, healthy communities.

Partnerships could involve sponsoring an event, hosting an event, presenting, catering, facilitating community engagement and much more.

Ultimately, by working together, we will support Springfield families to live well through community-driven, evidence-based programs that make a healthy lifestyle the enduring standard.

Get in touch:

Email: lauren.ball@uq.edu.au

Phone: 0413 031 470

For more information, please visit cchw.habs.uq.edu.au.

– Professor Lauren Ball

The University of Queensland Centre for Community Health and Wellbeing at Springfield

Professor Lauren Ball and the UQ Centre for Community Health and Wellbeing team.

We are still conducting our Springfield Health and Wellbeing Check In survey. Please visit ​​loom.ly/9lzh85U or scan this QR code to take part.

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Guy Hazlewood