Easter Creep: Hop away from Easter candy, until it’s actually Easter

Melissa Dunne
Daily Brew
He may look cute, but if you're eating this bunny in February, it's probably too early. (Getty Images)

“Please, please, pleeeese, can I have a Creme Egg!!!!”

When your child starts screaming for Easter candy at the store, resist the temptation to give in.

“Parents have to be assertive and have to say no,” Dr. Tom Warshawski, a pediatrician and chair of the Childhood Obesity Foundation in Vancouver told Yahoo Canada News in an interview.

Of course, it’s often the big kids (a.k.a. adults) who findit hard to resist. Making things trickier for Canadians of all ages is the fact that Easter candy has been on the shelf for weeks, and in some cases months. Just like there has been seasonal creep in other seasons, with Pumpkin Spice Lattes to celebrate fall going on sale in August, there has been Easter Creep.

In recent years stores tear down their Valentine’s Day candy displays Feb. 15, only to immediately replace all those chocolate hearts with chocolate eggs and bunnies. Last year, Easter Sunday was on Apr. 20, and this year it’s Apr. 5. By the time the holiday actually rolls around this year, Canadians will have been bombarded with Easter candy ads and displays for close to two months. Cadbury’s Creme Egg season officially starts on New Year’s Day, more than three months before Easter Sunday. 

“It’s relentless, they’ve created candy to suit every holiday,” said Andrea Miller, a consulting dietitian based in Whitby, Ont. and spokesperson for Dieticians of Canada. “It’s all blurred together.”

And it works. More than half of adult consumers (51 per cent) are influenced by holiday displays to purchase seasonal candy, according to a survey by the National Confectioners’ Association in the U.S. released just before Easter last year.

Miller recommends hopping away from the candy aisle until you are actually shopping for the Easter long weekend. Also, don’t get drawn into buying bigger quantities of items than you planned just because they are on sale or seem like “more of a bargain,” she adds.

Andrea D'Ambrosio, a registered dietitian based in Waterloo, Ont. and also spokesperson for Dieticians of Canada advises not going to the grocery store hungry. And if you want to feel festive in the lead-up to the holiday perhaps buy some daffodils or tulips rather than a giant bag of Mini Eggs.

Most of us would do well to act like real bunny rabbits – jumping around and eating more vegetables. The Canadian Medical Association Journal projected that by 2019 about 21 per cent of Canadian adults will be obese. And a whopping 31.5 per cent of our children, aged five to 17 years olds were classified as overweight or obese, according to a 2012 Statistics Canada report.

Before buying any Easter treats for yourself or your children, read the nutrition labels. One of those chocolate eggs, with white-and-yellow fondant in the middle, has 150 calories and 21 grams of sugars. And one suggested serving of Mini Eggs (defined as a mere 17 eggs) has 210 calories and 27 grams of sugars.

Dr. Warshawski, who has two teenagers, says his family “have at it” for a day or two during the Easter long weekend, then go to back to their normal routine.

The obesity expert notes: There’s nothing wrong with having a Creme Egg (or other treat) during special holidays throughout the year as long you eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly “the other 360 days.”

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