It's only fair to share…

frozen chocolate dessert

Recently I had the opportunity to give presentations interstate. It was great to see so many people taking an interest in their health.  One of the key issues I stress in talks about being healthy is doing mainly the right thing most of the time. This does not mean we should not enjoy life and does not mean we can’t have treats.

On the way home I picked up a dozen donuts from Krispy Kreme at the airport to bring home for the family. This is something that we have not had before.

It is fair to say that this is not the healthiest food on the planet. And there is no way that they would be a staple at home. However, and this is the point, as a treat it is not a problem. The Oxford dictionary defines treat as “an item that is out of the ordinary and gives great pleasure”

When we have something everyday it is not by definition a treat because it is not out of the ordinary. If we have something once a year, once a month or even once every couple of weeks it is a treat. And particularly with our eating patterns, it is what we do every day that matters – not what we do occasionally.

At Easter we treat ourselves with chocolate and hot cross buns. It happens once a year. On birthdays and Christmas we also treat ourselves (and others). And the notion of trick or treat is embedded in Halloween.

All these occasions should be fun and enjoyable.

But no, the wowsers have to get their say.

Every Easter some humorless public health official will warn of the dangers of eating chocolate.

Before Halloween we were warned; “Australians should be aware that profit –driven corporate manipulation of our cultural choices could damage our health” a Dr Nathan Grills was quoted as saying.

What a load of rubbish!

Eating lollies once a year will not damage your health. Nor will eating chocolate at Easter even if you overdo it a bit. These are once a year events and by definition, a treat. Add in Christmas and a few others and yes there may be a treat once a month

So what?

What the wowsers do not get is that life is to be enjoyed. The fun that children get from an easter egg hunt and the subsequent eating of the eggs far outweighs any “health” effect from eating a bit too much chocolate. The same applies to the enjoyment of “trick or treating”.

Health is more than just diet. Fun is part of health. Easter, Christmas, Halloween and other special occasions should be fun and enjoyable.

So for those of you, who want to celebrate any or all of the special occasions through the year, do not worry about a few treats damaging your kids’ health. It won’t and the fun you have will actually benefit your health.