How would you feel if a professional told you that giving your child a chocolate advent calendar was actually quite irresponsible?
We are a little bit late to the party because as you read this chocolate advent calendars are probably well and truly a distant memory in your home. Our four year old wasn’t really feeling the whole “have one a day” thing and the entire calendar was gone by an embarrassing date in early December... As it turns out this is a common theme in family households around the country so I don’t feel so bad.
Everywhere I looked this year there were advent calendars on display. They’ve seriously thought of everything. There are so many price options and some really luxurious brands have put together an exciting twenty-four day package for consumers to treat themselves with. There are advent calendars that are edible, drinkable (hello ALDI wine advent calendar), bath themed, toy themed and everything in between. But still, we cannot resist a good old-fashioned chocolate advent calendar.
These days you can pick up a chocolate advent calendar featuring your favourite chocolate. I have friends who specifically look for Reese’s Pieces, Malteasers or Lindt for example. If you’re going to have a bit of chocolate every day you might as well ensure it’s to your taste, right?
Chocolate advent calendars have been around for years. Many people will find themselves reminiscing about Christmases gone by and the excitement of punching a hole through the foil to reveal that day’s chocolate offering. It’s a memory that captures the spirit of Christmas and what was for many the very thing that marked the beginning of the festivities.
So how would you feel if a professional told you that giving your child a chocolate advent calendar was actually quite irresponsible? That it may contribute to childhood obesity? Well, that is exactly what one doctor is saying.
Dr Eva Orsmond (former Operation Transformation doctor) believes that just one chocolate per day could be damaging to one’s health. A tiny amount of chocolate can mean an extra 100-150 calories per day and could, therefore, be a factor that makes childhood obesity a reality for our children. In Ireland, we currently have a childhood obesity epidemic.
Dr Eva believes that it may not be that physical piece of chocolate that causes the problem but rather the eating habits it is normalising for our children. These poor eating habits and trends are the reason why so many children in Ireland are considered to be obese.
Obese children are much more likely to grow into obese adults and this can come with a huge amount of health concerns and risks such as heart disease, high blood pressure and Cancer. Dr Eva refers to the empty calories and energy that chocolate provides. She speaks about the fact that confectionary companies prey on children and festive times of year such as Christmas, Halloween and Easter. She considers it a shame that these joyful times of year always revolve around huge amounts of sugar-laden food.
This Christmas our children will consume huge amounts of sugar in the form of advent calendars, selection boxes, desserts and festive treats but I think it’s safe to say that festive eating trends are not the norm for the majority of families during the other 50 odd weeks of the year. Moderation is a good way to look at things but we’ll let you be the judge of that one.
Laura Doyle, mum of 4. Kyle 9, Noa Belle 4, Briar 2 and Milla 12 months. Breastfeeder, co-sleeper, coffee drinker. Staying positive and inspired by the chaos of it all. Writer and blogger at www.lovelifeandlittleones.com.