Don't break my heart with chocolates this Valentine's Day and Easter

11 ways to avoid chocolate overload this Valentine's Day & Easter

Don’t be shy about saying what you really want this Valentines' and Easter. If you want to have less chocolate, arm yourself with foodtalk's survival ideas today.

Please don't break my heart ...

For those fighting to shed the Christmas excesses, the early appearance of Easter ‘treats’ is yet another detour from the path to good health and a happier body weight.

And with Easter and Valentine's Day close together, chocolate overload is a sure bet unless you prepare ahead.

Here are 11 tips to help you avoid chocolate overload this year.

1. Instead of giving or receiving chocolate, ask for or give a gift of love money to an aid agency or emergency appeal fund. They need your help far more than any healthy body needs extra chocolate.

2. Apply the no-chocolate survival strategy. Ask for anything except chocolate. Give loved ones and friends ideas for a non-chocolate gift. Create gift or wish list or vouchers for them to select your surprise from.

Will is be a blissful relaxation in a float tank, a thrilling adventure such as a tandem parachute jump, a voucher for a therapeutic massage, a studio photo session to capture the year, a sudoko or crossword challenge, a facial, a pedicure or foot rub, flowers, perfume or aftershave, a joke book, or surfing lessons? Find something fun and physical for the kids - take them rock-climbing, to the bowling alley or go to a sport’s store and buy a game that makes them burn off some stored energy. Use your imagination to get the non-food goodies you want in life! If you must have food, then ask for some beautiful ingredients to add to recipes – a fine vinegar, a planter box full of living herbs, unusual spices, or delicious chutneys and pickles.

3. Don’t start the bunny run too far in advance of Easter. Sure they are in the shops just after Christmas, but that doesn’t mean you need them. Start a rumour that it’s bad luck to eat Easter buns and eggs before Easter.

4. Work out a list of who you usually buy Valentine’s Day or Easter eggs for and ask if they’d like something different this year. If chocolate is essential, buy only enough for those on the list on the day before giving.

5. If you must have a Valentine’s chocolate (or you suspect your loved one will buy you some anyway), ask for a small heart rather than a box of chocolates. At Easter, ask for a single egg and don't make it a kilogram egg! Bags of little eggs are unlucky dips of fat and sugar – no one ever stops at one. Make your choice an outrageously expensive delicious chocolate. Wait until Easter to eat it.

6. Avoid last minute shopping and the temptation of markdowns.

7. Don't buy extra eggs 'just in case' or 'for the kids'. You're not even fooling yourself.

8. Create a coloured egg masterpiece. To ½ cup of very hot water, add 1tsp vinegar and 20 drops of food colouring. Dip in your hard-boiled egg.

9. Give unwanted unopened chocolates and sealed packets of chocolate eggs away to a homeless people's shelter, an aged person’s home or families less fortunate than you.

10. Don't use Valentine’s and Easter as an excuse to eat more chocolate than usual.

11. Be ruthless: throw excess in the bin before you start. Better in the bin than burdening your brain with unhappy thoughts or your body with extra kilos.