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INSIDE TRACK: Let's hatch plans for an alternative to Easter eggs

This is an appeal to the makers of brightly coloured modelling dough, to the publishers of children's books, to the creatives behind spin-off products from kid's television shows, to the Disney Princess empire, to the felt-tip, dressing-up clothes and toy car corporations of this world:

Please can you start working out how to package your products into egg-shaped packaging ready for next Easter?

That way maybe the supermarket shelves that get filled with chocolate wrapped in every conceivable shade of foil will feature a few more non-cocoa based alternatives.

I am not a puritan, nor have I directly purchased shares in cheap plastic.

I am just a mother and health correspondent who has lost half a kitchen cupboard to chocolate eggs, rabbits and chickens, not to mention some of the work surface as well. Like a large National Lottery win, so much chocolate is not a pleasure, it is a responsibility. If consumed at a sensible rate it will take months to go and in all probability I will find a half-eaten chocolate shell shedding its wrapping behind the bread sometime next year.

I am not ungrateful to the kind people who wanted to treat my lovely children and I enjoy the excitement too. But I have written enough articles over the years saying the number of children classed as overweight in Scotland is nearing one third. I have three daughters. You see my concern?

Of course we have treats (no doubt some parenting gurus would disapprove of my potty training regime, which involved giving Jelly Babies as a reward).

I am quite happy for all those manufacturers I mentioned at the beginning to team up with chocolate brands and include a small bag/egg/lollipop in their Easter product; enough for pudding or a snack, just not an entire meal.

This proposal alone is not going to solve Scotland's obesity epidemic, I know. But there are so many sad stories (children taken into care because they are morbidly obese, people dying of heart attacks in their twenties) we have to start somewhere.

Behind wobbly waistlines, including my own, were lots of little decisions. In the maelstrom of life, it is easy to think otherwise, but we are individually responsible for what we purchase and wolf down.

But I agree with experts that we do this within an obesogenic society, where the comforts of sitting, driving and eating tasty snacks surround us the whole time. We need the market to blast us with alternatives, tempting ones we do not want to ignore.

There are some tentative examples. Vending machines stock water. The gym is an alternative to the pub after work. Money saved ditching a Friday night binge could be spent the following day on a neck and shoulder massage. Easter, too, could do with more options.

Of course, there is a valid debate about the commercialisation of religious events and I am not helping that cause here.

But next year I am buying little eggs to hide around the living room and I will replace any larger chocolate ovoid with a similarly priced making-kit, book or toy.

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Food and drink

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