We'll scoff a mammoth nine million Easter eggs
As a nation, we'll gorge ourselves on about nine million of them this weekend. But it seems most of us would rather not dwell on the calorie content of an Easter Egg.
Even though a small one will blow a big chunk out of the daily calorie allowance and a big one will far exceed it, not all chocolate manufacturers are willing to shout about how many calories are contained underneath the attractive foil packaging.
It is not mandatory to display any nutritional information as part of the labelling, although some manufacturers give that information on their websites – if you really want to look for it.
A small Lindt Easter bunny weighing 100g contains 270 calories but this information is not on the packaging.
Cadburys and Nestle – the two biggest brands on the market – both display detailed information on the box of both the shell and the treats included in the pack. But beware, the information is usually based on a portion size of 100g or on a fraction of the Easter egg shell.
A small Buttons Easter egg, including the packet of Buttons, contains 550 calories or almost 31pc of a child's guideline daily allowance (GDA) of 1,800.
Upgrade the egg to a medium size and the calorie content jumps to about 850, just over 47pc of the GDA.
Eat a large Maltesers Easter egg that includes four Maltesers bars and weighs 341g and you chomp your way through a massive 1,719 calories.
Really spoil yourself with a Cadburys giant Creme Egg, along with the six regular size eggs included, and you could consume 2,680 calories, 180 more than an adult male's total GDA and 680 more than a woman's recommended 2,000.
Director of Retail Ireland Stephen Lynam estimates that over nine million Easter eggs will be consumed this bank holiday weekend.
"As with all foods, we urge people to eat sensibly and avail of the great value fresh fruit, vegetables and meat on offer in stores this Easter," he said.
Earlier this week, when Safefood – the agency charged with promoting awareness about food safety – sounded a cautionary note on its Facebook page, it was met with a less than welcoming response.
With the caveat that it did not want to rain on anyone's (Easter) parade, it showed a picture of a 300g egg containing 1,590 calories and a 100g egg that contains just 530.
Comments left included: "Chocolate's fattening all year but Easter and Christmas are the only times I make a pig of myself" and "Don't care, it's Easter". One poster pondered if anything was sacred any more.
Dietician Joanna Murphy of the Bon Secours Hospital in Tralee, who deals with people with weight issues in her job, said: "We all enjoy Easter eggs but maybe families could also incorporate some kind of activity into Easter Sunday, like a walk or a cycle, or even have an Easter egg hunt, but find good hides for the eggs, so the children have to look hard for them and burn off more calories."