Usually, Easter is a time for celebrating with Easter baskets overflowing with an assortment of candy. However, these traditional treats are high in refined sugar and fat and low in nutritional value. There are many ways to celebrate Easter with healthier alternatives that are better for everyone's health.
A Change in Easter Treats
Although we generally associate Easter with time-honored chocolate bunnies, the candy we receive during this holiday can have far-reaching negative effects on our health.
"Foods high in sugar lead to tooth decay," states Dr. Sue Chadwick Walker, DMD, PC, a dentist in Milwaukie, OR. "Bacteria feed off the sugar and produce acid that the sticky yellow substance that collects on our teeth, called plaque. This leads to the formation of cavities and additional problems with your teeth as years go by."
Fortunately, these effects are preventable with some small changes in the treats we provide in traditional Easter baskets.
Organic Treats for Hunting
Traditional Easter egg hunts usually involve plastic eggs stuffed with a variety of candy that's high in refined sugar and, consequently, bad for kids in a variety of ways. However, there's no reason to skip the fun of an Easter egg hunt. An assortment of all-natural treats is available for your Easter celebration.
Instead of buying conventional Easter candy to put in plastic eggs, order all-natural, organic options, like bunny-shaped crackers or fruit snacks from Annie's Homegrown. Peter Rabbit Organics also carry treats with a bunny theme, just right for this time of year. Two companies that sell a wide assortment of naturally-sweetened candy include Heavenly Organics and Yummy Earth. Balance these options with additional healthy alternatives for a fun Easter basket for your kids.
Packaged Candy Alternatives
Many kinds of fruit are as sweet as candy but contain nutritional value. Instead of using candy in Easter Eggs, package your own assortment of fruits, vegetables, or nuts in small cellophane bags, including:
Fresh fruit, like cut apple slices, bananitos (mini-bananas), or baby carrots
Dried fruit, such as raisins, pineapple, mango, blueberries and cherries
Peanuts (shelled or not), almonds, pecans, or pistachios
For a fun alternative, mix a variety of these ingredients and call it Bunny Trail Mix – your kids will love it!
Don't Forget Homemade Treats
It's important to remember that many of the treats available at the store – like marshmallows, granola bars, cookies, and Rice Krispy treats – can be made at home. The advantage to making homemade Easter snacks is that you control the kinds and amounts of ingredients. Using applesauce instead of butter in baked recipes cuts down on fat content, and many recipes can be made with either less sugar or with sugar substitutes.
Easter Treats for Your Brain
There's nothing that says that all Easter treats need to be food-related. Fill plastic eggs with coins and practice counting and sorting them with your kids after the hunt. Provide a soccer ball, basketball, or jump rope in your kids’ baskets for some outdoor fun during the Easter holiday. Another option is to supply materials for a new hobby, like small tools for building, art supplies like paintbrushes and paint, or gardening supplies for spring planting.
However you choose to celebrate Easter with family and friends, these healthier alternatives promise hours of fun without any lingering negative effects on your health!