Children are anticipating the Easter Bunny bringing them sugary treats on April 16th, but many parents might not be as eager to fill Easter baskets with candy, and will opt for veggies. Most kids wouldn’t be happy to have an Easter basket filled with celery sticks and carrots, and receiving a basket with only healthy items might leave a child disappointed. Dr. Dyan Hes, Medical Director of Gramercy Pediatrics and Child Obesity Expert says don’t deny your child of an Easter basket filled with treats. Instead she suggests simple modifications for the holiday that not only allow the child the Easter candy, but will keep them from overindulging.
“Kids want candy on Easter and denying them chocolate doesn’t help to create a healthy relationship with food,” says Dr. Hes.
Below are Dr. Hes’ modifications for a healthier Easter, that doesn’t leave kids feeling deprived and will help them create a healthier relationship with food.
- Healthier Baskets:
“Don’t feel the need to swap out candy for carrot sticks, apples, or tofu,” say Dr. Hes. “Kids will be disappointed.” Instead, modify the Easter basket to fill it with a balance of sweets and other healthier treats. Include chocolate bunnies and jelly beans alongside other snacks such as nuts and dried fruits or any healthier options your child enjoys.
- Make Homemade Peeps:
Peeps have now been popping up for other holidays, but they are still an Easter stable. Yet, these sugary confections are one of the worst items in the Easter basket. Homemade versions contain far less sugar and chemicals.
- Add Prizes:
There is no written rule that states an Easter basket must be filled with only edible treats. “Adding prizes to the basket is a great way to offset the amount of candy included,” says Dr. Hes. Find Easter-themed toys, sidewalk chalk, puzzles, or even craft projects. Kids will be just as happy with a basket filled with both candy and fun little gifts.
- Stop Kids from Overindulging:
Leaving a basket full of candy unattended is an open invitation for children to eat as much as they want. Instead, monitor the amount of candy your child consumers each day. Take out all the candy from the basket and let your children separate it into little storage baggies. If there is a large chocolate bunny, have your child break off the pieces and separate them into baggies with other smaller candies. Label each baggie with a day of the week. Each day, put one of the baggies into their lunch bag. This is a great treat with a school lunch or for after school; it also makes the fun of Easter last longer, and helps parents to control the amount of candy eaten in one sitting.
- Keep Kids Active:
“Kids may seem to have more efficient metabolisms than adults, but it doesn’t mean they should indulge in sweets without adding physical activity,” says Dr. Hes. If you have a yard, organize an Easter egg hunt where the kids have to run around for exercise before indulging in the candy. Or look in your local newspapers for outdoor Easter activities.
- Skip Easter Brunch Out:
Easter brunches are often a family favorite for the holiday, but indulging in waffles and pancakes aren’t always the best option on a day when kids consume more candy than normal. If your family goes out for brunch try to limit the unhealthy choices by sharing meals. If one person orders eggs and one orders pancakes, then share. “You can still enjoy a pancake at brunch by eating a protein with one pancake instead of eating two pancakes. This will limit the blood sugar spike from a carbohydrate loaded brunch,” says Dr. Hes. Look for salads, tuna, or vegetable soups on the menu. Order water as a family and not juice. Choose the fruit salad for dessert.