Looking for ways to make Easter a little healthier this year? Not a bad idea. You would be surprised how fast all those jelly beans and chocolate bunnies add up.
According to the National Confectioners Association, Easter is the second top-selling confectionery holiday in the United States. And every day five million marshmallow bunnies and chicks are made in anticipation for Easter. That is a lot of sugar!
So we asked some of the parents at Utah Valley Pediatrics for ideas on how to keep your kids both happy AND healthy this Easter. And they came up with some great ideas. Cutting back on the sugar doesn’t mean you have to cut out all the fun!
Thanks to everybody who sent in their ideas!
- Chocolate dipped fruit lets you enjoy the chocolate while cutting back on sugar. Chocolate covered strawberries are a favorite, but you can also get creative. Try cutting a pineapple into thin slices, using a cookie cutter to cut the slices out in the shape of a bunny or an egg, and then dipping it in chocolate. Frozen bananas dipped in chocolate are also super yummy. If your kids like it, try using dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate.
- Carrots! Every “bunny” loves them! Try to find some with the green tops still on—the kids will love it. Later you can show them your best Bugs Bunny impression.
- Organic fruit leather is sweet, but it doesn’t have all the processed sugar. If you make your own, you can use Easter cookie cutters to cut it out into festive shapes.
- Homemade goodies are usually a lot better for you than what you find at the store. Try baking up some carrot cookies or carrot muffins.
- Fun school and art supplies are pretty popular with most kids. Things like erasers, pencils, pens, notepads, stickers, markers, and paint sets make great basket fillers and help inspire creativity.
- Avoid all the artificial dyes by coloring your eggs naturally. You can use things like berries, onions, fruit and vegetables to create beautiful colors. More Ideas
- For your Easter egg hunt, try stuffing your eggs with a couple of coins. It is often cheaper than candy and you can use the coins later to teach your children money and math skills by adding up how much money they were able to find. For young children just a few pennies will make them feel like millionaires. But for older children you can make it more exciting by finding some more unusual coins like a 50 cent piece or a dollar coin.
- Have you ever tried dried mango? It is even better than candy! Try sticking in a few dried fruits in your baskets. Or you can put in some fruit cups that use the natural juices instead of the heavy syrup.
- Instead of filling your eggs with candy, try using a few of your kids’ favorite berries like blueberries or strawberries. And other favorites like clementines or kiwis are always yummy. If your kids are on the adventurous side, try throwing in a fruit they have never tried before, like dragon fruit.
- Add some extra fun to your Easter egg hunt by putting a puzzle piece in each of the eggs. After the hunt, the whole family can work on putting the puzzle together.
- Teenage and preteen girls will appreciate things like lip balm, lotion, nail stickers, nail polish, jewelry kits, and hair accessories.
- Toys can be a great substitute for candy. Look for things liked stuffed animals, disposable cameras, craft kits, Silly Putty, sidewalk chalk, play dough, cars, sunglasses, puzzles, marbles, bubbles, and balls. Make sure you don’t give any small items to children under three—they can be a choking hazard.
- Foster your kids’ love of reading by including a few books. Some suggestions include:
“Happy Easter, Mouse!” by Laura Numeroff
“Duck & Goose, Here Comes the Easter Bunny!” by Tad Hills
“I Am a Bunny” by Richard Scarry
- With the planting season on its way, try including a gardening kit. Kids love to help plant seeds or small plants and then watch them grow. And studies show that kids are more likely to eat the produce they have helped to grow themselves!
- Replace those sugary treats with some healthy alternatives—like nuts and trail mixes. Some companies also make organic cookies and crackers that are lower in sugar and other preservatives.
- Spring is a great time to stock up on things to help keep your child active over the summer. Great picks include jump ropes, bike helmets, soccer balls, hula-hoops, swimsuits, water bottles, kites, sand toys, water guns, sunscreen, or a hopscotch kit.
- What would Easter be without an Easter dress and hat? You can also easily make a bow tie for the little gentleman in your life with scrap fabric and an alligator hair clip.
- Save a little money by giving your children something you will have to buy in the near future anyway, like a new pair of shoes. Or you can use Easter as an excuse to splurge on a toy or outfit that you have been wanting to buy.
- If your children get too much candy over Easter, save the leftovers and use them to decorate gingerbread houses the next Christmas. You can do the same with Halloween candy. The kids will have a blast decorating their houses, but by that time the candy is so stale that they won’t be tempted to eat it!
- Who wouldn’t love a note from the big bunny himself? Find some cute stationary and leave a little note in the basket from the Easter Bunny.
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