Healthy alternatives to sugar-filled Easter candy

It's tradition to get candy at Easter, but a few healthy swaps can make a big difference. FILE - DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS

It’s tradition to get candy at Easter, but a few healthy swaps can make a big difference. FILE – DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS

Children often wake up Easter morning to be treated to overflowing baskets of sugary treats. But most of those basket options lack nutritional value and will load your little ones up with sugar, saturated fat and little else.

Do you really want to get your kids that high on candy on such a beautiful spring day?

Many favorite candy options are deceiving when they come in small packages during the holidays. Below are some examples of what a single serving can throw at you:

Starburts

An 8 piece serving has 160 calories and 22 grams of sugar, as well as 3 grams of saturated fat.

Jelly beans

Fourteen pieces of Brach’s Jelly Beans contain 150 calories and 27 grams of sugar.

Don't let too much candy weigh down your kids. Fill those eggs with healthy options. FILE - DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS

Don’t let too much candy weigh down your kids. Fill those eggs with healthy options. FILE – DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS

The Easter Bunny

Just one-quarter of a Dove Solid Milk Chocolate Easter Bunny has 230 calories, 8 grams of saturated fat and 24 grams of sugar. Unlike some of the other candies, it does have minimal OK qualities, with 1 gram of fiber and 3 grams of protein per serving.

And dark chocolate isn’t always better. Half of a dark chocolate Russell Stover bunny has 230 calories, 8 grams of saturated fat and 21 grams of sugar. It also contains 2 grams of fiber and 2 grams of protein.

Peeps Marshmallow Bunnies

These iconic colored treats contain only 28 calories per bunny with 6.5 grams of sugar.

Cadbury Creme Egg

Do you recall the hungry lion from the commercials who would cluck like a chicken while wearing rabbit ears? Maybe he was still hungry because one egg has 150 calories, 4 grams saturated fat, 20 grams of sugar and 2 grams of protein.

If the outcome is not worth the sweet treat, there are alternatives.

Try to swap some sugary treats for healthier options. A hula hoops is a great way to encourage your kids to be active. FILE - DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS

Try to swap some sugary treats for healthier options. A hula hoops is a great way to encourage your kids to be active. FILE – DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS

Trying switching out a few extra sweet treats with some not-so-bad alternatives.

Annie’s Homegrown offers a variety of organic options in cute bunny shapes. Try some of the cheese crackers or fruit snacks to replace a super sweet treat.

Peanuts, small fruit, such as clementines, and squeezable yogurt also can be an alternative for your little bunny hunters.

Popcorn balls and hardboiled eggs (try eating the ones you paint!) are also a healthy, filling alternative to just candy.

Or try stocking your kids’ Easter baskets with activity-promoting toys, such as a jump rope, sidewalk chalk, mini gardening tools or Play-Doh.

What healthy alternatives do you try to offer your children at Easter?

About Rebecca Hanlon

Rebecca Hanlon is the health reporter with a religion sub beat at the York Daily Record/Sunday News. Follow her on Twitter @mrsbeccahanlon or on Facebook at facebook.com/byrebeccahanlon.
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One Response to Healthy alternatives to sugar-filled Easter candy

  1. Pam says:

    Our family eliminated a lot of foods from our diet a few years ago for health reasons– no refined sugars and basically no processed foods. Our youngest has never experienced a “typical” Easter basket. Their baskets usually include a comic book or regular book (depending on their current interests), fresh fruit and/or dried fruit (yeah… they actually get excited about raisins, dates, and dried figs as occasional treats), and either nice art supplies or a quality toy or game (no cheaply-made, disposable plastic toys). For these past few years they seem pretty happy with their baskets. We’ll see how this year goes!

    Oh, and we’ll be making honey-sweetened chocolates at some point over the weekend too, because I refuse to let Easter pass without chocolate!

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