Easter is such a fun holiday for kids and adults, whether you celebrate it for religious purposes or just to have some fun in the middle of April. There are many traditions people celebrate on Easter, from preparing baskets for their kids and going on Easter egg hunts, to having a big holiday meal similar to Thanksgiving or Christmas.
While it is great to continue having these fun traditions, many of them tend to lean toward the unhealthier side. Luckily, it is possible to still have those fun hunts and enjoy dinner with your family and not have to do it in the unhealthy way. Here are some different tips and methods for having a healthy and enjoyable Easter holiday with your family.
Fill Up the Basket with Healthy Goodies
Talking about the Easter baskets is a good place to start when discussing having a healthier Easter, since this tends to be where a lot of people offer their children unhealthier options. It is also one of the more popular traditions for this holiday. If you want your kids to enjoy their baskets but without sugar-laden sweets, there are some super fun and easy options!
Why You Should Limit These Sugary Treats
First, let’s go over the nutritional content of some of the more popular candy options for Easter baskets. You may not include all of these, but it is good to have a summary of how much sugar, fat, and calories go into the top options. Just look at what is in your favorite candy!
Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs
These small chocolate and peanut butter-shaped eggs are 170 calories and 10 grams of fat for just one piece. They are pretty small, and a lot of kids have more than one in their basket. Plus, it is loaded with 24 different ingredients (many of which you probably can’t pronounce) and 16 grams of sugar.
The nutritional info might vary based on the type of bunny you get, especially when comparing solid versus hollow inside. However, the classic Dove chocolate bunny is a whopping 690 calories and 42 grams of fat for the entire one! It also contains 69 grams of sugar.
Perhaps your kids aren’t really into chocolate, but they love Peeps. These cute marshmallow guys are pretty much just pure sugar. They don’t have any fat or saturated fat with a serving size of 5 Peeps, but there are 34 grams of sugar.
Cadbury Crème Eggs
The standard serving size of Cadbury Crème Eggs is 2 eggs, which makes sense since they often come in little boxes with 2 eggs inside. These might be your favorite thing to put in the Easter basket, but 2 eggs are 300 calories and 12 grams of fat. Surprisingly a lower amount of fat, but not when you consider 2 eggs have a total of 40 grams of sugar.
Brach’s Jelly Bird Eggs
Finally, you might serve your kids a little bag of Brach’s (or other brand) jelly beans shaped like eggs. This brand has 450 calories in 3 servings (often what one bag or what fits in a plastic Easter egg). There is no fat or saturated fat, but an insanely high 90 grams of sugar! These are nothing but sugar.
Healthier Easter Basket Options
Now that you have seen the high sugar treats you usually put in your kids’ Easter baskets, you can learn about some healthier options.
- Add More Non-Treat Items – First of all, don’t underestimate the power of non-treat gifts! You probably fill up the basket with mostly candy and maybe a small toy or two. Why not switch it around? Have just one small type of candy, then have little books, stickers, or small inexpensive items in the basket. It is still fun for them to open, but you don’t have to worry about hundreds of grams of sugar just in one Easter basket.
- Try Chocolate-Covered Fruit – If you want to give your kids chocolate, but in a healthier way, you can try making chocolate covered fruit. They are getting all the nutrition from the fruit you use and preventing them from having pure, solid chocolate at the same time. That little bit of chocolate covering banana slices or half of the strawberries really isn’t much as compared to that size of solid chocolate. Plus, you can use white chocolate and color it orange or green for a festive collection.
- Get Organic Fruit Snacks – Instead of giving them little bags of jelly beans, why not get fruit snacks as well? Many of these also have a lot of sugar, so try to find the natural or organic varieties that don’t contain a lot of sugar or extra preservatives.
- Choose Dark Chocolate – Another way to give your kids chocolate in their Easter basket but in a healthier way is choosing small pieces of dark chocolate. The content is less, plus dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants. It is so much better for both kids and adults, but it is still yummy!
- Healthier Plastic Egg Contents – If you like to fill plastic eggs with candy and put it in the Easter baskets, another option is to fill it with healthier snacks. You can fit your organic fruit snacks inside, nuts, seeds, or even small pieces of fruit that won’t spoil. You can also put little stickers or small toys in the eggs.
Choose These Healthier Easter Dinner Options
After creating healthier Easter baskets for your kids, you probably want to move onto the Easter Dinner. This is similar to any other family dinner, where the main courses, appetizers, and desserts are often filled with fat, calories, carbs, and sugar. This might not be a great option for you if you are trying to be healthier overall or you are attempting to lose weight at this time.
These tips are going to help you start planning a healthier Easter dinner and eat the right portions with just a few tips and tricks.
Make Everything from Scratch
This is a really simple trick that will help you make healthier meals simply by having more control over the ingredients. This isn’t as much as cutting back on fat and calories only, but just having healthier food. The less processed, packaged, and frozen ingredients you use in your meals, the healthier it is going to be overall. This will help to reduce the sodium amount, get rid of all those nasty preservatives you don’t want your family to have, and help you control how much butter, cheese, and other fats go into the
dishes. Plus, it can be a fun family activity your kids are able to help with.
Here are some healthier options to try out:
- Use coconut oil or olive oil instead of butter
- Cut the amount of cheese needed by half
- Don’t use anything that is boxed or frozen
- Use only low-sodium and low-sugar ingredients
Be Careful with Your Breads and Sides
Another aspect of Easter dinner that tends to pack on the fat and calories is the side dishes and bread. IF you are a low-carb diet, keep in mind you can have a big family dinner without eating even a piece of bread or a starchy vegetable. Instead, have your fill of ham or turkey, deviled eggs, and vegetables. Just avoid vegetable sides with a cream-base, as this usually has more carbs. Skip the mashed potatoes and have a side salad or double veggies instead.
When you are preparing sides, follow the previous instructions by cutting back on butter, cheese, and other fattening ingredients. You can easily transform some of your favorite dishes to a healthier option by making garlic green beans instead of a cream-based green bean casserole and using sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes.
Focus on Better Portion Control
Finally, you will need to work on portion control. With family dinners like Easter, you can eat a little of everything (Within reason), but just watch how much you get. The thing you want to learn is what a proper portion is. For example, a 3-4 ounce piece of ham should fit into the palm of your hand. Try to have such a palm-sized portion of each dish, one deviled egg instead of two, and cut back on the butter on your roll, and you will be doing much better.
Another trick with portion control is to look at your plate as you add food to it. What you want to do is have a little bit of space between each food item, then stop when you can’t fit anymore without food touching. This keeps you from piling it up and having too much to eat.
Tips for Avoiding the Chocolate and Sweets
Your kids might not be the only ones who need to stay away from all the sweets this Easter. Maybe you struggle with not eating the same candy you add to their baskets, or you find that it is hard to not grab chocolate from the little dish on your counter every time you are in the kitchen. You are definitely not alone! The following tips are going to help you to control your sugar cravings and avoid all of these little temptations.
Choose More Natural Sweets
Don’t forget you can have sweets that aren’t filled with sugar or coated with chocolate. Fruit is one of the best natural sweeteners out there. It is going to fulfill all of those sugar cravings you get, plus it will provide a lot more nutritional content. Think about all the vitamins and minerals you get from fresh strawberries, juicy peaches, and fiber-rich bananas. You can always dip them in melted chocolate and freeze to have them as a dessert as well.
One fun thing you can do is start with strawberries and keep them whole. Melt some white chocolate, then quickly dye it an orange color with a few drops of orange food coloring. Remember to mix it well each time until you get the right shade of orange. Dip the entire strawberry in the chocolate, then place it on a sheet of wax paper on a pan. Leave the strawberry stem on as it will look like the stem of an orange carrot.
These only have a small amount of chocolate on them, just like when you prepared them for the kids. The entire family can enjoy these fun treats!
Avoid Having Them in the House
The number one way to avoid those temptations are to remove the temptation entirely. If you have just finished making the Easter baskets and have candy leftover, bring it to your church to give to kids there or give it to a neighbor who has kids. Do whatever you need to in order to get it out of your house! You are much less likely to pick it up at the store when you have a craving as you are to grab a piece when it is right there on your counter.
Eat Veggies Before Dessert
This helps when you have yummy desserts at home, or even just chocolate that you are saving for filling eggs for an Easter egg hunt. In this case, you can avoid the temptation by filling up on healthy foods. Perhaps you know there is a big carrot cake, but you want to avoid having a piece. If you are having a lot of cravings, first make a really healthy meal or snack with a salad or lots of veggies. These will really help to fill you up, plus some of them can even provide natural sweetness. Once you are full, you will probably
not have such bad cravings anymore. It’s a major win-win!
Make Sure You Get Plenty of Exercise
When Easter is coming up and you’re not sure you can avoid those sugar cravings or battle the temptation, that’s okay! It’s definitely okay to have a treat here and there and enjoy your big family dinner. Another option is to keep exercising regularly and burn as many calories as you can.
Exercising is going to burn the extra calories you are consuming, plus give you more energy. When you are consuming a high amount of sugar, it really saps your energy once the short-term sugar high wears off. Walking during your lunch break or enjoying weekend hikes with the kids can help a ton.
Here are some exercise options for the Easter holiday:
- Spend Easter Sunday going on a family hike instead of eating sweets all day.
- Take your dogs for an extra walk after your dinner is complete.
- Get the kids fitness accessories in their Easter basket and go on a family bike ride.
- Enjoy some living room dance time after the Easter egg hunt.