March 23, 2018

Ideas for building a healthier Easter basket


Skip the candy-laden options and try these nutritious treats.


Childhood obesity remains a huge health concern in the United States, where approximately 17 percent of children and adolescents (age 2 to 19) are overweight, according to the CDC.

The Easter basket custom doesn’t have to lead to a sugar-fueled, calorie-overloaded Sunday morning. Instead, mix healthy options with small portions of festive favorites.


Healthier choices

“Leading children by example includes being creative with the ways we re-think our traditions, so we can still enjoy them but put a healthier focus on them,” said Stacey Kendrick, a health educator at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “These healthier behaviors we instill in our kids now will provide them with habits that can literally change their lives.”

Healthier choices can include hard-boiled eggs, trail mix, fruit, dried fruit or nuts. Pecans are a Southern favorite, and they’re packed with vitamins, minerals and protein.


Sweet favorites

Making healthier choices doesn’t mean we have to eliminate some of our go-to traditions. Just skip the oversized chocolate-covered bunny and opt for a smaller portion.

“Small amounts of sweets can be included in a healthy diet in moderation,” Kendrick added. “Keep it to special occasions, and focus on a few bite-sized pieces. Heart-healthy dark chocolate with nuts and/or raisins is a good choice.”


Non-edible ideas

Of course, not all treats have to be devoured. Consider a small Easter-themed stuffed animala trinket or a toy like a wooden puzzle. A coloring book or art supplies encourage creativity. Check out creative places like neighborhood bookstores for some fun ideas.

Tickets fit nicely in a basket, too. Even if you’re busy on the actual holiday — and can’t attend an event, go to the zoo, or head to a museum — tickets give kids something to look forward to the following weekend. For a fun activity Easter day, include a seed packet of local wildflowers to plant in the yard together.

“Instilling traditions in your children can take many forms,” Kendrick said. “We often focus on food, but it can be something as simple as a family activity that you do each year, like a hike, visiting a nursing home or egg decorating. Be creative and think outside the candy box!”

Early Childhood, Spring

3 thoughts on “Ideas for building a healthier Easter basket”

  1. Commonsense says:

    Honestly, it’s once a year .Children can have more candy than usual then and it not hurt them. Plus, candy is not as expensive as some things suggested here. Past generations had mostly candy eggs and they didn’t have as much problem with obesity .

    1. Maura Ammenheuser says:

      True, Easter is only once a year. The problem is that children tend to take in too much sugar on a daily basis (that wasn’t as big a problem a few generations ago, when there were fewer oversized fast-food sodas and less processed food in their diets). The regular consumption of too much sugar has led to a childhood obesity epidemic, not to mention diabetes. This post is meant to give parents who are trying to limit their children’s sugar intake ideas for other holiday treats that won’t contribute to those health problems. It’s up to parents to decide what makes sense for their own kids. We hope this post gets parents thinking creatively about non-junk-food options.

    2. Renaee says:

      Unfortunately, this isnt a matter of common sense and not over doing it.

      Children with Prader Willi Syndrome can be caused harm by just a small amount of any sweet items. These kids are challenged with a piece of their brain not functioning correctly which will lead them towards feeling an insatiable hunger feeling. Sugary type foods are what can trigger this part of their brain to cause them to have that insatiable hunger. Once that happens there is no way to turn it off, at least not yet.

      This is a short summary of what harm sugary items can cause for children with Prader Willi.

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