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.
“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.
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.”
Of course, not all treats have to be devoured. Consider a small Easter-themed stuffed animal, a 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!”