Easter is a time for some family love, and the joy of watching kiddos excitedly explore spring in their brightly colored clothing with Easter basket in-hand!
So, what’s in your basket?
I don’t want to be a buzz kill. Nor am I a candy prude or crusher of little kids’ dreams. I believe there is a certain right of passage for kids, and they should enjoy sweets and treats on such occasions as Easter.
But I am also a mother, and, like many moms, I care about my kids’ nutrition. I also know that choosing healthier candy doesn’t mean doing without. It means swapping out.
As a busy mom, I know that not everyone has time to handcraft your child’s Easter sweets (nor does the Easter Bunny, for that matter!).
There are some things you can watch out for in your children’s Easter baskets. If Grandma dropped in a preservative-laden chocolate bunny or Aunt Annie plopped in a few sugary jellybeans, I suggest swapping those out for other goodies.
Here’s why … and a review of other considerations that will help you swap out the bad for the good!
Look out for:
Additives and Preservatives: These are easy to spot. You often can’t pronounce the name, so that’s a big hint that you don’t want it. Or, the label will read: “natural or artificial flavors” – that’s a big tip-off. These are artificial, and who wants their kids to have a bunch of chemicals? They usually look something like this: Acrylamides, propylene glycol, phosphoric acid, TBHQ, BHA, BHT.
Synthetic Food Coloring: Those like Red No. 40 and the rest of the lot are under scrutiny for their potential association to behavior problems in children.
Artificial Sweeteners: These come in those pink, yellow and blue packages, and are often labeled as Aspartame, Acesulfame, Saccharin or Sucralose. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, long-term effects of consuming these sugars are unknown, but they advise folks to stay away from them. Click here to learn more.
No worries, though… time to get swap-savvy!
Trade out some of the traditional candies that have artificial ingredients to those that are more natural.
Pure and Natural Sweeteners: Brown sugar, cane sugar, coconut nectar/sugar/crystals, date sugar, date syrup, dates, honey, maple syrup, molasses, palm sugar, stevia leaf and turbinado sugar
I suggest sticking to the most pure and natural Easter treats, since they are available to us!
Here are some of my favorites:
Chocolate Bunnies, Jelly Beans, Jordon Almond Eggs: These can be found at one of my favorite places — the Natural Candy Store, online. The ingredients are great, and the jelly beans and the chocolate bunnies are the best. The Jordon almonds are neat because they look like Easter eggs (and have all-natural dyes — nothing synthetic). Click here to check out the Natural Candy Store.
Annie’s Snack Packs: I love their fruit snacks, cheddars, and honey grahams, and all come in snack sizes. They’re great to plop in a basket. Click here to check out Annie’s.
Kid-Friendly Raspberry Cheesecake Bites: If you dare to get creative, these are easy to make, delicious and kid-approved! They are sensational. You can wrap them up, too! Click here to see recipe.
No matter how much time you have to prepare for Easter for your kids’ baskets, remember it’s what you do most of the time that makes the difference toward your health, not the “once in a whiles.” So as long as you are swapping out the unrecognizable additives, synthetic food coloring, preservatives and any artificial sweeteners most of the time, you can wear your Easter with a smile!
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