If you’re like me, thoughts of the Easter Bunny plague me in the night. Perhaps that was a bit dramatic but I do worry about what the big furry guy will bring my kids this year—most likely, a plethora of candy.  Sugary, sweet, chocolate deliciousness. And, our society wonders why we have an obesity epidemic! I’m not suggesting that we give up the goodies entirely, but this year I’m trying to make that basket fun, sweet and yummy….all with a healthy flair. Here are a few ideas to keep the little ones from going into sugar shock:

Think Dark: It’s no secret that the darker the chocolate, the richer in antioxidants (sorry white chocolate fans). Give them that chocolate bunny or chick, but opt for the darker version.

Annie’s Homegrown: Love this brand!  Each of my kiddos will get a box of edibles made with wholesome, all natural and organic ingredients. Our favorites are the “Bunnies & Cheese” (mac & cheese with adorable little bunnies), Bunny Grahams and Cheddar Bunnies.  A great alternative to the usual chocolate suspects and available in all grocery stores.

Shop Etsy: Etsy.com is a wonderful shopper’s paradise specializing in handmade and antique goods.  After doing a search for “Easter” and “Spring”, I came across wonderful little handcrafted and economical items to help stuff those little plastic eggs.  Check out Parkrose Pretties’s shop, where they make chocolate bunnies out of wool for a nice alternative.

Gift Certificates and Movie Passes: Older kids will love that their furry friend was thoughtful enough to get them a pass for an upcoming feature or for a sub at their favorite sandwich place.  Best of all, you won’t have to hand over that $20 bill the next time they decide to hit the movies with their friends.

Bubbles and Beach Toys: Get them excited for warmer weather with some good ‘ol fashioned bubbles and accessories. And, sand toys can be played with now since all the snow is gone!

Books: Books are always a great alternative to candy. Encourage their love of reading and save their teeth!

Exercise Portion Control: Instead of the giant chocolate bunny this year, give them a bunch of little treats (Hershey Kisses or miniatures).  They’ll last longer (we hope) and will encourage that a little sweet goes a long way!

When all is said and done, we know the Easter Bunny is going to fill those little baskets with some goodies. Here’s is a list of the best to worst options for the big basket:

Best Options:

  • 1 small Marshmallow Bunny: 45 calories, 1.5 grams of fat and 6 teaspoons of sugar
  • 2 Peeps:  56 calories, no fat and 14 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1 Tootsie Pop: 60 calories, no fat and 10 teaspoons of sugar
  • 2 pack of Starburst (but who eats 2?): 80 calories, 1.5 grams of fat and 11.5 teaspoons of sugar
  • Fruit Snacks: 80 calories, no fat, 13 teaspoons of sugar

Worst Options:

  • Solid Chocolate Bunny (1/2): 460 calories, 26 grams of fat and 42 teaspoons of sugar
  • Hollow Chocolate Bunny(1): 270 calories, 16 grams of fat and 30 teaspoons of sugar
  • 12 Mini Eggs: 190 calories, 8 grams of fat and 27 teaspoons of sugar

If the kiddos do end up with the solid chocolate bunny that they devour before 10am, just plan an extra long egg hunt so they get some exercise on Easter morning!

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About the author: Jessica Lane is a penny pinching mama of two living on the Seacoast. She runs a blog www.barefootbysea.blogspot.com, where she discusses the trials of motherhood.

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