Americans eat about 8 billion pounds of candy each year and spend almost 2 billion on Easter candy alone! Traditionally candy and chocolate bunnies are given to children everywhere by the beloved Easter Bunny. Milk chocolate bunnies are favored over dark chocolate variety however going darker is the way to go to maximize any health benefit. When we are talking Easter candy it’s not so much about health, it’s about tradition.
While we dietitians obviously do not recommend eating much chocolate or sugar, we also value traditions. Candy is an Easter tradition but you can also create your own non-candy traditions. Try stuffing Easter eggs and baskets with stickers, crayons, mini puzzles, Playdoh, balls, a library card, books, movie passes, clothing, accessories, iTunes cards. If you want to show your child you are up with this technology age give a certificate saying, “Free App”. Then you and your child can find a cool free app for their phone.
Traditions can be sweet, but remember this….The original Easter tradition is believed to be that of hot cross buns given to the poor by European monks. Pretzels were also an Easter original, as the cross was thought to be symbolic of arms crossed in prayer. Now that is sweet!
Heather Gabbert, MS, RD, CD