Easter Basket Alternatives

Laura Mathieson, Health Educator at CHER

Did you know that American’s spend around $2 billion each year on Easter candy? Also it is estimated that each person in the United States eats about 24.5 pound of candy per year. That is a large amount of excess sugar, food dyes and chemical stabilizer going into a young child’s growing body. Now it’d be unrealistic to deprive your child of a few treats here and there, in moderation this is completely acceptable. However, excessive amount of sugar can have adverse effects on your children’s health in the long run. Sugar can cause sudden increase in glucose levels, increases risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Large amounts of sugar over a long period of time can cause dental decay, aging, chromium deficiency in the body, and effect health and learning abilities in young children. Below are some tips and considerations for alternative Easter basket ideas that are inexpensive, beneficial and healthy for your children.

One of the most commonly used Easter staples is plastic Easter eggs, whether they are used in an Easter egg hunt,  just for decoration, or put in an Easter basket, you can’t avoid those bright colorful plastic eggs. It is always exciting opening them to see what’s inside. Opt to not put the jelly beans and other sugary sweets inside and try some of these contents this year:

  • Money
  • Dried cranberries
  • Marbles
  • Raisins
  • Organic fruit snacks
  • Stickers
  • Bouncy Balls
  • Hair bows
  • Dried fruit

Fill the rest of the basket with fun toys and homemade items, including the following:

  • Chalk
  • Bubbles
  • Crayons and coloring book
  • Play dough
  • Small gardening tools and seed packets
  • Sand toys
  • Deck of cards
  • Sunscreen
  • Toothbrush
  • Jump rope
  • Kite

Try planning an activity if you don’t already have a family tradition. Go to the zoo, movie, children’s museum, or sporting event. You can then put appropriate items in their baskets such as sunglasses, disposable camera or healthy snacks to bring with them. Plan a scavenger hunt and hide practical items like a new swimming suit or baseball hat. Create coupons for your children to use throughout the year. For example; “No chores for the day”, “kids choice for dinner” or “movie night”

The most important thing when filling your child’s Easter basket is portion control, as stated earlier a little candy in moderation is perfectly ok, but limit the amount and types. Focus on family and friends during the holiday not just the good food. Lastly, don’t go overboard, there are several holidays throughout the year, try to emphasis the importance of healthy options.

One of everyone’s favorite Easter tradition has to be dying and decorating eggs. Aside from the fun we have dying, coloring, stickering, or painting these hard boiled eggs, their nutritional value is even greater than their festive Easter appeal.  Eggs are super foods which contain large amounts of protein, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Eggs have been proven to improve concentration, maintain healthy weight, stimulate brain development, improve eyesight, prevent blood clots, and strengthen bones.

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