It’s just about time to start shopping for those Easter baskets. And it’s another excuse for us to shovel candy at our youth. I’m not sure what the resurrection of Jesus has to do with a chocolate egg or marshmallow bunnies, but it sure is cute and fun. A few pieces of candy here and there are certainly not going to cause you or your little ones to become morbidly obese. But like all things in life, moderation is the key.
Then again, moderation is not exactly the word I would use to describe what happens to most of our children on this holiday. Or the weeks following as they demolish their egg hunt victories. (By the way, I still think you should take your children on Easter egg hunts. It will be some of your favorite memories). If they’re getting candy on the hunt, and then from the Easter bunny in the morning, and probably from 2 sets of grandparents, and the nice old guy next door, and whoever else loves your adorable little children enough to hand them a basket full of candy….you get the point. It adds up. And it’s anything BUT moderation.
So I want to share with you a few tips to clean up this joyous occasion, and still have fun!
Clean Up the Candy Act
# 1 Skip the candy in the basket
My husband and I stopped putting candy in our children’s baskets at a young age. Not even because we were on a health kick yet. But, because our children were getting insane amounts of candy. Instead, we started buying them actual gifts and placing them in a basket. What little boy doesn’t love a basket full of trucks, Legos, balls, and play-do?
Little girls might be even easier. Lip balm, hair accessories, tights, shoes. I don’t know. I’m just brain storming here. But it’s pretty easy to find a few little trinkets to fill a basket.
And maybe sneak in one piece of really cool candy that reminds you of the season. That one thing that makes Easter fun to you. Whether it’s peeps or Cadbury eggs. The point is, you just greatly reduced your kids candy intake. Score 1 for mom and dad!
# 2 – Get the rest of the family on board
Ask the grandparents to chill out on the candy. I know they love to spoil them. But it is ok to ask them to tone it back. In a nice, polite, gentle way of course. Offer suggestions for healthier treats or even an actual gift your child might like instead.
# 3 – Healthier candy
Ok, there’s no such thing as healthy candy. But you can put anything in the worse, better, best categories right? In my family it’s tradition to make Easter candy. Instead of white chocolate everything sprinkled with heath, (OMG so good right?) come up with some healthier treats to make.
Some “better” choices might be chocolate covered strawberries, dark chocolate covered orange slices sprinkled with sea salt, or even home made fruit snacks. Made with REAL fruit! Yes you’re still getting sugar with the covered fruit, but you’re getting a lot less, and you’re sneaking some fruit in the mix. Here are a few recipes to try out.
I love that Kim gives you the ingredient list of the popular store bought brands for comparison. Just look at how much healthier these are!!!
While those fruit roll ups are baking for hours on end, you can whip up these chocolate covered oranges in no time! And they look scrumptious. To make them extra healthy, get at least 70% dark cocoa chocolate.
Get real cute, and real healthy with these 3 adorable ideas from the ladies over at the Prime Pursuit!
Make a big ol’ bunny fruit plate! Carrie over at Worth Pinning made this amazing and festive fruit platter.
Hummus carrot patch. Are you kidding me? I want one of these right now!
Skip the Food Dye
Artificial food coloring has been a hot debate for quite some time. Studies have linked certain food dye to hyperactivity in children. There are have also been studies done showing them to be carcinogenic. Most of the food dyes allowed here in the USA are banned in other countries. So why is Europe dying their soda with pumpkin and we’re using yellow food dye that negatively impacts our children? Well, that’s another blog post all together. If you would like some additional info, here’s a little link for ya! http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2957945 /
If you’re looking to cut out the dye, which I highly suggest, but keep the holiday fun and colorful, try these alternatives. I have actually used most of these in frosting and they work great!
Green – I dissolved matcha tea powder in a little water and added it to my frosting. It was a lovely shade of green and looked great on our cookies. You don’t taste the tea at all!
Pink – Boil up some beets in a small amount of water. The color pulls quickly and you can continue simmering to reduce the amount of liquid. You can also smash up some raspberries for color, depending on what you’re using it for.
Yellow – Turmeric will give things a very pretty yellow – orange hue. Just use a little since turmeric has a very strong and unique flavor.
Purple – Boil purple cabbage until the color is a dark purple. Then use the water in whatever your recipe is. It surprisingly does NOT taste like cabbage.
Blue – Use the same purple cabbage water, but add a little baking soda. It turns blue! Super pretty color, and super fun with the kids. They will love watching the change.
If you’re using these dyes in a recipe, just substitute some of the liquid for your colored liquid. If you want to dye Easter eggs, add vinegar to the liquid you have and dye eggs as usual. I haven’t actually tried it since my children are older and have no interest. But if I do, I’ll update you!
Here’s a nice link about using the natural food coloring for egg dying purposes. http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/home/natural-easter-egg-dye