Ways to Cut Down on Sugar During Easter – Candy Comparisons for Better Choices

Growing up, Easter was always a time of excitement. Not only did we get a new hat or a new outfit (for church), but it was the only time of year we got candy. We lived in the desert, so trick-or-treating on Halloween was not on the schedule. Finding the eggs was a lot of fun, although I don’t remember being that fond of hard-boiled eggs, even if they were nicely colored.

These days it doesn’t seem like most kids limit their sweets to just Easter, but there are a few ways to minimize the holiday’s excess sugar. One is to buy smaller Easter baskets. Another is to fill those baskets with little toys, movie passes to your next favorite movie, miniature books, bookmarks, or gadgets that take the place of all that candy.

You might consider persuading your children that you want to have a historical Easter celebration. Chocolate eggs actually date back to the early 19th century, when monks used to distribute sweet yeast buns to children. You can buy dark chocolate rabbits instead of milk chocolate to cut down on the sugar a bit. A milk chocolate bunny that weighs about 1.2 ounces has 170 calories, 10 grams of fat, and 19 grams of sugar.

An old tradition that you can mix with the new is to buy yogurt-covered pretzels with the same fruit flavors as the gummies, including strawberry and blueberry. (Studies show that cherry, strawberry, and grape make the best jelly bean flavors.) Yogurt pretzels are colorful and not made of solid sugar. In fact, 7 pretzels equals about 130 calories, but they have about 11 grams of sugar and about 6 grams of fat. In the old days, twisted pretzels were said to resemble the folded arms of someone in prayer. Not a bad way to remind children of the religious significance of the holiday.

The jelly beans, which originated in the Civil War era, are a must, of course. I admitted that I liked the licorice ones better. But having done some research on licorice, I would limit a child’s intake of that flavor. If you’ve filled the basket with other gifts, you don’t need to go too crazy with these sugar-filled, but “must-have” items. Because they are so small, the damage is much less. Luckily, the jelly beans are fat-free. You have to eat 41 jelly beans to equal 170 calories with 31 grams of sugar.

Even as a kid, Peeps didn’t look appetizing to me. I was never a fan of the taste or consistency of marshmallows and preferred solid chocolate bunnies. Go for the smallest size possible and buy the minimum. The same can be said for chocolate eggs with marshmallow inside. Each Peep has 29 grams of sugar and 130 calories. Each egg weighs about one ounce and has 110 calories with 14 grams of sugar.

Robin’s eggs are balls of malted milk with a sugar coating. Eight robin eggs have a little more sugar than a single custard egg, which can be quite messy. A Crème egg has 25 grams of sugar, 6 grams of fat, and 170 calories.

Hopefully this information will help you make a more informed decision about what kind of candy to buy for your child’s Easter basket. Read the labels on what you buy and try to limit how much your child can eat at one time. More and more studies conclude that sugar is addictive and harmful. As a parent, it’s up to you to set an example and help your children moderate their sugar intake.

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