Easter week is right around the corner – secretly known as one of the biggest weeks of the year for candy manufactures. Did you know 70 percent of all chocolate sales for the year occur the week leading up to Easter? That’s right. While we are fans of chocolate and candy on Valentine’s Day, it appears we really can’t resist these goodies wrapped up as cute bunnies, ducks or eggs. Easter comes in right behind Halloween for candy sales, 71 million pounds and 90 million pounds sold, respectively. So what’s really in your child’s Easter basket? Plenty of sugar.
Health care providers agree that too much sugar in our diets is taking a toll on our health. From rising rates of obesity and Type 2 diabetes, to most recently linked as a single contributing risk factor for heart disease, sugar seems to be everywhere. The average American consumes 152 pounds of sugar a year. That’s up from only 2 pounds a year 200 years ago. Cultural shifts are changing the way we think about sugar, especially in the form of chocolates or candy. A 7 ounce chocolate bunny brings in 1100 calories alone – more than half the calories most of us should be eating in one day.
Healthier Easter Basket Alternatives
As we have been actively educating elementary students in the community with the PLAY Program at Owasso Public Schools, there are always healthier food choices and a reason we should make them. We are investing in our health earlier in life, to help stave off disease later in life. When it comes to Easter, consider some of these healthier options:
Non-candy items such as a jump rope
Chocolate covered fruit or nuts
Plastic eggs with trail mix or granola
Gift card to clothing or book store
Fun decorating kits or crafts
Portion Control the Easter Egg Hunt
What Easter is complete without the traditional egg hunt? You remember running around trying to scoop up as many eggs as you possibly could, right? Parents want their children to have the same memories, but there is a way to make sure they don’t have free reign on eating all the candy at once. Here are some tips for helping to portion control the egg hunt:
Talk with your child before the event and let them know they can collect as many eggs as they find, but they can only pick two or three eggs to have afterwards.
Keep the basket full of eggs from the hunt out of reach from the child and let them know they can have one or two eggs only with permission.
After a week to ten days, discard or giveaway the remaining eggs. Some dental offices will offer to pay children in return for their candy as an incentive to maintain better oral health.