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Easter Basket Treats Don’t Have to be Diet Busters

When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait for Easter. After a Lent of no treats, Easter brought a basket of chocolaty goodness and a sugar high that caused a crash reminiscent of the 1929 stock market disaster. When I had my own children, I realized that the calories in many Easter treats just weren’t worth the exercise required to work them off, and that I could craft a basket for my kids that would be just as happily received, and also better for them too.

Here are the calorie counts of some of the most popular Easter basket treats, and some lower calorie alternatives that won’t have you in spin class long after the taste has left your lips.

  • 1 Cadbury Cream Egg – 170 calories
  • Cadbury Chocolate Eggs – 12 eggs, 190 calories
  • Peeps – 4 Peeps, 130 calories
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg – 190 calories
  • 7 ounce hollow Easter bunny – 1,050 calories

Lower Calorie Alternatives

  • 10 Jelly Beans – around 50 calories
  • 1 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup -  around 90 calories
  • 4 Hershey’s Kisses – 90 calories
  • 3 Butterscotch hard candies – 70 calories
  • Sugar-free Dubble Bubble gum – 7 calories each

Instead of an Easter basket full of candy, I use this chance to replenish my children’s outdoor fun. A basket with bubbles, sidewalk chalk and paint, new flip-flops, jump ropes, hula hoops, footballs and sunglasses, not to mention a cool new bathing suit and sunscreen. How about a new soccer ball and fresh shin guards? Add in hair ties and lip balm for girls, some matchbox cars for the boys, and everyone gets a spiffy new toothbrush and maybe even a great book.

Need to fill Easter eggs for an egg hunt? Instead of candies, try cereal pieces, Annie’s cheddar bunnies, coins or cash (only for older kids!), temporary tattoos or stickers, or dried fruit.

Don’t forget the hard-boiled Easter eggs; they truly are one of the healthiest things you can put in the basket. Use them to make a pastel-tinted egg salad for lunch after the hunt (replacing the mayo with plain Greek yogurt)!

Enjoying the holiday doesn’t have to mean suffering from a sugar crash that evening. As with everything, keep the sweet treats in moderation and get creative with things outside the candy aisle.

March 30th, 2010

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