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Nutrition Articles  ›  Seasonal & Holiday Tips

Fun, Fit and Flavorful Easter Basket Goodies

Healthier Ways to Think Outside the Basket

-- By Sarah Haan, Registered Dietitian
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Easter is on its way! Along with Peter Cottontail, you and your kids will encounter more than your share of sugar-packed jellybeans, malted milk balls, cream-filled chocolate eggs and life-size chocolate bunnies. The common Easter basket is filled to the brim with pastel-colored candy eggs, bunnies, lambs and more, but while celebrating with sweets is fine in moderation, eating a pound of chocolate eggs in a matter of days doesn't fall under that definition.

This year, why not load your baskets and office candy jars with some alternative treats? Teach your children, grandkids, friends and co-workers that you can enjoy this spring holiday, basket and all, without overindulging in sugar. And when you do choose to treat yourself, be conscious of your choices. Instead of eating on a whim from a bottomless basket, plan your treats each day and track your calories. Don't throw away your wrappers when you're finished; keeping them in sight will become a visual reminder of how much you've already eaten, and you'll be less likely to keep reaching into that basket without thinking first.

Here are some more ideas that will inspire you to think outside the basket and still have fun this Easter!

Egg-xactly!
Those hard-boiled, decorated Easter eggs are a healthful addition to any basket. Don't let all that lean, filling protein go to waste! Peel and eat your dyed eggs plain, with or without the yolk. Consider slicing them onto a salad, including them in a wrap or pita, or making them into egg salad with light mayonnaise for a tasty springtime sandwich.

Plastic eggs are a great way to add a celebratory twist to your basket, but be careful how you stuff them. Tuck sugar-free gum, small boxes of raisins, or miniature packets of peanuts into the colorful eggs for a healthy twist. For kids, fill the eggs with age-appropriate prizes, such as beaded jewelry, lip balm, small toys or other fun tokens. Coins and small bills make for exciting treasure as well!

Beyond Bunny Carrots
For a festive look, pack orange crackers (like cheddar Goldfish made with whole grains) or dried apricots into a triangle pastry bag. Tie some green ribbon or raffia to the top and you have a healthy carrot-shaped goodie. You can even take a black permanent marker and draw a carrot onto the outside of the plastic bag to create a more distinguished look.

Create cute and tasty carrot-shaped homemade granola bars by baking your recipe in a pan and then cutting your masterpiece into lengthy triangles. Wrap them in baggies to pop into baskets. You can even add a few drops of orange food dye to make your "carrots" more colorful!
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About The Author

Sarah Haan Sarah Haan
Sarah is a registered dietitian with a bachelor's degree in dietetics. She helps individuals adopt healthy lifestyles and manage their weight. An avid exerciser and cook, Sarah likes to run, lift weights and eat good food. See all of Sarah's articles.

Member Comments

  • Dollar Tree has pedometers and I agree that they would be great for older children. I have one and they are quite accurate. My son is only 20mnth, so he'll be getting his favorite healthy snacks in new snack size reusuable containers & some other Dollar Tree items...a new set of kids size ishes, some learning flashcards, a coloring book and colors, bath toys and a little bit of candy. - 3/27/2013 1:08:49 PM
  • Dollar Tree has pedometers and I agree that they would be great for older children. I have one and they are quite accurate. My son is only 20mnth, so he'll be getting his favorite healthy snacks in new snack size reusuable containers & some other Dollar Tree items...a new set of kids size ishes, some learning flashcards, a coloring book and colors, bath toys and a little bit of candy. - 3/27/2013 12:09:45 AM
  • When they were little my kids used to get a DVD of their favorite cartoon, a new toothbrush, little Easter toys, and plastic Easter eggs with coins in them. Much more fun than boiled eggs and carrots (seriously??) - 3/26/2013 10:43:52 PM
  • How about putting a pedometer in each basket ? That way when you are trying to encourage 10,000 steps a day , they can see their progress . I also think a bag of baby carrots can be incorporated into an easter basket ( maybe with a couple Hidden Valley Ranch packets ) - 3/26/2013 8:07:30 PM
  • I'm always bummed when eggs are mentioned. They are high in saturated fat and saturated with chemicals, not to mention the inhumane treatment of chickens in factory farms. Go vegan. - 3/26/2013 6:45:32 PM
  • Jello Jiggler Eggs can be bright colors and fun! - 3/26/2013 3:57:31 PM
  • Cadbury mini eggs. I can't even think about them without gaining weight. - 3/26/2013 3:21:43 PM
  • We color code the eggs so an older child can only find the blue eggs which are hidden more stealth than the yellow eggs which are for a younger child. Then I often leave notes like "go look in the hallway closet for a surprise!" Then I will hide new flip flops or a jump rope - something that was too large for a plastic egg. This has kept my older kids continuing look for eggs with ther younger siblings since their prizes are age appropriate. (Like an iTunes giftcard). - 3/26/2013 2:22:43 PM
  • Wow!! Great ideas that I never thought about. Thank you for the tips. Now I know what I will put in my granddaughter's Easter basket. - 3/26/2013 12:00:31 PM
  • Since it's Spring, we started the habit of giving our kids a plant for Easter. One year it was one of those eggs where grass grows from it. One year it was a pepper seeds they could grow during the fall another year it was bulbs in bloom then planted in the fall to have every year. - 3/26/2013 10:27:17 AM
  • Love the idea of including jump ropes and balls! We have always dyed and hidden real eggs, not candy, so no temptations there! We store them in the fridge right away and eat them all week! - 4/18/2011 3:52:40 PM
  • Hey thanks for this....so love easter candy ...not really craving it yet....so that might be good but the other ideas awesome.....thank
    s - 4/18/2011 2:45:27 PM
  • Love these ideas! We have bubbles and other outside toys for this year's baskets. I think I might see about a scavenger hunt for the kids to find their baskets. Sounds like so much fun! - 4/18/2011 9:40:47 AM
  • Go to any store that sells supplies for decorating cakes, such as Michaels craft store. Buy cake decorating frosting bags, they are triangle-shaped clear plastic. You can line with orange tissue (to resemble a carrot) and fill with low calorie treats. Or you can leave clear to show off the contents. Put a green ribbon around the top of the filled carrot. Remember to watch portion sizes - I would put homemade low cal things in the carrot, and high cal things like chocolate, nuts, and dried fruit in small plastic eggs. - 4/13/2011 4:44:53 PM
  • K_RENEE
    good suggestions - 4/1/2010 10:37:53 PM