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Tips for a Healthier Spring Candy Fling

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Candy tempts me just as it does everyone else, especially when it is chocolate. Estimates suggest that Americans spend over $2 billion a year on Easter candy making it the third largest candy-consuming holiday. In a SparkPeople poll asking which Easter candy is most tempting, Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs are the leader. They are the most tempting to me too especially after Easter when they are on the clearance table!
Many of us have a love-hate relationship with chocolate. We love the melt-in-your-mouth texture and flavor of chocolate especially when we enjoy it with family and friends during celebrations. We hate the guilt that loving it brings as well as the potential damage it can do to our weight loss goals. With Easter only a few days away, the clearance candy is not far behind. Here are some strategies to help keep your spring candy fling in check.

Consider Non-Candy Options
If you are the basket-filler for children or grandchildren, selecting non-candy options is a healthier option for everyone. Not only does it help children learn that candy doesn't have to be the focus of holidays, it helps keep the temptation out of arms reach for you as well. Instead of filling plastic eggs with sugary treats, consider options such as a few real coins instead of chocolate ones or small stickers or temporary tattoos instead of jellybeans. Skip the large chocolate bunny or the squishy yellow Peeps in favor of colorful gel pens, travel games, nail polish, or a yo-yo. Another option is to create a themed basket focused on a specific interest. For the budding herbalist, perhaps a gardening themed basket filled with packets of seeds, child sized gardening tools and small containers to start their seeds. A camping enthusiast might enjoy a flashlight, bug jar, magnifying glass and bug field guide. For the swimmer that just can't wait for the beach select things like sunscreen, sunglasses, and a visor with supplies to decorate it. Be creative and personalize the basket in new and exciting ways.
Focus on Time Instead of Sweets
When I recall some of my fondest childhood memories, I find they don't center on the candy that was in my basket but the special time my family spent together. When we were very young, my brothers and I always had a special brown egg in our Easter baskets. When I was older, I helped my mother make those special eggs using onionskins. We never had Play-Doh in our house (although our Grandma's house did!) but spent many hours playing with the homemade play dough our mother would frequently make in a rainbow of colors. Some years we would cut out and dry spring shapes before Easter so we could paint them after the eggs and baskets had been found. My mother cherishes those ornaments from many years ago and hangs them on an Easter tree each spring as part of her decorations (she has another set for the Christmas tree as well). Perhaps this the year to start a new tradition that not only creates memories for years to come but also fills time with other things besides eating calorie laden sweet treats.
If Candy is a Must, Be Smart
Sometimes it just isn't a holiday without a treat. Whether you prefer chocolate or sticky goodness, be choosy with your selection and portion sizes when selecting candy you are going to be tempted to eat. Consider the treats you can enjoy for 100 calories or less such as twenty-four Jelly Belly jellybeans, six Cadbury Milk Chocolate Mini Eggs or three Marshmallow Peeps. If you find that you can't keep the sweets off your mind, it might be a good time to consider the possibility of a sugar addiction that needs to be addressed. If you think it is time to learn how to control your sweet cravings and incorporate sugar into your diet without going overboard, the SparkPeople Official 4-week "Tame Your Sweet Tooth Challenge" might be a great after Easter goal.
Each spring in addition to flowering trees and new baby chicks, there are candy temptations around every corner. This year, enjoy a taste of your favorite sweet treat but focus on non-candy options for family celebrations.
What strategies do you use to limit your candy intake? What non-candy activities and traditions did you enjoy as a child?

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