These days, any major holiday can easily turn into a sugary overload and result in cranky kids and depleted immune systems. As you know, I’m not against the occasional treat, but the problem is, it’s not just Easter, it’s weekly birthday parties, Valentine’s, Christmas, end-of-year parties, start-of-summer parties, won-the-medal parties, made-the-BullySmart program parties, hockey’s over parties, and the list goes on. When treats becomes a too-regular occurrence they become a food group, which is exactly what has happened in Canada: Stats Canada reports that kids are getting more than 25% of their daily calories from sugar! This is in large part why almost a third of our kids are overweight or obese and our type II diabetes rate is climbing steadily, in adults and young children.
If your children are like mine, they have reliable sugar “dealers” outside the home: coaches, teachers, friends’ parents, and grandparents, not to mention the Bunny. You might feel like it’s out of your control, but there are loads of creative ways you and the Bunny can cut down on the amount of candy and chocolate your kids consume over Easter. Here are just a few ideas I’ve collected over the years:
- The Bunny can leave a basket for each child with a love note or card, a couple of small chocolates, and a small non-food gift. A little stuffed animal, book, movie gift certificate, Easter craft kit, gardening-themed items or CD will immediately distract from the fact that the basket isn’t overflowing with junk. One of my favourite Bunny basket’s is stuffed with fun kids’ kitchen accessories!
- The Bunny can hide plastic eggs filled with blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. He might even scatter a few chocolate eggs amongst the berry-filled eggs. At the end of the trail, the Bunny leaves one small chocolate bunny in the easter basket, maybe with other gifts if that’s the Bunny’s tradition in your house. Then your family can make pancakes or waffles with all the found berries… a fun & healthy idea for Easter morning!
- Sometimes the Bunny leaves secret clues in eggs to the “big stash”, instead of chocolate, so the search becomes a bit of a scavenger or treasure hunt. Kids absolutely love solving the puzzle, and a small wrapped gift for each is the prize at the end of the trail.
- If your kids are money-lovers like mine, the Bunny might hide eggs with dimes or quarters in them, and a note in the morning advising that the money collected in the egg hunt can be used to purchase items at the Easter Store once all the loot has been found. The Store can sell small dollar store items or even a couple of larger gifts like a much-desired book, action figure or CD.
Why not try some healthier desserts & snacks over the weekend to balance out the traditional heavy meals that accompany the festivities? Throw together a pretty tray of fruit shaped like an Easter egg (I got my base tray at Target) or get creative with some veggies. Use an empty egg carton to display a variety of healthy snacks in a holiday “bento box” style! Kids love colourful food, whether it’s candy or kiwis!
Happy Healthy Easter!