While Easter is a time to dress your kids up in cute floral dresses and put together fun Easter activities and treats, parents should also be aware of how much sugar they are letting their kids consume. Children easily overeat the daily recommended sugar intake during candy-packed holidays such as Easter and Halloween. According to America Heart Association, children under the age of 2 should not consume any added sugar and children 2 to 18 should limit themselves to no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day.
Did you know you know that one filled plastic egg can contain more than 30 grams of sugar? That amount is equivalent to two ice cream sandwiches. “The really big chocolate bunnies alone can have close to 100 grams of sugar. That’s four days’ worth of sugar.”, said Kristi King, a senior pediatric dietitian at Texas Children’s Hospital and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
This doesn’t mean you have to fill up your Easter baskets and eggs with broccoli, carrots, and Brussels sprouts. There are several healthier alternatives parents can use to lower the sugar consumption all the while keeping the kids happy.
Follow these tips to help dial back the sugar intake and amp up the fun for the entire family this Easter!
1. Get creative.
Fill your plastic eggs with rings, stickers, temporary tattoos, plastic balls, mini toy cars, and healthier treats like fruit chewables or granola bites. Not only are these little items inexpensive, but having a variety of fillers will keep the kids excited throughout their Easter egg hunt.
2. Include Toys
If you plan to make an Easter basket, ditch the big chocolate bunny and replace it with toys that is beneficial for your kids. Add board games, puzzles, books, art supplies, or a kite to your basket. Consider adding toys that promote exercise and good health. Jump-ropes, frisbees, hula hoops, basketballs, and soccer balls are a few good examples.
3. Don’t exclude all chocolates.
You want your kids to have fun eating their treats but not to overindulge in sugar. Choose your candy wisely. Instead of piling up with every kind, purchase your child’s favorite instead. That way, you are not excluding all chocolates and candies but limiting your kids to one type.
4. Purchase fun-size candy bars.
Be wise, but also be smart with the amount of candy you buy. You can cut a fraction of the sugar intake by purchasing fun or min-size chocolate and candy bars versus the full size.
5. Plan ahead!
Make sure you plan your family’s meals to accommodate any extra amount of sugar your family will consume throughout the week in addition to the Easter treats. Keep in mind that foods such as bread, yogurt, cereal, and juices do contain sugar.
6. Get active.
Besides eating, celebrate your Easter weekend by being active. Plan a family scavenger hunt or a family walk or bicycle ride. You can also play a game of soccer or any family-friendly sport that can provide a healthy dose of cardio.
7. Educate your kids about sugar.
It’s always beneficial to inform your kids about the health risks of consuming too much sugar. Allow them to ask questions and start a conversation that can help your kids develop a healthier eating habit.
Follow these tips and your family is set for a fun and healthy Easter holiday!