Healthy Easter Candy Alternatives

easter1Marketing Easter candy has become big business, and it’s really our children who lose. It’s easy to think “oh, just this once.” But that mentality has a lasting effect. Even “just this once” candy can alter our taste buds, making us crave worse foods in the following weeks and months. It’s these “just this once” holidays where children learn what’s normal and where they develop habits they keep for the rest of their lives.

Sugary, refined carbohydrates also change the development of the bones and structure of our children’s faces and airways. The earlier children begin to have dental issues like cavities, the more complicated their oral health gets in adulthood.

This all might sound very serious, but this doesn’t have to put a damper on the Easter holiday. You don’t have to sacrifice any of the fun just because you want to model moderation and healthy habits during the holidays. There are so many ways to enjoy your Easter with an indulgent treat. Here are some favorites.

Dark chocolate: Properties in dark chocolate have been shown by several studies to be better than fluoride at strengthening and remineralizing teeth.

Monk fruit: Also called “lo han” sweetener, monk fruit is 300 times sweeter than sugar and is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. One study determined it had anti-cancer and anti-diabetic benefits. Like all sweeteners, beware not to over-use it to cause further sugar cravings. Look for pure lo han sweetener with no additives.

Coconut sugar: Baking with coconut sugar is a nice alternative to cane sugar. It has a lower glycemic index (a measure of how quickly a food raises blood sugar levels) and slightly lower amounts of fructose. It also contains nutrients like zinc, iron, antioxidants, and inulin, which acts as a prebiotic.

Real eggs: Boiling eggs and placing the focus on decorating them with natural dyes and stickers can still be enormous fun on the Easter holiday. Make them pasture-raised eggs for a healthy dose of Vitamin K2.

Paleo coconut bars: Paleo coconut bars are super decadent and delicious.

Sweet potato bunnies: Many families are crazy for all things sweet potato, so try out this recipe and see if you don’t love these sweet potato bunnies.

Low sugar chocolate peanut butter bar: Elemental Raw makes the most delicious, raw chocolate superfood seed bar. You can take these with you when mountain biking, skiing, or hiking.

Broccoli and carrots: Believe it or not, kids (and adults!) are often craving something green after being surrounded by candy all day. Keep vegetables festive for the holiday. Slather them in healthy grass-fed butter (loaded with Vitamin K2) and your kids won’t complain about having vegetables.

Let us know at Barbara Bell DDS, PA what some of your favorite healthy treats are on Easter!