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 can cut down on the amount of candy and chocolate your kids consume. Here are just a few ideas I’ve collected over the years, a couple of which we have done in our home:
• 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 or CD will immediately distract from the fact that the basket isn’t overﬂowing with junk.
• 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 my son, 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.
Happy Healthy Easter!
Wendy McCallum, LLB, RHN, is passionate about providing busy parents with the tools & support they need to feed their families wholesome food, so everyone can play, learn, and feel better! She is a mother of two terrific HRM kids, aged 8 & 9. For information and recipe ideas, visit her website.