Easter can be a wonderful Spring celebration, filled with family traditions. But some of those traditions can be not so healthy. Here are some different tips and methods for having a healthy yet enjoyable Easter holiday with your family.
Fill the Basket With Healthy Goodies
Talking about the Easter baskets is a good place to start when discussing having a healthier Easter, since this tends to be where a lot of people offer their children unhealthier options. It is also one of the more popular traditions for this holiday. If you want your kids to enjoy their baskets but without sugar-laden sweets, there are some super fun and easy options!
Get Organic Fruit Snacks – Instead of giving them little bags of jelly beans, why not get fruit snacks as well? Many of these also have a lot of sugar, so try to find the natural or organic varieties that don’t contain a lot of sugar or extra preservatives.
Try Chocolate-Covered Fruit – If you want to give your kids chocolate, but in a healthier way, you can try making chocolate covered fruit. They are getting all the nutrition from the fruit you use and preventing them from having pure, solid chocolate at the same time. That little bit of chocolate covering banana slices or half of the strawberries really isn’t much as compared to that size of solid chocolate.
Choose Dark Chocolate – Another way to give your kids chocolate in their Easter basket but in a healthier way is choosing small pieces of dark chocolate. The content is less, plus dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants. It is so much better for both kids and adults, but it is still yummy!
Add More Non-Treat Items - Don’t underestimate the power of non-treat gifts! You probably fill up the basket with mostly candy and maybe a small toy or two. Why not switch it around? Have just one small type of candy, then have little books, stickers, or small inexpensive items in the basket. It is still fun for them to open, but you don’t have to worry about hundreds of grams of sugar.
Here are some ideas of items we have put in my son's basket in the past (affiliate links):
Healthier Plastic Egg Contents – Instead of filling eggs with candy for the basket or Easter Egg Hunt opt for non-edible goodies like little stickers or small toys.
The best Easter Egg Hunt we had at my house was when I filled the eggs with Legos. After the hunt, the kids varying in age from 5-10 sat quietly for almost an hour building and trading pieces with each other.
Healthier Easter Meal Options
Besides the baskets, the Easter Meal is also a minefield of unhealthy options. Be it brunch or dinner, you can make some simple swaps and still create an enjoyable family meal.
Make Everything From Scratch
It may be more work, but this step will help you make healthier meals simply by having more control over the ingredients. You will reduce the sodium, preservatives and sugars in the dishes as well as allowing you yo control how much butter, cheese, and other fats go into the dishes. Plus, it can be a fun family activity your kids are able to help with.
Here are some healthier options to try out:
- Use coconut oil or olive oil instead of butter
- Cut the amount of cheese needed by half
- Don’t use anything that is boxed or frozen
- Use only low-sodium and low-sugar ingredients
Be Careful With Your Breads and Sides
Another aspect of Easter dinner that tends to pack on the fat and calories is the side dishes and bread. If you are a low-carb diet, keep in mind you can have a big family dinner without eating even a piece of bread or a starchy vegetable. Instead, have your fill of ham or lamb, deviled eggs, and vegetables. Skip the mashed potatoes and opt for a side salad or double veggies instead.
When you are preparing sides, follow the previous instructions by cutting back on butter, cheese, and other fattening ingredients. You can easily transform some of your favorite dishes to a healthier option by making garlic green beans instead of the dreaded canned green bean casserole and using sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes.
Focus on Better Portion Control
Finally, focus on portion control. With family meals like Easter, you can eat a little of everything (within reason), but just watch how much you get. Learn to visualize what a proper portion is. For example, a 3-4 ounce piece of ham should fit into the palm of your hand. Try to have such a palm-sized portion of each dish, one deviled egg instead of two, and cut back on the butter on your roll and you will be doing much better.
Another trick with portion control is to look at your plate as you add food to it. Leave a little bit of space between each food item and stop when you can’t fit any more without food touching. This keeps you from piling it up and having too much to eat.
Healthier Recipe Ideas
Here are some recipes I have on my food blog that are easy and healthier choices.
Increasing the amount you exercise leading up to the holiday is going to help offset some of the extra calories you will be consuming, plus give you more energy. When you are consuming a high amount of sugar, it really saps your energy once the short-term sugar high wears off. Walking during your lunch break or enjoying weekend hikes with the kids can help quite a bit.
Start a new tradition and build some exercise into your Easter celebration:
- Go on a family hike or bike ride before the meal to work up an appetite.
- Go for a walk after dinner and before dessert to keep from dozing on the couch.
- Head to the park for kite flying, frisbee throwing or a game of catch.
- If the snow is still on the ground where you are consider some skiing, sledding or other winter activity before it is gone.
- Get the kids fitness accessories in their Easter basket and spend some time using them.
- Enjoy some living room dance time after the Easter egg hunt.
Easter is a time of renewal and hope. Making healthier choices for celebrating Easter can be the start (or continuation) of a healthier life for you and your family. After all swim suit season is just around the corner.