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Healthy Alternatives to Traditional Easter Bounty

Apr 03, 2011 | By Gillian FitzGerald

Easter for children is typically filled with chocolate eggs, sweets and candied nuts galore. A highlight of the calender year! But what may be a child's delight, can be a parent's fright as it generally means unhealthy treats. Some scrumptious, but healthy, alternatives to fill the Easter basket this year.

Raw nuts, dried fruit and carob nibs

Off The Shelf

A good variety of healthy Easter basket alternatives can be readily found in supermarkets or your local bulk store.
Most of these items are conveniently available in small quantities. But if not, they can be easily repackaged into small bags (also found at the local bulk or dollar store), which can be festively sealed with brightly coloured ribbon or raffia.

Depending upon your preference, you can choose between no- and low-refined sugar and fat items. If your child is used to eating candies and chocolates at Easter, it's probably a good idea to include treats with small amounts of chocolate or chocolate alternatives, such as carob, so their 'sweet tooth' is still satisifed. Bulk stores usually offer a range of chocolate-coated fruit and nuts. Just remember, the darker the chocolate, the lower the fat and sugar content.

Healthy ready-made alternatives include:

  • Fruit rolls or leather. Some dried fruit rolls are dusted in sugar, so just check if you are watching overall sugar content.
  • Dried fruit. Raisens, cranberries, apple, mango, banana, peach and pear. Buy them individually or as a mix.  
  • Nuts and seeds. Walnuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, Brazil and macadamia nuts are considered the six healthiest nuts to eat. Avoid pre-roasted or salted nuts as high roasting temperatures and added oils make it unhealthy.
  • Pretzels. Great low fat alternatives to potato chips.
  • Trail mix
  • Cereal bars. Check the ingredients as some cereal bars are pretty high in fat and refined sugars. Look for 'yoghurt' and 'low fat' or 'sugar' tags on the packaging.
  • Carob nibs and products. Often substituted for chocolate in low fat and sugar cooking, carob comes in convienently small Hershey-like nibs that will keep your child smiling.

With A Little DIY

If you're looking for a more exotic variety of healthy treats and don't mind getting your fingers a little dirty, here are a few quick homemade sweets you can make.

Chocolate dipped strawberries, banana lollies and pineapple coconut chunksBerries in melted chocolate
Prepare ahead of time or make it into a fun chocolate Easter fondu. Slowly melt medium to dark chocolate on a low heat either on the stove or in the microwave. Use a toothpick to coat fresh berries - strawberries, blueberries or raspberries - with chocolate. Dip in chopped raw nuts or coconut for variety. 
Tip: Use pure chocolate or carob for the healthiest treat.

Almond dates
Remove the date pit (or simply buy pre-pitted) and replace with an almond. Tastes like a nutty candy bar. Dip or drizzle with melted dark chocolate for variety.

Pineapple coconut chunks
Cut a pineapple (or buy) into chunks. Dip in honey and roll in coconut flakes for yummy snack.

Chocolate banana slices or lollies
Melt coconut oil and add cacao (raw chocolate) or carob (chocolate substitute) powder. Stir well. Dip fresh banana slices into the mix, let the excess drain off and freeze. Alternatively, for a healthy lolly, cut a banana in half and place it on a wooden skewer. Dip into melted chocolate, leaving it plain or cover with coconut flakes, chopped or crushed raw nuts.

Enjoy!

Tags : Easter, basket, alternative, healthy, treats, sweets, candies, candy, kids, children

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