What’s in your Easter basket?
As a parent, your responsibility to your child is to provide and nourish them to the best of your ability. I hope by reading this you will think twice about loading their easter basket with candy. Don’t get me wrong, I am not asking you to deprive your children of the deliciousness of a chocolate peanut butter cup or special treat. I am asking you to reconsider the “norm” when it comes to holiday sweets and treats. This is not just geared toward children, but to everyone. Our food supply has been bombarded with added sugar, dyes, and preservatives without us even realizing it.
I have highlighted a few of the most popular Easter candies: Whoppers Mini Robin Eggs, BRACHS Jelly Bird Eggs, and Peeps Marshmallow Chicks. When consuming these candies you are basically eating a few spoonfuls of sugar with some added artificial dyes and flavoring. What good can that do for our bodies, especially a child’s developing body?! You may be aware that sugar is void in nutrients but did you know, it can actually deplete nutrients from your body. This means less available nutrients, such as calcium, magnesium, and protein, for muscle and bone formation.
Besides sugar in various forms these candies also contain hydrogenated oils, artificial dyes, natural flavor, artificial flavor, and soy lecithin.
- Hydrogenated Oils have undergone processes that expose fragile oils to high heat and chemical solvents. These toxic oils interfere with the essential roles fatty acids play in creating a healthy body.
- Artificial Dyes can contribute to hyperactivity, migraines, cancer, anxiety, and behavioral problems. Some of these dyes have actually been banned in Europe!
- Natural Flavor is a sneaky name for the food industry to make us think the added flavor is good for us, but it can actually contain chemical solvents and preservatives.
- Artificial Flavor is from a man made source. Obviously, there is nothing good about that. Our body was not designed to recognize or utilize these man made components.
- Soy Lecithin consumption can contribute to a number of health issues. It can interfere with proper digestion of proteins causing digestive issue.
Now that you know what is in a few of these popular candies, do you still feel like they are something you should be providing your child? I hope not! Yes, having one here and there several times a year will not harm them, but realistically they probably are having more than that. So, instead of upsetting your child and not allowing them to have any candy, introduce a better alternative. We have to remember change is very difficult for us, imagine just how difficult it is for your child to understand why you are taking away something they enjoy so much. If your child is still young and has not been introduced to candy yet you are in luck! Start by offering healthier sweet treats such as raw bites and homemade gummies. If your child has already had the taste of sugary goodness then try replacing with homemade alternatives or one of other suggested brands below.
Whats wrong with a little sugar?
Do you have any idea how much sugar your child or even you are consuming in a day? It may surprise you if this is not something you consciously avoid on a day to day basis. Sugar is added to so many things such as yogurt, salad dressings, condiments, canned foods, cereals, granola bars, and so much more. Even things that are advertised as healthy can have added sugar. This is why it is so important to read the ingredient labels.
Nancy Appleton, PhD. The author of Suicide by Sugar highlights 141 ways sugar ruins your health. You can check out her full list here. I have chosen just a few to highlight:
- Weaken the immune system
- Cause hyperactivity, anxiety, inability to concentrate and crankiness
- Interfere with the body’s absorption of calcium, magnesium, and protein
- Lead to obesity
- Contribute to learning disorders and reduce learning capacity
- Decrease the amount of growth hormones in the body
- Contribute to diabetes.
- Lead to eczema in children
- Make many essential nutrients less available to cells
- Worsen the symptoms of children with attention deficit disorder (ADD)
Lastly, Sugar is an ADDICTIVE substance.
So, now that you do not want your children to consume any sugar, what are your options?
Choose A Better Alternative
Please keep in mind these suggestions are better alternatives, they are still not health providing foods. The only sweets your children should be having on a daily basis is fruit! On special occasions look for options using natural sweeteners; honey and maple syrup.
Best Option: Homemade Treats
- Gummies using Vital Proteins Pasture-Raised, Grass-Fed Beef Gelatin. See recipe below!
- Homemade Chocolate
- Mix 1/4 cup coconut oil with 1/4 cup cacao powder (you can also use cocoa powder if the cacao is too bitter for you or mix use both) and a teaspoon of honey. You can then add in any extras, such as almonds, cashews, peanuts, coconut, and/or sea salt. Pour into a chocolate mold, a baby food freezer tray, or place parchment paper in a container and spread chocolate mixture evenly. Freeze for a minimum of an hour and enjoy. Store in refrigerator or freezer.
- Homemade Nut Butter Cups
- Make chocolate as instructed above. Pour chocolate mixture into the cupcake liners, just enough to covet the bottom. Put in freezer for 1 hour. Once chocolate is solid add a scoop of your choice of nut/seed butter on top. You will most likely need to make more chocolate depending on how many you are making. Double the chocolate recipe using 1/2 cup of each cacao and coconut oil. Pour chocolate to cover the nut butter and place into freezer again until solid.
For other options try out any of the following brands:
- Alter Eco
- Equal Exchange
- Salazon Chocolate Co.
- Eating Evolved
- Heavenly Organics
- Nutiva O’Coconut
- Lara Bar Bites
- ONA Cookies
Replace the sweets with a gift
An Easter basket does not need to be filled with candies and sweets. You can always fill it with a coloring book, a ball, new flip flops, or sidewalk chalk. I recommend something that will contribute to getting your kids outside and moving! Or a board game the whole family can play together.
Instead of an Easter egg hunt with plastic eggs filled with candy, have your kids dye easter eggs for you to hide. Then you can make a scavenger hunt with the “treasure” being their Easter basket filled with something fun!
I am challenging you to get creative! Do not get trapped in the commercialization of the holiday. Create your own traditions that focus on the value of the actual holiday and that promotes health and happiness within your family.
This Easter get outside and move! Nourish the body with real foods and with loving company!
- 1 cup Strawberries (frozen works too)
- 1 Tbsp Grass-Fed Beef Gelatin
- 1/2 Juice from Lemon
- 1 tsp Honey
Blend strawberries, lemon juice, and honey. This should make about a cup of liquid. Heat 1/2 of the mixture on stove top until warm, you do not want it to boil. Add your gelatin to the other half and stir till mixed. Once the mixture on the stove top is heated, add it to the cold mixture and stir all together. Poor into molds or into a pan and refrigerate for about 2 hours or until it has solidified. Store in refrigerator.
If you would like to know more on how to better nourish your children, contact me!