It’s Easter this weekend, and for kids and adults alike it means one thing: a big fat basket filled with chocolates and candy! Instead of traditional Easter goodies that are unhealthy, high calorie, fat-filled, sugar-rich confections, why not get creative this year with these deliciously healthy alternatives? From Hollywood stars like Julia Roberts to First Lady Michelle Obama, even celebrities are ensuring that Easter is celebrated as a healthy holiday for the whole family. Here are five healthy alternatives to candy that we’re sure everyone at home would approve of.
Before the kids turn up their noses, just remind them that it’s the Easter bunny’s favorite snack. Wrap the carrots in a creative way and stick them in your Easter basket; you could also add a box of a calorie-free dip to eat them with– made of either blue cheese or even sugar free chocolate. Carrots are rich in vitamin A and health benefits include better vision, healthier skin and stronger teeth and gums. A Harvard University study also showed that individuals who ate more than six carrots a week were less likely to suffer a stroke and had a lower risk of getting heart disease.
Commercially packed fruit snacks contain plenty of sugar and preservatives; instead go down to the local market and buy some fresh fruit with which you can fill your child’s Easter basket. Fruits are not only delicious but super healthy too. Rich in essential vitamins A and C, and many other nutrients, they control cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, help prevent heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer as well. Grapes, strawberries, blueberries, orange, banana or apple slices are great healthy choices and easy to put inside any basket.
Say the word cookies, but unlike most high calorie and sugar-rich versions, oatmeal cookies have significant iron and protein content and benefit your health. Oats contain high amounts of nutrients and vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin E and vitamin K with a very small amount of fat and calories. Research shows that consuming high-fiber oatmeal is good for preventing and fighting heart disease, cancer, diabetes and even losing weight. Oatmeal cookies containing cranberries, dates, raisins and other dried fruits are the healthiest and tastiest ones.
The all-time favorite snack for kids and adults alike, popcorn is sugar free, gluten free, fat free and very low in calories. Research has also shown that it has more iron than even eggs or spinach. Known to be a great source of dietary fiber, as it’s a whole grain, it’s also full of antioxidants. The concentration of polyphenols found in popcorn is higher than the amount found in most fruit. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, polyphenols can prevent cardiovascular disease, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, osteoporosis and even diabetes. Instead of buying microwave popcorn, eat only air-popped popcorn.
The perfect mini snack for weight watchers and weight lifters alike, yogurt is loaded with a large number vitamins that can give you stronger bones and fend off colds. An excellent source of calcium, potassium, protein and vitamin B12, eating yogurt makes your T cells (they battle infections and illnesses in the body) stronger and more active, prevents high blood pressure, and even help keep your nervous system functioning properly. Instead of the flavored variety, look for natural, low fat or fat free Greek yogurt as these have more protein than regular packs.