9 ways to makeover the Easter basket

Chocolate bunnies, marshmallow peeps, jelly beans, oh my! This Easter, consider some fun alternatives to candy.

Healthy alternatives to all that candy

Chocolate bunnies, marshmallow peeps, jelly beans and, oh, those cream-filled eggs. The list of Easter candy favorites is endless. So are the calories, sugar and fat consumed with each bite. This Easter, consider asking the bunny to bring some fun alternatives to candy.

Jenita Lyons, health and wellness manager with the Children’s Hospital Foundation Office of Child Advocacy of Norton Children’s Hospital and busy mom, has some great ideas to share.

“Easter baskets don’t have to be full of sweet treats,” Lyons said. “There are a lot of great and affordable alternatives that allow you to reduce the sugar and increase the activity.”

9 Easter candy alternatives sure to bring smiles and hours of fun (without the sugar crash!):

1. Gift cards: These don’t have to be in large dollar increments and are great for picky teens. Even for younger kids, a gift card to a frozen yogurt shop, a toy store or even the movie theater is a great option.

2. Swimming gear: Bathing suits, goggles and pool noodles are already in the stores. Turn an Easter basket into a pool package. Don’t forget the sunscreen, lip balm and sunglasses for protection against the sun.

3. Gardening supplies: If you and your child plan on planting a garden this spring, go ahead and get a few supplies now. Gloves, kneeling pad, seed packets and a book on gardening make for a great start to the planting season.

4. Activity toys: Easter is a sign of spring, so get the kids outside! A jump rope, bucket of sidewalk chalk, Frisbee or a kite make for endless hours of fun outside.

5. Arts and crafts: Coloring books and crayons, stickers, scrapbooking supplies; any hobby shop will provide more than a basket’s worth of ideas.

6. Sports stuff: A basketball, soccer ball, badminton and volleyball sets are great ideas for kids of all ages, especially siblings or cousins who may be getting together to celebrate the holiday. It may require more of a financial investment but will lead to hours of fun over several seasons.

7. Creative coupons: The gift of your time may be right up your child’s alley. A lunch date with mom, an extra book at bedtime, a trip to the park — make coupons that can be redeemed at your child’s leisure and will ensure that you get to spend more time together.

8. Reading and education: Books, flash cards and educational games are another great alternative. Whether it involves you reading with your child or them reading to you, this basket can demonstrate that learning is fun when done together.

9. Easter egg money hunt: Instead of filling plastic eggs with candy, consider coins (coins can be a choking hazard, so keep this one for kids over age 4. Kids get activity while hunting for the eggs, and they also learn the value of money. Have a couple of kids and want to make it even for all? Consider color-coding eggs or marking them with names.

“The possibilities are endless,” Lyons said. “By taking your child’s interests and hobbies into consideration, you can create a basket full of Easter joy!”

… And maybe throw one little chocolate bunny into the mix. But just one.

For more tips from health experts on parenting and keeping children safe, visit Norton Children’s Hospital’s Family Health and Safety section.


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