These next few weeks leading up to Easter are filled with chocolate and candy temptations. Even for the most strong-willed amongst us, it’s hard to resist those Cadbury Creme Eggs, colorful Peeps, mini eggs, and chocolate bunnies, which we have to walk past every time we go to the store. We know that this Easter candy is junk, but when it’s as prolific as it currently is, it’s hard to avoid.
Most Easter candy is questionably colorful (in some cases, almost neon), filled with artificial colors, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, and long lists of other ingredients we can’t pronounce. But when we’re filling those Easter baskets, choosing which giant chocolate eggs to gift to family and friends, or buying a sweet treat for ourselves, it’s really tricky to see what the healthier options could be. Besides joining in the Easter fun by pretending to be the Easter rabbit and munching on a carrot, what options do we have?
One simple rule to avoid the unhealthiest of Easter candy is to stick to dark chocolate. Dark chocolate eggs, dark chocolate bunnies, dark chocolate chickens, and solid dark chocolate mini eggs, are all a dramatic improvements on their milk or white chocolate counterparts. If you can find organic versions, even better, and the best quality chocolates will have the least ingredients. Although it is still chocolate, dark chocolate has so many health benefits that white and milk chocolate don’t have: It reduces blood pressure, has a calming effect on the brain, is packed full of antioxidants, and is full of iron, potassium, and magnesium.
If you’re desperate for some sugary candy, look for vegan, all-natural gummy bears. They taste just as good as the junk-filled real things, but contain none of the concerning, unknown ingredients. Made with organic fruit juice, organic sweeteners, and natural colorings, these are a guilt-free Easter candy you can happily feed your kids. If you can’t find any in your local store, these healthier vegan candies are available online at websites such as the Natural Candy Store.
We all love filling Easter baskets with bright, colorful jelly beans, in all their unpredictable flavors. For the ‘healthy’ version of these popular treats, seek out some bags of all-natural jelly beans. Just because you don’t want to fill yourself with artificial, chemical flavors and colors doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy these sugary beans.
It wouldn’t be Easter without a huge selection of bright and beautiful Peeps sitting on the Easter table, decorating all Easter desserts, and nestled in our Easter baskets. Sadly, these are perhaps the most junk-filled of all Easter candies, but don’t worry, we have a solution: homemade peeps. Although this solution does involve setting aside a day to spend in the kitchen playing with sugar and colorings, it is worth it. You need to make your own marshmallows, stamp them out with cookie cutters into the shapes of your favorite peeps animals, and toss them in colored sugar. It sounds ambitious, but if you want to avoid the junk this Easter, this is the best possible option.
So put down that handful of Creme Eggs you just grabbed — you know you won’t be able to resist eating them all before Easter anyway — and make this Easter slightly less unhealthy with dark chocolate, homemade treats, vegan candies, and, if you’re really testing how far you can go with the healthy Easter vibe, chocolate-covered raisins, nuts, and berries.