Jelly beans, Peeps and chocolate bunnies (oh my)! How much sugar is really in your child’s Easter basket?
“Health and Human Services (HHS) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines suggest the amount of sugar consumed should not exceed 10 percent of the daily calorie intake. There is far more sugar in the Easter baskets,” said Marissa Martinez, Driscoll Children’s Hospital Registered Dietitian.
A pack of the popular Peeps marshmallows (about 5 Peeps) has 34 grams of sugar, while a single Cadbury solid chocolate bunny has a whopping 24 grams of sugar. Although shaped like a healthy food, the Reese’s peanut butter egg contains 16 grams of sugar.
“The amount of candy in the basket and the sugar adds up,” said Martinez. “We don’t want to eliminate candy completely because we still want kids to have a fun time, but we offer other ideas and suggestions,” she said.
Martinez provided these helpful tips when it comes to having a healthy Easter:
- Swap out the sugar — Get creative when you are filling your Easter eggs and baskets.“If parents are going to make their own baskets, fill the eggs with stickers or toys rather than candy,” said Martinez.
- Consume candy in moderation — The same rule applies for adults and kids when it comes to nutrition in general. “Choose their favorite candy and give them that one piece instead of a huge variety of different candy,” said Martinez.
- Dessert after dinner — To avoid missing out on nutrient-dense foods, Martinez suggests kids wait to eat their candy after they’ve had their vegetables.
- Sharing is caring — Split up the candy between siblings, or give some to mom and dad to reduce the amount of sugar one child is consuming. “If you purchase a pre-made Easter basket and you have multiple children, divide the candy into smaller baskets,” said Martinez.
- Sweat it out — Even the fun-size candy bars have almost 80 calories. Martinez suggests going on a walk or doing a fun activity, like a scavenger hunt, to help burn off calories from the candy.