No one is going to deprive me of chocolate on Easter Day – after all that’s what Easter is all about….. 😉
However, we now live in a world where chocolate and sweets aren’t just saved for Easter, Christmas and other special occasions. Today these foods are consumed by young children on a daily basis, often more than once or twice a day. They’ve become our dietary staples – the bread and butter of today’s world – which has also helped bring us to today’s very big problem – the obesity crisis!
Chocolate and sweets are always going to be a favourite for young children, so why not use this Easter to introduce kids to some of the joys of other, Easter themed, healthier foods.
Here I’ve listed some child-and-health-friendly ideas to bring out this Easter – alongside their favourite chocolate eggs, of course…for a Healthy Easter!
Hot cross buns – an absolute favourite of mine and a choice that children love too. These are great for breakfast or as a snack during the day. Many places also offer wholemeal versions of hot cross buns, which are a better option for children and adults alike – helping you feel fuller and leaving a little less room for that mountain of choccy eggs.
Experimental salads – the start of spring means it’s a great time to start having salads again. But salads don’t have to be boring and consist solely of cucumber, tomato and lettuce. Why not try adding beetroot for some colour or making a healthy potato salad with mint and chives. You could use some new greens that your children haven’t tried before such as curly kale, spinach and rocket which are packed full of nutrients. Alternatively go against the grain and add some fruit into your salad mix. Strawberries, lettuce and a splash of basalmic vinegar is surprisingly delicious!
Dark chocolate squares – these often contain more nutrients than average chocolate and aren’t usually as moreish, meaning you can eat less whilst still feeling satisfied that you’ve had your chocolate kick. Try it on the kids but they may not quite buy it yet….
Home bake your cake – get baking and make some cakes or treats at home involving the kids. This way you know exactly what’s going in to the recipe and can even control the amount of sugar used. Often recipes can have their sugar reduced by at least ¼ without any change in the texture or taste. Additionally base your cakes on fruits and vegetables such as carrot, lemon and banana or make a warm batch of fruit scones. These are all great options for kids and help to make sure they are getting some nutrients instead of just sugar and fat.
Stick to a mealtime routine – avoid skipping meals and allowing your children to fill up on chocolate all day long, as this may mean that they miss out on a number of essential nutrients during the day. Offering their usual mealtimes also helps to fill them up and stops them gorging on large amounts of chocolate in-between meals.
Use seasonal fruits as snacks – include fruits such as bananas, apples, raisins and throughout the day and even offer them as puddings. Rhubarb and apple crumble is a simple and healthy option for an Easter treat after dinner.
Carrots!! – What does the Easter bunny eat? Focus on nutrient-rich carrots as snacks and treats for the Easter period. You could even include them in your Easter Egg hunt, leaving trails of carrots, radishes, sugar snap-peas and lettuce around – all left by the Easter Bunny!
Lastly, don’t forget about all the FUN activities you can plan with kids for the Easter weekend too. Nothing beats family time and having a good time together!