As I was putting together Matty’s Easter basket this year, I started thinking about the origin of the Easter Basket. Okay, more specifically, I was thinking, when did we get to a point when we think it’s okay to give kids a huge basket of candy?
Did you know:
- in 2011, Americans consumed 7 billion pounds of candy
- in 2012, Americans spent $2.1 billion on Easter candy
- the average 7 oz chocolate bunny has 1,050 calories; that’s how many calories a 4-5 year old needs for the whole day, and MORE than a 2-3 year old needs for the entire day
- most Easter baskets easily contain over 3,500 calories
- the bacteria that causes tooth decay and plaque feed off of sugar
- candy is full of artificial dyes, which have been proven to be a carcinogen (cancer-causing); even the FDA acknowledges this; furthermore, these dyes are linked to hyperactivity and inattentiveness in kids
- most sweets contain high fructose corn syrup; hfcs does serious damage to the liver, which affects metabolism, thyroid, kidneys, heart, and of course leads to obesity; it’s also been proven to contain traces of mercury
- “Spikes & dips” caused by eating too much sugar can take days to recover from; it’s best to be sure to eat protein with all sugar to help stabilize blood sugar
I could continue, but you get the point. Are we a strictly sugar-free, candy-free, dye-free household? No, but we’re working on it. And we’re conscious of our choices. Which means we couldn’t just hand over a candy-filled basket to our little guy, no matter what fun traditions we remember as a kid. But we did include some fun treats and tasty, healthier choices.
So, what did we include?
- Spring-themed coloring book
- recycled tree colored pencils
- bubble bucket
- Silly Putty (it’s egg-shaped!)
- Melissa and Doug play fruit set (found on clearance for $6 at a local store!)
- Bunny marshmallow sack (gluten free, kosher marshmallows found at Whole Foods)
- Enjoy Life chocolate chips
- Cheddar crackers “carrot” (Use Goldfish or Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies)
I’ve heard the argument, “we had candy when we were kids, and we’re okay”. Or something along those lines. And it’s true. But there’s more dyes, more sugar, bigger servings, and high fructose corn syrup wasn’t even really around 40 years ago. Kids aren’t going to “miss” what they don’t expect or don’t know. And I think kids appreciate the value of a few small pieces of candy or chocolate more than they appreciate a whole basket full; it’s the theory of having too many toys–kids get overwhelmed and get a mindset of more, more, more and are never fulfilled.
I’m really not a buzzkill. I promise! I’m fun! Look, I made a marshmallow bunny and a cracker carrot!
1. For the carrot, use a decorator’s or pastry bag. Fill with cheddar crackers. Twist top and tie with green ribbon.
2. For the bunny, use a regular treat bag. Fill with marshmallows. Seal with tape. Add wiggly eyes, a pom pom nose, paper whiskers, a ribbon bow, paper ears, and draw a mouth with a Sharpie.