Easter is right around the corner, and if you’re still gathering items to fill your Easter baskets, I’ve got you covered! This past year has been anything but normal, so what better time than now to try something new?
1. Choose a different kind of chocolate.
Instead of large chocolate bunnies and sweet candy eggs, choose smaller, individually wrapped candy to make it easier to manage portion sizes and sugar intake. Try dark chocolate since it is typically lower in added sugar and includes fiber and antioxidants. Chocolate covered raisins can also make a fun and delicious surprise in Easter eggs.
Another great choice is shelf-stable cartons of chocolate milk. Not only does chocolate milk taste great, but it’s also full of nutrients that are important for growing kids of all ages. Flavored milk contains the same 13 essential nutrients as plain milk, including vitamin D and calcium, which are often under-consumed and important for bone health. Research shows kids who drink flavored milk don’t consume more added sugar than those who drink plain milk, but they do tend to consume more of these necessary nutrients.
2. Include savory snacks, too.
Cheese and crackers is a kid-tested and parent-approved snack that has withstood the test of time. Savory, whole wheat crackers provide a nice balance to Easter sweets, and are a simple way to include more fiber, another commonly under-consumed nutrient. If your kiddo can’t have wheat, try crackers made with other whole grains, like quinoa, or look for cheese crisps at your local grocery store. Cheese is a delicious source of high-quality protein, and natural hard cheeses, like Cheddar or Monterey Jack, contain little or no lactose! If your child is lactose intolerant, natural cheese is an easy way to provide the health benefits of dairy while avoiding uncomfortable symptoms.
3. Try non-food treats.
Easter baskets aren’t limited to food! Include board games, funny conversation cards, sidewalk chalk, crafts, or outdoor games that the whole family can enjoy together. Create “vouchers” that your kids can cash in for a special family outing to enjoy ice cream or frozen yogurt together. The possibilities are endless!
When you’re done filling your baskets, visit The Dairy Alliance’s recipe page to plan your Easter menu. Whether it’s brunch, dinner, or dessert, including dairy in recipes is a sure fit for a wholesome meal!
Felicia Hazlegrove is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist in the Nashville area, with a passion for food and healthy living. She enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, and staying active. On her blog, The Brave Bite, Felicia shares recipes and tips to make living healthier as simple as possible. Connect with her on social media through Facebook and Instagram.