Although an Easter basket filled with sweets and chocolate Easter bunnies have become a yearly tradition, they aren’t the healthiest thing for children. According to the National Confectioners Association, there are 90 million chocolate bunnies and 16 billion jelly beans produced for Easter each year. While these may be fun and festive, they ultimately add up to far too many calories and sugar for kids.
One survey of 1,000 people conducted by the National Confectioners Association found that 80 percent of parents put together Easter baskets for their children each year and that nearly all of those baskets contain some of the worst Easter treats for kids. With childhood obesity and diabetes on the rise, parents should be concerned about what is going into their children's Easter baskets. Here are 5 of the worst Easter treats for kids.
Solid Chocolate Bunnies
These bunnies come in a variety of sizes, some as big as a foot tall and weighing in at a full pound of chocolate, making these Easter staples a calorie, fat and sugar laden no-no for the human body. One average size solid chocolate bunny (1.5 ounces) contains:
- 240 Calories
- 14 grams of fat
- 8 grams of saturated fat (43 percent of the recommended daily allowance)
- 23 grams of sugar
A better option is a hollow bunny. They contain less chocolate so they are lower in calories, fat and sugar, but parents still need to monitor how much children eat, since the natural inclination is to eat the whole bunny at once.
Jelly beans resemble eggs, making them the perfect addition to any child's Easter basket, except for the fact that these little egg shaped treats are sugar bombs. One pitifully small serving of 14 jelly beans contains:
- 140 calories
- 27 grams of sugar (over 10 percent of the recommended daily allowance)
While it is true that jelly beans are fat free since they are essentially pure sugar, it's best to avoid them. A better option is Jordan almonds. Although these treats are still high in sugar, they also contain protein, beneficial fats as well as calcium and iron. That being said, parents still need to limit the number that a child consumes, but at least there are some benefits to eating them, unlike jelly beans.
Marshmallow treats, like Peeps, are another popular Easter confectionery that should be avoided as well. While one isn't that bad, typically no one eats just one. While the serving size is one, and entire package, which is what is typically consumed at once contains:
- 140 calories
- 35 grams of sugar
Again, these are fat free, but the amount of sugar contained in the package makes these a bad idea. Healthier marshmallow options are difficult to come by, so it's best to skip them altogether to avoid the sugar overload.
Peanut Butter Eggs
Who doesn’t love a peanut butter egg? While these may be tasty, they are far from healthy. Sold in single servings, each egg contains:
- 170 calories
- 10 grams of fat
- 3 grams of saturated fat (15 percent of the recommended daily allowance)
- 16 grams of sugar
What makes peanut butter eggs so bad is that they are high in fat and sugar; however, there is a silver lining. They do have protein and small amounts of calcium and iron. A better option is to go for the mini peanut butter cups, which keeps the serving size super small to keep the fat to a minimum or to go for dark chocolate peanut M&Ms. They still have fat and sugar, but research has shown dark chocolate to have several beneficial health effects.
Filled Chocolate Eggs
These eggs come with a variety of fillings, but none of them are even close to healthy. Just using the Cadbury Caramel Eggs as an example, each filled egg contains:
- 170 calories
- 8 grams of fat
- 4.5 grams of saturated fat (23 percent of the recommended daily allowance)
- 15 grams of sugar
The only silver lining to these eggs is that they do contain two grams of protein, but this doesn't mean that they are good for your kids. Though they really aren't any worse than a lot of the other chocolate products available at Easter, the amount of sugar and saturated fat in these little packages make them a health no-no.
Just because it's a holiday doesn't mean that people have to refrain from eating treats. There are a number of healthy Easter treats available that are much better options than these. If parents decide to let their kids have some of these treats, moderation is critical. Otherwise kids will be filling up on empty calories and loads of fat that they really don't need, which can lead to chronic health problems in the long run.