Happy Easter from the LGCFHT Dietitians!
This year, don’t get eggs-hausted over the Easter candy struggle.
Easter is hopping up quickly! Just like Halloween, Christmas, and birthdays, Easter is synonymous with treats. Easter is exciting for kids and adults alike because of all the goodies that come from the Easter Bunny! Usually these goodies consist of candies, chocolates, gummies, jellies, and any sweet confection you can think of. We’re not here to tell you that you can make candy healthier, but you can make sure your kids (and you) have a healthier relationship with candy and sweets, and all sugar-laden holidays.
Many parents have concerns over too much sweet stuff. What if their teeth rot? What if we give them a taste of the good stuff and they become obsessed? What if they give themselves a stomach ache? What about all the bad stuff we’ve heard about sugar in the media lately? These thoughts can lead parents to over-policing and restricting sweets and desserts. While well-intentioned, this can lead to a poor relationship with food, and a child is likely to binge, or hide and sneak their candy, and feel guilty!
“Children who have regular access to sweets and other forbidden foods eat them moderately. Children who don’t have regular access load up on them when they aren’t even hungry.” Check out this link to childhood-nutrition guru Ellyn Satter’s short article on Halloween candy, as it is very applicable to Easter candy as well. She explains how to help your kid be in tune with their needs and build intuitive eating skills.
If you do decide to let your kid have free-reign on Easter, you can keep these things in mind (from Jessica Penner, RD):
Remind them to pay attention to how their tummies feel. Trust them to listen to their bodies.
Check in to see if they’re still enjoying the taste and experience of eating the candy.
Remind them that the candy will be there the next day. Also, don’t throw out their candy when they’re not looking – this is an important opportunity for trust and responsibility.
Mom and dad should eat some candy, too! Normalizing candy keeps it from having the power of a forbidden fruit.
Make it a fun experience! Explore sorting candy into categories, do a taste test to determine favourites, or put them in colour groups.
Having this abundance of goodies can be an opportunity for kids to learn moderation and self-control – even if they have to learn the hard way from a tummy ache. And remember, an Easter egg hunt can be about much more than just sugar – it’s an opportunity to learn about sharing, team-work, hunger cues, and self-limits.
“Make [it] less about managing your child’s short-term sugar intake and more about teaching them how to manage their indulgences long-term. The latter is much more important.”
– Sarah Remmer, RD
If you are looking to make some changes to the Easter egg hunt this year, give these things a try:
Use smaller baskets or bags for collecting
Use smaller candy (Hershey’s kisses, small foil-wrapped eggs, mini chocolate eggs, fun-sized candy bars instead of full-sized). Portion these into plastic eggs.
Non-food prizes i.e. small toys, gum, art supplies, bubbles
Incorporate more physical activity by doing a scavenger hunt
Have one big prize at the end (instead of a bunch of candy along the way)
If you can, have an Easter egg hunt in a large backyard or park, where kids can do lots of running around to find their treats
Rice Krispie Treats (individually wrapped, lower in sugar and calories)
Chocolate covered nuts, seeds, or fruit for extra fibre
Lollipops or tootsie pops (takes longer to eat)
If you have more questions about how to become an intuitive eater, or how to raise one, book a FREE appointment with one of our registered dietitians.