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68 Easter treats to give instead of sugar-filled candies

Connie Bennett MSJ, CHHC is a former sugar addict and author of Sugar Shock! (Penguin Group). Her book has been endorsed by many experts, including Oprah, regular and bestselling YOU author Dr Mehmet Oz, who says it 'spills the beans.'...

Alternatives to candy

Colorful candies: In recent years, that's what Easter is all about. Indeed, every year, the Easter bunny with the cute cotton tail comes bearing lots of pastel-colored candies for our nation's kids. Sure enough, our unsuspecting children consume these candies in big quantities. And that spells sugar shock and blood sugar bedlam.

Girl with Easter Basket

Ban the Easter bunny?

So I suggest that we just ban the Easter bunny! Of course, I'm joking, but let's tame this cute, candy-toting creature for the sake of our children's moods, health and waistlines.

Because, let's face it, eating a bunch of candies and soft drinks -- what most kids do -- could turn your mild-mannered kids into "Sugar Brats." In other words, they could become moody, spaced out, confrontational, depressed, quarrelsome, hyperactive, rowdy, raging and tantrum throwing.

And that's not all. Over time, that typical American child, who consumes a lot of candies, cookies, cakes, chips, soda and other fast-acting, refined culprit carbs could become obese or overweight -- and develop blood sugar problems such as hypoglycemia, insulin resistance or even type 2 diabetes.

Consider fun & healthy alternatives to candy

So this Easter -- the second biggest candy-eating holiday, falling just behind Halloween -- take positive action. Don't ply your kids with sweets to please them. Don't set in motion a sugar habit that could lead to hypoglycemia, insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. Just ditch the marshmallow treats. Dump the jelly beans. Say no to those chocolate bunnies. Instead, give your kids Easter fun by having them hunt for small, fun, non-edible treats, many of which you can place inside colorful, plastic eggs.

Here are 68 non-edible ideas, most of them low priced, to usher in Easter joy.

  1. Tiny Frisbees
  2. Small slinkee
  3. Small bottle of bubbles
  4. Movie pass
  5. Video rental coupon
  6. Bunny-themed finger puppets
  7. Jump rope
  8. Kazoos
  9. Whistles
  10. Play Doh™
  11. Silly puddy (or get some adorable, pastel-colored egg-shaped Easter puddy)
  12. Baseball cards
  13. Tiny, stuffed, squeaking chicks
  14. Small stuffed bunnies
  15. Action figures (Indians, cowboys or your kids' favorite characters)
  16. Trading cards
  17. Pedometer
  18. Marbles
  19. Balloons
  20. Plastic rings
  21. Plastic bracelets
  22. Small notebooks
  23. Lip gloss Sample perfume
  24. Fun bookmarks
  25. Crayons
  26. Colored pencils
  27. Chalk
  28. Small tube of hand lotion
  29. Magic markers
  30. Colorful erasers
  31. Dice
  32. Squeeze balls or other balls
  33. Toy cars or planes
  34. Marbles
  35. Game of jacks
  36. A pack of cards
  37. Card games
  38. Hair scrunchies
  39. Hair clips
  40. Packet of flower or vegetable seeds
  41. Decorative shoelaces
  42. Small water pistols
  43. Temporary tattoos
  44. Yo-yo
  45. Foreign coins
  46. Stickers and Stencils
  47. Novelty key chains
  48. Fun-shaped magnets
  49. Paperback books
  50. Tiny gift books
  51. Small bike lights
  52. Friendship bracelets
  53. Fun coupons. This is your chance to show some imagination and create special "gifts" or coupons for a trip to the zoo, movies or mall; a morning of sleeping in; a day of not having to clean the room; or a weekend night in which your child can come home an hour later than usual.
  54. Mini Tape 4-pack (Scotch tape)
  55. Toothbrush with a cartoon character on top (This is your chance to spoof the way Easter is now celebrated with candies that could rot your teeth!)
  56. Small coloring book
  57. Plastic snakes and other creatures
  58. Collapsible cups
  59. Puzzle
  60. Bean bags
  61. Glow-in-the-dark insects, balls, earrings
  62. Bendable toys
  63. Bath bubbles (small packet)
  64. Plastic animals (dinosaurs, fish, etc.)
  65. Fans
  66. Play sunglasses
  67. Floating bath toys

And No. 68? Choose healthy treats

If you still want to put a little food into your children's Easter baskets, you can select healthy treats such as:

  • Baby carrots (After all, bunnies like to nibble on them.)
  • Small apples
  • Almonds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Soy nuts
  • Raisins
  • Colored hard-boiled eggs

Make it a gradual change

Parents, even if you're nervous about bumping those blood-sugar bouncing candies entirely from your kids' Easter baskets, then at least begin to introduce some non-edible alternatives this year. Then, you could phase out candies and bring on healthier, non-edible treats next year or the year afterwards.

Think about it: Don't you feel like a better parent -- one who's much more loving, caring and forward-thinking -- by arranging for a fun Easter time for your kids that won't trigger obesity and blood sugar problems such as hypoglycemia and type 2 diabetes?

I'm willing to bet that planning for Easter will be a lot more fun than usual.

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