Moderation is key during this holiday filled with chocolate bunnies and jellybeans, says Alina Neuberger, M.D., medical director of eMedical Offices in New Jersey. “A common dilemma parents have around Easter is which type of candy to offer their little ones,” she says. “We all know candy is not good for you if eaten regularly, but a holiday-time exception should not be a problem provided that the candy is eaten in moderation.” Here are the best and worst Easter candy to look out for?
BEST: Hollow Chocolate Bunnies
“Hollowed bunnies pack a healthier punch than solid or cream-filled chocolates,” says Kristen Smith, Georgia-based registered dietitian and founder of 360 Family Nutrition. “This portion-controlled treat will set you back with fewer calories than solid bunnies and will provide less fat and sugar,” says Smith. Also opting for higher quality, dark chocolate bunnies equates to greater cocoa content which means more flavonoids, an antioxidant linked to many health benefits.
WORST: SOLID MILK CHOCOLATE BUNNIES
Whilst it may also be impossible to avoid chocolate induced with milk, it has the potential to do more than sweetening, because according to registered dietitian, Kristen Smith, the calorie range for these cute treats can exceed your energy needs for two or more meals. For example, a 7-ounce solid milk chocolate bunny contains a whopping 1,100 calories.
BEST: JELLY BEANS WITH NATURAL FLAVORINGS
These candies are naturally flavored therefore making it a safe choice to consume with the family. When picking out your favorite jelly bean flavors, check the labels and opt for brands that contain added vitamin C and have natural flavoring,” suggests Andrea Donsky, registered holistic nutritionist and co-founder of NaturallySavvy.com. Whilst the sugar will still be present but all artificial additives will be out.
WORST: HARD CANDY
According to Dr. Linda Vidone, a pediatric dentist in Massachusetts and dental director at DentaQuest, hard candy is tough on teeth because it tends to be sucked on at a leisurely pace for an extended period. “This ultimately coats teeth with sugar, and when bacteria comes into contact with sugar in the mouth, it creates acid, which leads to tooth decay,” she says. Additionally, biting down on hard candy could chip or break teeth.
BEST: Dark Chocolate
According to Deborah Enos, a Washington-based certified nutritionist and health coach, recommends dark chocolate bars with nuts of any kind. “The nuts are an added protein bonus, because the additional protein will help to keep you feeling full longer and when you stay full longer, there is less chance of going back for more chocolate,” reports Enos. This chocolate contains minerals including magnesium and potassium, loaded with flavanol antioxidants which have being know to help a healthy heart and brain.
WORST: Peanut Butter Eggs
It can be difficult to pass up the delicious mix of chocolate and peanut butter rolled into a perfectly shaped egg during the Easter season, but if you’re looking to keep your calorie intake in check, resist this sweet treat. You may think that the peanut butter filling contributes some nourishment, but the nut content is negligible. Just one peanut butter egg contains 10 grams of fat and 15 grams of sugar. With only a trace amount of calcium and no vitamin content at all, this one is a surefire candidate for the “don’t eat” list. Opt instead for chocolate covered peanuts or almonds made from real nuts and dark chocolate.
BEST: High Quality Fudge
For a candy selection that satisfies your sweet tooth and avoids artificial flavors and additives, fudge is a delicious option. Lose the partially hydrogenated oils found in grocery-store candy bars and instead visit a natural-foods market or local confectionery to find organic, artisan-quality fudge. Good fudge is commonly made with dark chocolate, butter, sugar and honey — ingredients that are high calorie, but less damaging than the artificial versions found in mass-produced confections. For extra nutrition, choose fudge packed with heart-healthy nuts or dried fruit. Or make a batch of your own homemade fudge as a family activity. You can also buy or make vegan fudge for those who avoid dairy products.
WORST: Crème-Filled Chocolate Eggs
will put a serious dent in your daily calorie intake. Just one small crème egg packs 4 grams of saturated fat and 20 grams of sugar, so it’s easy to overindulge. This Easter favorite offers practically nothing in the way of nutrition and contains artificial coloring.