By STEPHANIE KALINA-METZGER
Are visions of chocolate bunnies, marshmallow chicks and jelly beans dancing in your child’s head?
It might be time for an Easter Bunny intervention.
“I don’t want to eliminate the fun and goodies that are expected at Easter, but I think there are healthier options available for parents to consider, such as sugar-free candies,” said Barb Kovacs, director of York’s health bureau.
Better yet, swap the sweets for something that gets the kids moving.
“Giving something that will increase activity in conjunction with candy would be great, such as a jump rope, paddle ball or football,” Kovacs said. She said her favorite childhood Easter surprise was the year she and her sisters received tennis rackets.
Thinking outside the basket for healthy alternatives to sugary treats isn’t as tough as it sounds. While rationing the sugar high is an option, adopting the idea of non-candy treats can set your youngster up for a lifetime of healthy eating habits.
“If this change is started at an early age, most children will grow up not expecting a lot of candy on Easter,” Kovacs added.
And when your kids wake up to baskets designed specifically for them, you can be sure that the only one who will miss all that candy will be the dentist.
Sarah Lanphier is hoping kids will go nuts about granola. The owner of Nuts About Granola in downtown York offers a healthy alternative to candy and said she will work with parents to help create that special Easter surprise.
“We make 2-ounce bags that are really good for Easter baskets and can put together an assortment of products to meet different dietary needs,” Lanphier said.
The company, which makes all-natural, handmade granola using a blend of organic and local ingredients, offers gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free and vegan options.
Another tasty idea? Nuts. “We carry probably the best peanuts in the world by Bakers,” said Caroline Morris, owner of Kimman’s in downtown York.
Morris also stocks non-food items that can be tucked inside an Easter basket, including the popular jewelry line Zulurgrass and Vapur bottles.
“My children were not big candy eaters so I bought items that they were interested in, such as a movie or movie passes, hair accessories, (a) ball cap, baseball cards, really anything that they were into at the time,” Kovacs said.
But if your child still craves brightly colored marshmallow treats, it’s not the end of the world.
“I believe in the saying ‘All things in moderation,’” Kovacs said. “Parents need to monitor what their children are eating and how often.”