I don’t know about you guys, but when I was a kid, Easter was always a very candy-centric holiday. Then again, what holiday in the US isn’t? I remember a lot of white chocolate bunnies, Cadbury eggs, and jelly beans.

A few weeks ago, I was in a drugstore with my mom, and she picked up a bag of the familiar Russel Stover’s jelly beans. I noticed that the label said “Pectin Jelly Beans.” Huh. How had I never noticed that before?  I went into dietetic student mode right there in the store, talking about how pectin is a fibrous polysaccharide found in fruit but that it still weirds me out when I see it used as a gelling agent in food. To me, it’s one of those “lesser evil” products, but in this situation I was more fascinated than repulsed. You need something to make the jelly beans gel after all…

As an adult, Easter involves about as much candy as is does Catholicism for me—which is to say, almost none at all. Buying yourself a Cadbury Cream Egg to go with a box of tampons is  lot less exciting than waking up to colorful basket from an unseen man-sized rabbit (my mom used to tell me he was six feet tall, and I believed her…).

That said, Easter baskets are very much a part of Easter for those who celebrate the holiday. Still, with childhood obesity becoming such an issue (and with kids eating so much candy on a daily basis anyway), some people are seeking out healthy alternatives to the traditional, sugary model.

Here are some great ideas I saw in the Chicago Tribune. I like the idea of celebrating spring (instead of sugar) by giving gifts to be played with outdoors such as bouncy balls and soap bubbles. Also, if you’re doing an Easter-egg hunt, why not fill those plastic eggs with stickers and toys instead of candy? Finding the eggs was always more fun than eating eating whatever was inside anyway.

The article also includes a few recipes as well for healthier treats. I liked the idea of strawberries dipped in white chocolate, though inserting a stick, adding a fruit-leather face and calling it a “Bunny Hop Pop” is a little much for me. But hey, whatever gets you through.

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