Treats low in sugar just as sweet for Easter baskets

- A basket filled with chocolate bunnies, marshmallow peeps and jelly beans will likely yield two results: screams of glee from a child and groans from their parents.

Filling an Easter basket with treats that will satisfy a child’s sweet tooth and a parent’s healthy snacking rule requires some balance.

Here are some suggestions on how to find that balance:

Edible treats

Carolyn Scott, creator of HealthyVoyager.com, recommends substituting dried fruit for candy and opting for dark chocolate Easter treats.

“Bags of salted or flavored nuts will be a great way to balance the sugary palate. They are healthy and full of protein, plus they’ll fill the kids up faster so they are satisfied and over the sweets,” Scott said.

Scott advises that a variety of small treats is better than larger treats.

“Instead of the giant chocolate bunny this year, give them a bunch of little treats,” Scott said. “They’ll last longer and will encourage that a little sweet goes a long way.”

Darla Hutson and Tracy Hitchins, creators of ThePreschoolToolbox.com, recommend the following idea: “Include a small Easter bag filled with Cheerios, pretzel sticks, raisins, miniature chocolate chips and Annie’s Organic bunnies. Tie a nice ribbon around the bag and attach a small stuffed Easter bunny.”

Non-edible treats

Including some non-edible items will balance out the sweet treats, too.

Katie Hensley, kindergarten teacher at the Beavercreek Christian Learning Center, suggests items to inspire kids’ imagination.

“My suggestions for kindergarten baskets are crayons, paper, age-appropriate books, playdough and any of the no-mess crayons sets (markers, finger paints). Kids can get creative with pipe cleaners and glitter,” Hensley said.

A kid’s cookbook filled with healthy snack ideas is also a fun thing to include, Hensley said. Sidewalk chalk and bubbles will also inspire outdoor entertainment.

Jenny Jones, librarian at Shaw Elementary in Beavercreek, recommends some classic book titles for families to share.

“ ‘The Golden Egg Book’ by Margaret Wise Brown is an oldie but goodie.

‘The Story of Peter Rabbit’ by Beatrix Potter is another holiday classic. Children delight in this timeless tale of a curious country bunny that hops his way into our hearts.

“No bunny collection is complete without ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’ by Margery Williams. Parents and children can spend hours sharing this story and connecting it to the ‘Toy Story’ movies,” Jones said.

“The Easter Bunny That Overslept” by Priscilla and Otto Friedrich is a favorite storytime pick, and “Junie B., First Grader: Dumb Bunny” by Barbara Park is part of the Junie B. Jones series, popular with students in grades one through three,” Jones said.

Christine McKee, librarian at Parkwood Elementary in Beavercreek, recommends some of her favorites: “The Easter Egg” by Jan Brett; “Fancy Nancy’s Elegant Easter” by Jane O’Connor; and “Easter Bugs: a Springtime Pop-Up” by David A. Carter.

To celebrate spring with chapter books, McKee suggests the “Rainbow Magic Series” by Daisy Meadows; “Big Nate Strikes Again” by Lincoln Peirce; and “The Everything Kids’ Baseball Book: From baseball history to player stats —with lots of homerun fun in between!” (Everything Kids Series) by Greg Jacobs.

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