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Share a sweet holiday without the sugar

By Laura Traister
On April 17, 2014

With Easter just days away, it is time for those who celebrate to make preparations, especially for one of the most beloved traditions this time of year: the Easter basket. 

For people who want to stay healthy all year long, holidays are notorious for ruining diet and health plans, and Easter is no different. Like Halloween, a huge part of the celebration revolves around children obtaining candy. A lot of candy.

How can parents, relatives, or any other gift-givers remain health-conscious and yet not ruin the holiday fun for the children in their lives?

Atlanta-based author and nutritionist Dr. Keith Kantor suggests moderation. 

"I don't believe in cutting it all out," he said. 

Neither does he recommend the Easter Bunny loading baskets down with countless chocolates and other sweets. Either end of the spectrum is objectionable, so "you have to find a happy medium." 

The holiday can and should be fun for everyone, especially the kids. With some effort and creativity, parents can keep their families both healthy and happy during this time. 

Kantor suggests that instead of placing candy eggs in baskets, parents can get plastic eggs and fill them with small trinkets, provided that the children are old enough to not eat them. Plastic rings, toy bugs or cars, and jewelry are good choices depending on your child's interests. This way kids can still get excited about getting gifts, but the adverse health effects can be avoided. 

Chocolate, Kantor warns, is possibly the biggest pitfall at Easter. Some is fine, but too much can cause energy and insulin spikes and crashes that are unhealthy for children and no fun for parents, either. 

If purchasing chocolate, opt for dark chocolate, as it has "a lot less of the non-natural, processed ingredients in it." 

Kantor specifically recommended brands like Lake Champlain and Sjaak's, who both sell organic chocolate Easter treats.

In addition, you can make sure that your family drinks a lot of water all the time, but especially during holidays. For those who are less than thrilled about the taste of water, Kantor recommended flavoring water with fresh fruits, such as oranges. 

Rather than buying sugary drinks, try allowing your children to help you flavor water with fruit. Take them shopping with your for healthy foods, letting them make small choices along the way, and include them in the preparation process. "If you make it fun and let them participate, they'll buy into it," Kantor explained.

Your goal this Easter can be, as Kantor's is, simply "to make healthy living fun." 

With some planning and imagination, the whole family can create sweet memories without the extra sweets. 

For healthy Easter treat recipes, or to check out Kantor's award-winning children's book "The Green Box League of Nutritious Justice," visit www.drkeithkantor.com.


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