Healthier Swaps for Easter Treats

putting icing on a cake

Easter is a fun holiday filled with family, picnics, and egg hunts. But the Easter Bunny is also known to bring a lot of sugar-filled candy and sweets. Between jelly beans, peanut butter cups, and chocolate bunnies, you’re looking at a large dose of sugar. Eating too much sugar can lead to type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and more. Avoid a spike in sugar by swapping out some classic Easter treats with healthier options.

  • Peanut butter eggs. One Reese’s peanut butter egg has 10g of fat and 16g of sugar. This is more than half of the recommended added sugar you should eat in a day. Instead, try these no bake, vegan peanut butter eggs. This recipe uses sugar-free powdered sugar, coconut oil instead of butter, and honey instead of refined sugar. Only six ingredients are required.
  • Butterfingers. This homemade option has the same toffee-like crunch as store-bought Butterfingers, but are whole-grain, high in iron, vegan friendly, and completely free of high-fructose corn syrup. The prep is just 10 minutes, and the recipe yields 12-16 bars. This recipe is customizable—you can swap molasses for agave or honey, use almond butter instead of peanut butter, etc.
  • Coconut fudge bars. A Mounds bar has 20g of sugar. That’s almost five teaspoons of sugar in a small snack. Swap it for these no bake chocolate coconut fudge bars. This quick recipe yields 20-25 bars in just five minutes. You can choose your sweetener to make this recipe work best for your dietary needs. If you’re not a fan of coconut, you can try this oatmeal-covered alternative.
  • Fruit leather. When you’re looking for a sweet treat, avoid jelly beans, which contain 8g of sugar per 10 beans. Instead, try making fruit leather. Nearly any fruit can be made into fruit leather—mangos, pears, apples, strawberries, peaches, plums, and more. You don’t even need to add sugar to enhance taste—the fruit itself is sweet enough. If you’re looking to add some sweetness, honey or agave work just as well. Fruit leather will last up to six months in the refrigerator and up to one year in the freezer.
  • Marshmallow treats. Peeps are an Easter classic, but their nutritional value might shock you. Just five of the small marshmallow treats have 80g of sugar! That’s equivalent to one third cup of sugar. To cut back on sugar but still get your marshmallow fix, try these nut-free, dairy-free, corn syrup-free rice cereal treats. They’re made with coconut oil and a healthier-choice marshmallow.
  • Classic fudge contains about 2.3g of fat and 16g of sugar in a regular serving. Typically, it’s made with sugar, butter, milk, and cocoa. But this healthy swap contains just two ingredients—sugar free chocolate chips and peanut butter. You can swap the peanut butter for coconut butter, almond butter, or sunflower butter for a lower-calorie, nut-free option.

Why cut back on sugar?

Eating too much sugar can be a danger to your health. Sugar consumption can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, inflammation, heart disease, and more.

In addition to the physical dangers, too much sugar can harm your mental health. It has been linked to both anxiety and depression. In fact, a 2017 study found that men who consumed a high amount of sugar (67g or more each day) were 23% more likely to be diagnosed with clinical depression within five years.

Challenge yourself to make better choices when it comes to eating sugar. Your mind and body will thank you for it!

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