Monday, April 7, 2014

Healthy Easter Treat Ideas

Hippy Hop,here comes the Easter bunny. What's in his basket?  Sugar, chocolate and artificial colouring? Hop your family to some healthier Easter treats.

"Oh, but Mom! I just LOVE those easter eggs." It’s no wonder we (and, our kids) love sugar - it can be addictive: eating sugar causes dopamine release in the part of the brain associated with reward and motivation. Plus, sugar can make a kid act sort of crazy. 

The Science: That Kid 'Sugar-High'
We have all witnessed children on a ‘sugar high’, but historically the ability of sugar to effect the brain’s functioning has been based solely on rumours. Today, sugar’s interaction with the brain is more clearly understood thanks to new research in 2012. Researchers at the University of California trained rats to successfully navigate a maze, then replaced their water with 15 percent fructose syrup (soda is typically 12 percent). After six weeks of the fructose syrup, the rats were slower to complete the maze. Furthermore, when the rat’s brains were dissected the researchers discovered the sugar disrupted synapses (relay chemical messages), ultimately effecting the ability of the brain to form memories. Of note, this study also experimented with omega-3 fatty acid intake and found when the rats’ diet were supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids they could complete the maze faster. 

Looking for some healthier ideas for your Easter baskets this year? Try these:

1) Non-chocolate/candy Easter Egg Hunt
Grab some plastic easter eggs at the dollar store that open. Fill them with healthier alternatives like a box of raisins, or real-fruit gummies (and, I mean real-fruit like Annie's Bunnies), nuts or pretzels. At our house we fill them with stickers, mini-stamps, temporary tattoos and hair accessories - the kids LOVE it!

2) Get Crafty
Stickers, colouring books, sidewalk chalk and crayons are always a great surprise for kids to find on their easter hunt. Plus, it helps keep them busy at the family dinner. Not to mention every kid love stickers!

3) Make it Fun
Change the focus from getting a bunch of chocolate and candy to the annual easter egg hunt. Depending on the age of your children, either hid eggs in the open, in hard to find places...or, for your more savvy hunters you can create written clues as to where the next egg is hidden.

My Easter Confession?
This year we've found all sorts of exciting new healthy Easter treats to try with the kids instead of chocolate and candy: small packages of Play-doh in the shape of chicks and bunnies, PlayMobile filled eggs, Easter-themed books and much more! Hope your feeling inspired to hop your family to a healthier Easter. 

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