Easy ways to make a healthier Easter basket

Published On: Apr 18 2014 03:44:08 PM EDT

An Easter basket without candy sounds like an "April Fool's" joke, but more and more parents are looking for ways to switch the Easter treats with healthier "eats." Cleveland Clinic Registered Dietitian Laura Jeffers says there are healthier options to choose from, that will still make the kids happy.

"Maybe a new tradition, where you have fruit and maybe kind of set up a station and your kids can dip different fruits," she suggested.

Jeffers says yogurt and dark chocolate are good choices for dipping. your dark chocolate should always contain 70 percent or more cacao because cacao has been shown to help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Jeffers recommends an Easter egg hunt with hard boiled eggs, instead of the plastic eggs filled with candy, but food safety experts remind parents to get those eggs into the fridge within 2 hours. Hard-boiled eggs will only set the kids back about 70 calories per egg and they are full of omega-3 fatty acids.

Now, if you do opt for plastic eggs, Jeffers says to try filling them with dried or dehydrated fruit. Most dried fruits retain some, if not all, of the antioxidant properties of their fresh source.

"Kids may want something a little bit sweeter, so trying something like a dried cherry or dried blueberry," said Jeffers.

You can also try things like chocolate-covered raisins or nuts.  If you make your own, you can smother them in dark chocolate.

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