After Halloween, Easter is the second-largest candy-giving holiday, according to the National Confectioners Association. With overloaded baskets of sugar, the fat and calories we are giving our kids really add up. Research suggests more than 2,000 calories of candy are in a typical American Easter basket!

So, how did this tradition begin?  Of course, the star of the show is the Easter Bunny. This iconic symbol was introduced to Americans by German immigrants in the 1700s and was meant to symbolize fertility, life, and procreation. Children would make nests for the giant bunny to lay its colored eggs.

This tradition then developed into a basket of dyed-boiled eggs. Of course, today has morphed into a sugar fest, which includes chocolate bunnies, marshmallow-shaped ducklings, Peanut Butter Eggs, jelly beans, and more.  

Here are some ideas to make your kids' Easter basket a little healthier.

  • Alena Dvorakova/ ThinkStock
    Alena Dvorakova/ ThinkStock

    Dried Fruit

    Dried fruit is a great healthy alternative to an Easter basket. They have dried banana slices, dried pineapple chunks and even dried mango. All of these dried fruits are great for the sweet tooth and also add bright colors to fill the basket.

  • markus-winkler-/Unsplash

    Pretzels and Crackers

    I know what you're thinking... "crackers, how boring". But, they don't have to be!!! There are plenty of yummy, snack-size crackers that are great for baskets! Even the brand Annie's has Cheddar Bunnies which are tasty and perfect for the occasion. Pretzels are also another fun treat.

  • Baiba Opule/ ThinkStock
    Baiba Opule/ ThinkStock

    Granola Bars

    Granola bars are delicious and filling snacks, which makes them perfect for an Easter basket. For the chocolate kick, you can get chocolate chip granola bars, and you can even get granola bars with some added protein to stay fuller longer!

  • alexsl

    Toys, Jump Rope, Gift Cards

    Of course we can put a small chocolate bunny or a peep into the basket, but it does not have to be most items. We can fill the basket with a couple of small dollar gift cards, a jump rope, or small games or toys.

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