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Candy Counts Add Up Quickly!

Many families as part of their Easter celebration, give a child a basket filled with toys and sweet treats. These treats can really add up the calories and fat… a medium size chocolate bunny (4 ounces) can have 880 calories and 48 grams of fat!

Walk it Off!
Use this calorie counter to determine how far you’d need to walk to burn the calories from the candy in your Easter basket. For example, to walk off the calories consumed from eating 1¾ ounce hollow chocolate bunny (260 calories), you would need to walk 2.6 miles! You may think twice about the treats you put in your child’s basket, and also the ones you might sneak a taste of while you’re filling the eggs!

easter

Fun Alternatives to Candy
There are many ways you can give a child a treat to enjoy without all the calories and fat:
• Fill the basket with favorite fruits. Clementines are a nice colorful fruit that are easy to peel. Dried fruit is a good alternative too… it’s still sweet and filled with nutrients.
• Small toys or activity books. Here are some ideas to get you started:
o Bubbles
o Kites
o Seeds & gardening gloves
o Sidewalk chalk
o Bug catchers
o Art supplies
o Travel games
o Kids’ cookbooks & baking utensils
• Include family fitness toys like a soccer ball or jump rope.
• If you want to include some candy, use small packages to limit consumption.
• Make it a game to find the basket… kids love scavenger hunts. You can even attach a string to the basket that the child must wind up to find the treasure at the other end.
• Themed baskets are great fun for kids too… if they are in to a certain toy, you can add to their collection.

Have a Happy, Healthy Easter!

Sources:
Calorie Counter: http://walking.about.com/library/cal/bleastercalories.htm
Steeves, Ann. “Nutritious and Delicious—Alternatives to Easter Candy.” (2013). The University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824 – http://www.unh.edu/healthyunh/blogs/2013/03/alternatives-easter-candy
Image: http://www.gnclivewell.com.au/files/editor_upload/Image/healthy-easter.jpg

Writer: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County, carter.413@osu.edu.
Reviewers: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County, barlage.7@osu.edu.

Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

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Unhealthy ChoicesDo you think that your current sugary snacks may be making you crave more sugary snacks? This may be the truth for many people. When you eat simple carbohydrates, without protein or fat, hunger may be satisfied but it is usually short term. The energy boost usually wears off quickly leaving you hungry and soon craving more food.

According to Dr. Christine Gerbstadt, “our appetite may be hardwired and sweet is the first taste humans prefer from birth.” The feel-good brain chemical, serotonin, is released when carbohydrates are eaten. Sugar is carbohydrate, but so are other foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Sugar also releases endorphins that calm and relax us. This is like a natural high.

Americans average about 22 teaspoons of added sugar per day, according to the American Heart Association. The AHA recommends 6 teaspoons for women and 9 for men. So what can we do to tame those cravings and meet these recommendations? Try these tips to get started in the right direction.

Eat just a small amount. If you are really craving something have a small amount. Try the fun-size candy bar or the small cookie. Try to stick to 150 calories or less.
Combine foods. Try combining the food you are craving with some healthier options. For example, dip a banana in chocolate sauce or add mini chocolate chips to almonds. This way you are still getting some healthy nutrients from the healthy foods.
Grab chewing gum. According to nutrition advisor, Dave Grotto, chewing gum has been shown to reduce food cravings. So grab a stick of gum when that feeling for something sweet arises.
Reach for some fruit. You get fiber and nutrients along with sweetness when eating fruit. According to addiction specialist Judy Chambers, LCSW, CAS, having foods like nuts, seeds and dried fruits on hand can often help you steer clear of sugary treats.
Get moving. When the cravings for sugary foods hit, get up and walk. Taking your mind off the craving can help.
Choose quality over quantity. Savor the food you are craving but keep the portion size small. Concentrate on the taste and enjoy it. Incorporating small amounts of those foods we love is not harmful, overindulging can be.
Eat regularly. When you wait too long between meals the cravings for high sugar, high fat foods may increase. Eating every three to five hours can help keep blood sugar more stable. By choosing protein, fiber-rich foods like whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, hunger may not be as severe.
Reward yourself. When you have successfully managed your cravings, do something for yourself. Soak in the tub, or purchase a new clothing item or decorative item.
Slow down. Diet mayhem often results from lack of planning. Dr. Chambers states “eat what you intend to eat instead of eating when desperate.”
Support helps. Frequently people turn to sugary foods when stressed, depressed or angry. Sugar will not help emotional situations or issues. Try to figure out the underlying issue and address that without the sugar.
Mix it up. It may take more than one strategy to stop sugar cravings. By having a variety of tricks and figuring out what works for you, the chance of success increases.
Go easy on yourself! Changing any habit is difficult. Every victory is one step towards a healthier you!
Source: http://www.webmd.com/diet/features
Writer: Liz Smith, M.S., R.D., L.D., Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Northeast Region, Ohio State University Extension.
Reviewer: Cheryl Barber Spires, M.S., R.D., L.D., Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, West Region, Ohio State University Extension.

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