Easter is just around the corner, and we know what that means…chocolate and lots of it.
Easter can be one of the trickiest times for families to navigate as there is often a surplus of chocolatey goodies. Although, we don’t want our kids to miss out; when they are little, their systems can only handle so much.
It’s always good to keep in mind that what we might share with a Toddler may differ from what we’d offer a Preschooler during this period. Children under two are still forming their taste preferences and it’s a peak time for fussy eating to take hold. In fact, for the first time ever, the American Academy of Paediatrics changed its advice on sugar and now advises families to avoid offering sugar to children under 2yrs of age.
So, if the thought of your little one gobbling up handfuls of chocolate bunnies sends you into a spin, (do you remember last year’s sugar-induced tantrums?), Chief Nutrition Officer Mandy Sacher is here to help you successfully navigate this sugary period.
Mandy’s top 5 tips for celebrating Easter with little ones
1. Quality over quantity
When buying Easter treats, reach for plain, hollow eggs made from good-quality milk or dark chocolate – leaving the eggs filled with lollies, cream fillings, and extra sweets on the shelf. Another option is to whip up a batch of these simple, yet delicious Easter Chocolate Crackles.
Made using dark chocolate, raw honey, and coconut oil, they’re packed full of important minerals and antioxidants, making them a tremendously healthy Easter treat.
2. Choose dark chocolate over milk chocolate
When it comes to chocolate, dark chocolate (i.e., chocolate made from at least 70% cocoa) generally contains less sugar and a whole host of other nutrients such as iron, magnesium, copper, and polyphenols. Introducing dark chocolate to little ones from an early age will help them acquire a taste for it. For little ones 2 years and above a 70% dark chocolate egg or bunny is a great option, working up to 85% dark chocolate as they get older.
3. Create Non-Food Easter Gifts
Easter crafts are a fantastic way to shift the focus away from choccie eggs this Easter and reduce your child’s sugar intake at the same time.
Here are some of our favourite Easter craft activities:
- Make a colourful Easter bonnet.
- Dye eggs all the colours of the rainbow. Fill a vase with branches and hang your decorated eggs to create your own Easter tree.
- Create Easter chicks and bunnies with pompoms.
- Create an Easter egg hunt using a mix of hard-boiled, dyed eggs and good-quality mini chocolate eggs. Make sure to hide them far and wide so your little one gets plenty of exercise in racing around!
4. Swap chocolate eggs for homemade goodies
The smell of Hot Cross Buns just screams Easter; however, the store-bought ones are so often filled with refined sugar and processed ingredients. Instead, why not whip up a batch of our Spelt Hot Cross Buns with the same delicious flavour and none of the nasties?
Alternatively, you can also try our carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, using Easter-themed muffin cases to give them a festive feel.
5. Role model healthy eating behaviours
Rather than gobbling up rich chocolate eggs first thing in the morning, make sure to enjoy a protein-rich, nourishing snack, or main meal first. This will help you to avoid a huge spike in your little ones’ blood sugar and the inevitable post-chocolate crash.
Choose quality protein, whole grains and meals with healthy fats before the chocolate eggs and bunnies are devoured. Here are some of our favourites:
The MindChamps ChampionGold™ Standard Nutrition Programme
Developing positive eating habits in the early years is a responsibility we take very seriously at MindChamps. That is why we’ve invested heavily in creating the MindChamps ChampionGold™ Standard Nutrition Programme developed by the MindChamps Nutrition team led by our Chief Nutrition Officer Mandy Sacher, Australia’s leading paediatric Nutritionist and bestselling author.
Our philosophy is simple – teach children’s taste buds to enjoy nourishing, nutritionally beneficial foods as early as possible to ensure optimal development and the establishment of lifelong healthy eating behaviours.
MindChamps Global Chief Nutrition Officer Mandy Sacher is Australia’s leading Paediatric Nutritionist, best-selling Author, child nutrition expert, blogger, and mother of two! She is also known for co-developing MEND (Mind Exercise Nutrition Do It!), the world’s largest and most researched childhood obesity prevention and treatment program based in the UK that was developed with over ten years of research.
Mandy and her Nutrition Team believe in the well-being of all our MindChamps children and that their nutritional needs should be fulfilled in our centres. Mandy’s philosophy is simple – teach children’s taste buds to enjoy nourishing, nutritionally beneficial foods as early as possible to ensure optimal development and establishment of lifelong healthy eating behaviours. Bridging the gaps in food and nutrition, this first-of-its-kind partnership is our commitment to creating and elevating a positive and lasting impact on childhood nutrition on a global level.