Also consider modifying traditional Easter treats with a healthier version, either store bought or homemade.
Chocolate- Chocolate seems to be a common theme among Easter treats. There are chocolate eggs, bunnies, and mainstream chocolate candies made into Easter candy throughout the seasonal isle. Go for dark chocolate options instead of the traditional milk chocolate, dark chocolate has more nutritional value and tends to be lower in sugar. Try to find brands that do not contain processed sugars like high fructose corn syrup or trans fatty acids in the form of hydrogenated oils. Lake Champion chocolates has an organic dark chocolate Easter bunny option, and Sjaak’s also has vegan and almond butter Easter candy options, this is also great for those children who suffer from peanut allergies!
Crème Filled Chocolate Eggs
Adapted from www.primallyinspired.com
½ c dark chocolate chips (high quality)
1.5 tsp. coconut oil
1 egg white
¼ c pure raw honey
2 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
egg mold- can get at local kitchen store, party store, etc.
1. Put your honey in a small pot over medium low heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Add in the vanilla extract and the pinch of sea salt. Stir until combined.
2. Whip your egg white with a hand or stand mixer until peaks form. Once peaks form, slowly drizzle the honey mixture in the egg whites while the mixer is still whipping. Keep whipping until all the honey is blended and the mixture is very creamy. Set aside.
3. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and coconut oil until chocolate is melted and smooth. Using a small spoon, spoon your chocolate in the egg mold. Use the spoon, “paint” up the sides of the mold. Once all the eggs are covered in chocolate, stick the mold in the freezer for 5 minutes. Take it back out and “paint” the mold again with the chocolate. Stick in the freezer for another 5 minutes.
4. Take it back out and fill the chocolates with the egg white/honey mixture. If you have leftover chocolate, drizzle some around all the edges of the chocolate eggs so they will mold together easier. Fold the molds together and place in the freezer for at least an hour. Undo the molds and enjoy your homemade eggs!
Jelly Beans– Easter would not be Easter without jelly beans, these types of candies tend to be filled with harmful preservatives. Try organic fruit snacks by Annies Organic instead or better yet, make your own homemade jelly candies.
Homemade Healthy Jelly Fruit Snacks
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice, lime juice or fresh orange juice
2/3 cup frozen or fresh berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries are all great)
1 – 2 Tbs honey
5 Tbs gelatin
1. Pour juice and berries into a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally until berries become tender and begin to soften.
2. Add honey and stir until completely incorporated. You will want the fruit to dissolve quite a bit.
3. Puree mixture using a immersion blender or small blender
4. Let sit, off heat, for 5 – 10 minutes.
5. Whisk in gelatin, one tablespoon at a time. Whisk vigorously until completely incorporated, mixing the gelatin in very gradually to avoid lumps. (If you do get lumps, just run the mixture through your blender again or you can put it back on the heat to help dissolve the gelatin.)
6. Pour into an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 glass dish.
7. Refrigerate until set (30 minutes to an hour). Cut in small squares or into Easter shapes with themed cookie cutters.
Hard Boiled Dyed Eggs– Eggs in moderation 1-3/day are a healthy snack rich in protein, vitamins and healthy fats that kids need for optimal brain function. Using an all-natural food coloring to dye homemade Easter Eggs is a great way to encourage kids to eat hard boiled eggs over other sugary alternatives.
Easter Dinner Recipes
Asparagus, Ham and Goat Cheese Appetizers
A healthy alternative to traditional heavy appetizers for a holiday dinner party. This is a great appetizer to a main course meal of traditional Easter ham.
1 lb. asparagus spears, cut 4 to 6 inches long
16 thin slices prosciutto or thinly sliced ham
32 teaspoons soft goat cheese
(or 6-1/2 ounces)
1. Lightly coat asparagus with extra virgin olive oil. Roast asparagus spears in over for 10 minutes on 350 degrees. Remove from oven and let cool.
2. Lay one piece of prosciutto or ham flat on the cutting board. Place one teaspoon of goat cheese on the ham or prosciutto. Gently press one asparagus spear into the goat cheese lengthwise with the prosciutto.
3. Bring the sides of the prosciutto in toward the center and press into the goat cheese. Then secure both ends of the prosciutto by wrapping them in the same direction around the asparagus stem. Repeat for all asparagus spears.
4. Arrange the spears flat on a platter. Enjoy!
This is a great alternative to traditional mashed potatoes at any holiday dinner. Cauliflower is lower in carbohydrates and calories compared to potatoes, it will promote stable blood sugars.
2, 8.0 oz bags of frozen cauliflower florets or 1 lb. fresh cauliflower
1-2 Tbs. organic butter
1 oz. half and half, or sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of black pepper
Parmesan cheese to taste (optional)
1. Steam cauliflowers till soft (should be able to mash with a fork)
2. Add to food processor and add other ingredients to flavor.
Pear and Ham Salad
Rather than making ham the star of dinner add in a small amount into the salad and have a healthier protein option like salmon as the main course!
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 shallots, thinly sliced
Sea salt to taste
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
½ pound deli-sliced Black Forest ham, torn into pieces (no nitrates all natural)
2 bunches watercress, trimmed
1 bag fresh spinach leaves
Freshly ground pepper
1. Thinly slice the pears. Toss with the lemon juice in a large bowl.
2. Make the dressing: Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Whisk in the vinegar and mustard; remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Whisk in the yogurt and 1/4 cup water.
3. Add the dressing to the bowl with the pears. Add the ham, watercress and spinach. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.
Honey Tea Glazed Salmon
A healthier alternative to traditional Easter Ham, lower in sodium and higher in heart healthy fats.
1 cup brewed Earl tea
1 cup raw honey
1 tsp. cardamom
2 whole star anise
6 salmon fillets (5 to 6 ounces each)
1. Make a syrup by boiling the tea with the honey and spices until the honey is dissolved, cool.
2. Brush some of the syrup over salmon fillets half an hour before grilling, reserving some for serving.
3. Grill over medium heat until the flesh of the fish just begins to flake, about 7 minutes. It should yield slightly to the touch. Flip over after establishing nice grill marks, about halfway through. Top with some more syrup just before removing from the grill.
Orange Glazed Ham
If you must have ham avoid buying the pre-glazed ham and glaze your own with fresh unprocessed ingredients packed with flavor.
1 (14 to 16-pound) fully cooked, spiral-cut smoked ham on the bone
6 garlic cloves
8 ½ ounces orange marmalade (all fruit version)
½ cup Dijon mustard
1 cup honey
1 tsp. black strap molasses
1 orange, zested
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the ham in a heavy roasting pan.
2. Mince the garlic in a food processor, add the marmalade, mustard, honey, molasses, orange zest, and orange juice and process until smooth. Pour the glaze over the ham and bake for 1 hour, until the ham is fully heated and the glaze is well browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.
These recipes will be featured in Charlotte Parent Magazine.
Dr. Kantor’s greatly anticipated new children’s book, The Green Box League of Nutritious Justice, is now available. Be sure to order this highly reviewed book, filled with healthy living tips for the whole family. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Children’s Miracle Network.