What Treats Will You Enjoy This Easter?

If you're busy this week rounding up goodies for Easter baskets and planning Easter dinner, your conscience may be urging caution on those sugary treats and over-the-top menus. Companies are quick to suggest alternatives like crayons instead of Easter candies to fill baskets, and nutritionists offer healthy options for Easter dinner.

I'm a health editor, so I can't say it's all bunk, but I will say that there's something to be said for traditions—as well as for healthy eating.

My kids are grown, but I still plan to give them a few little Easter treats, and those treats won't be significantly different from what they've received for the past two decades. Because my daughters are now young women who work to manage their weight through healthy eating and exercise, I won't go overboard on the treats. They will each get one of their favorite chocolate treats, along with something new to wear for spring.

What's an Easter basket without a little treat? Sure, you can substitute nonedible treats, like outdoor toys for the little ones or jewelry for the older set. Sometimes I do include things like that, but I don't believe in total deprivation.

Which brings me to dinner. Stephanie Vella, registered dietitian at Sola Life & Fitness, suggests some healthier substitutions for traditional Easter favorites: lamb instead of ham (less sodium), hardboiled eggs rather than deviled eggs (less fat), plain green beans instead of green bean casserole (fewer calories and less salt and fat) and low-fat mashed potatoes rather than scalloped potatoes (less saturated fat and fewer calories).

Vella's suggestion for making mashed potatoes with half potatoes (skins on) and half cauliflower, whipped with skim milk and olive oil, sounds pretty good. And she advocates individually wrapped small, dark chocolate candy eggs instead of larger milk chocolate eggs or handfuls of jelly beans. I'm fine with that.

Here's the thing: we all have our traditions, and they are part of what makes the holidays special. For me, it wouldn't be Easter without deviled eggs—preferably made from eggs I've dyed and decorated with the kids. They take me back to years of egg dying and decorating and peeling and deviling with my mom and my nana. And when I bite into an egg off of Nana's old, chipped egg platter, I can taste those wonderful memories.

Regrettably, my lifestyle isn't as active as my nana's once was, so I must make concessions to healthier eating. I will use a low-fat olive oil mayonnaise and some mustard to devil my eggs. We may eat lamb—or even salmon—instead of ham. And roasted asparagus will likely be our vegetable of choice.

But, even if I splurge and make scalloped potatoes, I know I'll be OK as long as I limit my portion—and don't make them again until next Easter.

 What Easter treats are in store for you and your family?

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