Easter baskets are a dieter’s downfall. I know this because I am a dieter and I’m not completely looking forward to all the chocolate goodies and sticky snacks that will be sprinkled among my Easter grass on Sunday morning.
It’s a shame, because I used to look forward to the peanut butter eggs and the gooey caramel-filled rabbits. While I’d like to think that I can put the dieter in me to rest for one day, I know she’ll be nagging me with calorie counts every time I unwrap another peanut butter cup.
Let me add that I’m certainly not one of those people who doesn’t indulge for fear of grueling hours on the treadmill. I am a huge supporter of abandoning diets for major holidays, from Christmas to Arbor Day to Friday. But whenever possible, I like to try and pick the lesser evil, the healthier treat, so I can splurge later on. This means an extra helping of carrots instead of potatoes on Thanksgiving and no side of ice cream to justify two pieces of pie.
So this year, in order to celebrate without completely derailing from my diet, I’ve put in a special request with the Easter Bunny for some healthier options to fill my basket. If you’re looking for some waistline-friendly alternatives to your favorite Easter goodies, check out my suggestions below.
1. Gertrude Hawk Teenie Poppers
If you’re able to make it past the Smidgen displays and caramel-dipped apples, an admittedly difficult task, you’ll find these miniature goodies. They’re the teeniest, tiniest versions of your favorite holiday chocolates, like Dark Chocolate with Raspberry and Milk Chocolate Caramel Turtles. Although they’re touted as ice cream or dessert toppers, I can guarantee they’re equally as good right out of the basket and pack less of a caloric punch than their regular-size counterparts.
My personal favorite: Ice Cream Cone Teenie Poppers. Pretty to look at and good to eat.
2. Hershey’s Kisses
Dieters, rejoice! These classic candies aren’t sugar-free, fat-free or low fat, but they’re a relatively guilt-free snack for those of us with a sweet tooth. At about 20 calories apiece, Kisses are one of the healthier options to fill your basket. Gone are the days when Kisses came strictly in milk chocolate. Now you can find bags of caramel or coconut-filled chocolate among the classic selections.
My personal favorite: Cherry Cordial Kisses. If you’re a chocolate-covered cherry fan, these are the perfect solution.
3. Chocolate-Covered Pretzels
Pretzels are generally one of the healthier options found in the snack aisle, but unfortunately it doesn’t cancel out the chocolate coating and sprinkles that usually adorn the twist treats this time of year. I wish I could say this is one thing I could avoid, but I know it’s not. Instead of buying your chocolate-covered pretzels this year, make them. Opt for pretzel sticks instead of pretzels and dip them a quarter of the way or halfway down in melted chocolate. While it’s not a totally guilt-free snack, it means you’re in control of the chocolate-to-pretzel ratio.
4. Grocery Store Goodies
I’ve always heard that the checkout lanes at grocery stores are every dieter’s worst nightmare. Of course, they’re anyone’s worst nightmare: candy bars, trashy tabloids and eyeglass repair kits are tempting products. The good news here is that opting for some of those checkout lane goodies might be a much healthier option than other Easter indulgences.
For example, Extra now has dessert-flavored gums in Strawberry Shortcake and Mint Chocolate Chip. While I’ve never tasted Strawberry Shortcake, I can say that I was pleasantly surprised with the Mint Chocolate Chip flavor. Is it dessert? No. But it’s certainly enough to curb a craving. If you prefer your dessert to be the real thing, try filling your basket with fruity bits like Mentos, sour Ice Breakers or Jolly Rancher lollipops.
5. Non-Candy Treats
Easter baskets are typically filled with candy and chocolate, but there’s no ban on non-edible novelties. Gift cards to places like Rita’s or the movie theater will make your Easter goodies last way longer than the last peanut butter egg. Plus, it gives you an excuse to try out all the new flavors Rita’s has out this year, including Swedish Fish and Chocolate Peanut Butter.