Ideas for Building a Healthy Easter Basket

If you want to promote wellness in your home or if you're trying to stick to your diet, then you can (and should) make a healthy Easter basket. Need ideas? With a little bit of creativity, you can cut calories and boost nutrition.

Yes, you can still eat chocolate. And there's really no reason to give up the candy treats and gooey marshmallow goodies, either. But before you fill your basket, you should know how many calories are in your favorite Easter candy.

If you add up the calories of your favorite Easter treats and account for the number of servings of each candy that you consume, you'll see that it's easy for your Easter candy calories to get out of control. Some experts estimate that a single Easter basket can contain 2000 to 5000 calories.

To cut back, use this guide to check calorie counts of each treat. Then use the Easter basket ideas and healthy substitutions at the end to enjoy a healthier holiday with your family. 

Calories in Chocolate Bunnies

chocolate easter bunny calories
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The centerpiece of almost every Easter basket is a chocolate rabbit. You'll find chocolate bunnies made out of milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and even white chocolate. Rabbits also come in different sizes. Some are hollow and some are solid, so the calories in chocolate bunnies can vary quite a bit. Here are a few examples:

  • Russel Stover Solid Milk Chocolate Rabbit (7 ounces): 1,100 calories
  • Lindt Gold Milk Chocolate Bunny (3.5 ounces): 540 calories
  • Dove Solid Milk Chocolate Bunny (6 ounces): 920 calories

Keep in mind that the calories listed above are for the whole bunny. The calorie count listed on the nutritional label of the chocolate rabbit is per serving. A single serving of a chocolate rabbit is just two ounces. On an average sized bunny, that's less than an ear. 

Calories in Easter Peeps

easter peeps calories
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Even though the chocolate rabbit is the centerpiece, no Easter basket is complete without marshmallow peeps. Whether you choose pink, yellow, green, or orange peeps, whether you like them soft or stale, and regardless of the shape you prefer (chick or rabbit), every Easter basket needs peeps.

Thankfully peeps won't ruin your diet. The calories in marshmallow peeps are relatively low because there is no fat in the little candies.  There is, however, a lot of sugar. 

A single marshmallow peep only contains about 32 calories. Not bad, right? A single serving is considered to be five peeps. But that's a lot of peeps to eat in one sitting. So even though a single serving of peeps is 140 calories and 34 grams of sugar, it's easy to eat less.

Calories in Creme-Filled Eggs

Cadbury egg calories
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Do you look forward to creme-filled eggs in your Easter basket? If you plan to put a Cadbury Creme Egg or another creamy, chocolatey bomb in your basket, you might want to think twice. These foil-wrapped treats are filled with fat and calories. These are a few examples of calorie counts for Cadbury creme-filled eggs:

  • Cadbury Creme Egg: 150 calories
  • Cadbury Caramel Egg: 170 calories
  • Cadbury Chocolate Creme Egg: 170 calories

If you're serious about sticking to your diet, this is an item that is easy to cut. You'll decrease your Easter basket calories substantially by leaving these out. But if you love your creme-filled eggs and your Easter isn't the same without them, hang in until the end for a healthier alternative.

Calories in Jelly Beans

jelly bean calories
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Jelly beans are probably the most popular Easter basket candy. The y add color to the basket and they're usually inexpensive, so they tend to be popular with parents.

Calculating jelly bean calories is really tricky because almost no one measures their portion size. Most of the time, we grab jelly beans and eat them mindlessly (usually after the chocolate is gone). So even though the actual calorie count of jelly beans is relatively low, the total number of calories you consume can be very high.

So how many jelly beans should you eat at one time? A single serving is considered to be 14-15 candies. Jelly beans contain approximately 150 calories per serving. That means there are about ten calories in a single jelly bean.

Calories in Chocolate Eggs

chocolate egg calories
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Do you toss colorful chocolate eggs around the grass of your Easter basket? Guess how many calories you add when you sprinkle the treats in your basket?  Here are a few calorie counts for chocolate foil-wrapped or candy-coated eggs:

  • Nestle Crunch Foil Wrapped Eggs: 38 calories per egg
  • Dove Milk Chocolate Foil Wrapped Eggs: 40 calories per egg
  • Whoppers Robin Egg Malted Milk Egg Candy: 22 calories per egg

For some dieters, these small eggs might be a good alternative to other sweet treats. But for others, they create a mindless eating nightmare.

Calories in Easter Eggs

easter egg calories
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Not every colorful goodie in your Easter basket needs to be full of sugar, fat, and calories. Colored hard-boiled eggs are a favorite in many households. And they're healthy.

The calories in a hard-boiled egg come primarily from the fat in the egg yolk. There are approximately 75 calories in one large egg. The yolk contains about 55 calories of fat and protein. And the egg whites are mostly fat-free protein.

If you're trying to cut saturated fat out of your diet, you can easily remove the yolk from your hard-boiled eggs to get a healthy dose of protein with your Easter candy. But remember that some fat (in moderation) can be part of a reasonable diet. 

Healthy Easter Basket Ideas

Healthy Easter Basket Ideas
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To make a healthy Easter basket, use these tips:

  • Instead of a big chocolate bunny, get a smaller hollow bunny.  You may even want to opt for dark chocolate since many dieters feel that the stronger taste helps them eat less.
  • Skip the big creme-filled eggs altogether. Or if you feel like you really need the treat to fulfill your Easter tradition, get a few creme-filled mini eggs instead. Each mini egg only contains about 40 calories.
  • Get plastic eggs and fill each egg with 1/2 serving of jelly beans. That's 7 jelly beans per plastic egg. Then when you eat them you can easily keep track of your serving size.
  • If you like those small chocolate eggs, you might be tempted to choose the lower calorie candy-coated eggs, but this is where things get tricky. Candy coated eggs are easy to eat mindlessly without paying attention to serving size. When you eat the higher calorie foil-wrapped egg, it takes a little bit of time to remove the wrapper and this may help you to pay attention to how much you're eating and eat less overall.
  • Don't put a long row of peeps in the basket together. Separate them into pairs to encourage a smaller portion size. Then, put each pair of peeps next to a colorful single serve packet of carrots. So when you snack on the sugary treat, you balance it out with a serving of fiber-rich vegetables.
  • Fill plastic eggs with sugar-free gum or MealEnders. Chewing gum or sucking on a MealEnders candy will cut the candy-craving momentum and you'll be able to eat less overall.
  • Fill children's baskets with colorful toys that promote movement. Sidewalk chalk, jump ropes, frisbees, whistles, or even kites make great Easter basket additions. For older kids, add a pedometer or an inexpensive activity monitor.

With a little bit of creativity and shopping savvy, you can have a festive and playful holiday with a healthy Easter basket full of diet-friendly fun.

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