Easter is right around the corner! Many of us indulge in treats, big meals, and fun hunts during this Sunday celebration. However, over the years we have all seen different health advice about many of our favorite Easter treats. Probably the most recent back and forth advice has been regarding chocolate, but we’ve seen differing health information about eggs, ham, and other traditional Easter foods. So, here’s our breakdown of the best (and worst) Easter treats and meals.
Best/Worst Traditional Easter Foods to Chow Down On
We all have our Easter favorites, but how do the traditional Easter dinner, Easter eggs, and Easter treats stack up against each other? Here’s a breakdown.
Just about everyone hardboils and dyes eggs during Easter – and many people eat those dyed eggs. Why not – right? Eggs are packed with protein, vitamins like D, A, and B, and they have teeth builders like calcium and phosphorous.
While this food is first on our best/worst list, those dyed eggs your kids hunt for and collect during the holiday may not actually be the most healthy food in the world. Here are a few rules of thumb your family should follow if you intend to eat the Easter eggs you dye and then use as a centerpiece or as part of the great hunt:
- Use food-grade dyes.
- Put the eggs in the fridge immediately after dyeing. This will reduce the likelihood of bacteria growing.
- Don’t dye or use cracked eggs.
- Don’t eat eggs that have been sitting at room temperature for longer than 2 hours.
If you are thinking of using dyed eggs purely as objects of an Easter egg hunt or as decoration – that’s totally fine! You can enjoy their healthy goodness by making a batch of regular eggs or deviled eggs just for your tastebud’s enjoyment.
While not everyone likes these sugar-covered, dyed, marshmallowy treats, they are a very common candy found around during Easter. In fact, many people eat Peeps simply because they are only available around this time of year.
Because the main ingredient in Peeps is sugar, it probably comes as no surprise that they are not good for your teeth. So, if you are going to try this seasonal candy, be sure to rinse your mouth immediately afterward – and maybe follow it up by brushing your teeth.
The centerpiece of many Easter dinners is the meat dish. Traditionally, this is ham – but we’ve seen Easter tables festooned with everything from lamb to chicken. Animal meats contain vital nutrients like Vitamins B12, D, essential fatty acids, phosphorous, and more. So, if you are a meat eater, go ahead and indulge this Easter!
Worst: Chewy candies
Almost every Easter egg hunt includes plastic eggs filled with chewy candies. These are worse than regular candy because the sugar paste that mainly makes up these Easter treats sticks to your teeth more easily, creating a breeding ground for bacteria.
If you have to have these treats available to the kids, we suggest leaving out a snack of “nature’s toothbrushes” like apple slices, celery sticks, and carrot sticks. Also, even though Easter can be tiring to the little ones, don’t let them skip out on brushing and flossing at the end of the day!
This is another food that has a lot of “if’s, and’s, and but’s” attached to it. Chocolate has many health benefits – but they are often negated by the sheer amount of sugar that gets dumped in milk and white chocolate. However, chocolate also contains many teeth builders like calcium, manganese, and phosphorous.
Eating dark chocolate is the best way to take advantage of the health benefits that chocolate offers without consuming too much sugar. So, try to buy dark chocolate Easter treats instead of the milk chocolate commonly offered in stores.
Worst: Jawbreakers and other very hard candies
Hard candies that people chew or suck on have two problems: a) chewing on very hard candies can chip or crack teeth and b) sucking on these candies means that you are keeping sugar in your mouth, holding it against your teeth and gums for an extended period of time.
So, if you can avoid them or avoid giving them out this holiday, please do.
Here at Gladstone Family Dentistry, we wanted to wish you a very happy and healthy Easter! If you or your family haven’t come in yet for a “spring cleaning” – and you’re due for a check up, be sure to schedule your appointment today!