Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter Baskets and Sugar Overdose

The day before Easter and a holiday weekend for many of us.  It's a day to pick up last minute goodies to fill Easter baskets to hide for tomorrow's hunt. Perhaps a busy day of last minute grocery shopping, baking, cooking, cleaning, and decorating eggs.

Cleaning, decorating and running errands definitely get your body in motion and count toward your exercise for the day.  But it's the candy-popping frenzy that can goes along with the weekend that we need to talk about.  One chocolate egg for the basket, one for you. One marshmallow peep for the basket, one for you.  A decorative dish of pastel M&M's on the table for company that needs to be refilled 3 times before they get there... Does this sound familiar?

Sugar consumption is at an all time high in our country. Research has now linked sugar intake to increased risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Younger and younger children are being diagnosed with obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes at an alarming rate. It's never been as clear as now: reduce sugar intake.

Added sugars are everywhere. They are hidden in processed foods and blatantly present in beverages. One can of regular soda delivers 10 teaspoons---just under 1/4 cup---of sugar, a 32-ounce fountain drink has 27 teaspoons, and the 64-oz. extra large streams 54 teaspoons of liquid sugar into your body.  Last week, I was checking out at Target around noon and was right behind an obese man wearing a suit and tie, buying a bottle of Mountain Dew and 2 candy bars, which I can only assume was his lunch. A recipe for disease...

It's time to minimize the amount of candy we put in those baskets and into our bodies. I am not talking about abolishing all candy. I encourage an "in moderation" approach for most people instead of a no-to-sugar declaration that can very easily trigger a "deprivation/gotta have it" reaction.

For the baskets:

  • Less candy in smaller packages
  • Add more non-food items
    • Action items like balls, Frisbees, yo-yo's, yard games, bubbles
    • Books, stuffed animals, hair accessories, collector cards, magazine
    • Gift certificates for a manicure, car wash, massage, nail polish
  • Find small packets of nuts or create them yourself, adding a pretty ribbon 
  • Decorated, hard-boiled eggs, of course
  • Mini packages of dried fruits
  • Colorful apple, orange, banana or other fruit
When you do choose to have a high sugar food:
  • Decide ahead of time what you will choose
  • Put your serving an a plate 
  • Sit down before you eat 
  • Have a glass of milk with it, or something else nutritious to balance out the sugar/insulin response
  • Eat it mindfully: taste, experience, and enjoy
Remember my motto: If You Give Yourself a Cookie, Don't Forget the Milk!
In other words, when you eat or drink something high in sugar, don't forget to eat something healthy, too!!


  1. I liked this and oh how true but I should have read this earlier!! I'm going to go and get me a glass of milk! Happy Easter.

  2. Sugar makes me feel sooo lethargic--you saying drink a glass of milk made me want to ask you what kinds of foods can I eat to counteract too much sugar? I hate feeling tired and irritable because of sugar.

  3. Be sure to eat nutritious, regular meals and snacks even on the days you have your sweet treat: don't skip meals to "make up" for it. Foods that add fiber, protein and even a bit of fat will all slow down the digestive rate and end up calming the big sugar surge and what some people call the "crash" they may experience after eating the sugary treats . Milk or soy milk are easy ways to add protein and sip while you eat. Other ideas include eating just a few almonds or other nuts, veggies, or a piece of whole fruit.

  4. Lynn emailed me with a great find, "On the news tonight they showed an Easter Apple Hunt at Lyman's Orchard. How about that for a great idea. How can you go wrong with apples?" Talk about an orchard thinking outside the basket!

  5. Judy sent in her great idea, "Just another thought on non-candy Easter basket gifts--I Tunes cards. I got them for the
    grandchildren." Way to go, Judy!


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