9 Candy Ingredients to Avoid in the Easter Basket
By Claire Georgiou, Reboot Naturopath, B.HSc ND
Easter may find you eating too many cream-filled Easter eggs, chocolates, candies and other baked Easter treats. Eating too many of those sweets on this fun-filled holiday can trigger excess appetite, food cravings and weight gain. While it’s okay to enjoy those in moderation, unfortunately many store-bought Easter treats are full of unwanted processed junk and chemicals but with a few guidelines and suggestions this can be a healthy happy holiday! So here is a list of ingredients that are best avoided over the Easter holidays:
- Chocolate that Contains Vegetable Fats
Vegetable fat is a hydrogenated processed oil that is chemically treated to form a solid mass. This is normally produced from cottonseed oil and/or soybean oil that is often genetically modified. Hydrogenated fats give the chocolate its shape without the cost of natural cocoa butter.This is a very unhealthy trans-fat which is absolutely best avoided and can be related to increase in disease even in very small amounts. It’s important to read the ingredients on labels to get familiar with what brands contain what.
Many of the main stream candy bars and treats contain GMOs ingredients. Look for organic and GMO-free treats to enjoy or make your own.
- Artificial Colors, Flavors and Additives
Many Easter eggs and candies are full of artificial colors, flavors and additives that have been associated with hyperactivity, immune disturbances and even cancer. Some artificial flavors and colors are petroleum based and are sourced from non-food items making them pure chemical. Artificial flavors are designed to cover up added fillers and extras rather than expensive wholefood ingredients by tricking your brain into thinking it’s a delicious treat when in-fact it’s bitter or tasteless. It’s best to make homemade treats so you can know what’s in your food.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
HFCS causes considerably more weight gain than conventional sugars and is linked to obesity and other associated health diseases. This can be the first ingredient on many Easter treats so avoid completely. This is also called corn syrup or fructose.
- Regular Milk Chocolate
Go for a darker chocolate with a high cocoa mass such as 70% or higher, this reduces your intake of all the other nasties. Become familiar with brands and choose chocolate that is very natural and from wholefood ingredients.
- Sweet Syrup Fillings
Avoid the chocolates and eggs with the sweet syrup fillings, as these are loaded with extra calories, sugar and other chemicals. Go for smaller hollow dark chocolate eggs that are good quality or better yet make your own crème filled eggs like these Smart Sweet: Raw Cadbury Creme Eggs.
- Solid Chocolate Bunnies
This racks up the calories and sugar, plus other nasties quickly. It’s better to go for the lighter treats that are hollow with natural ingredients.
- Refined Flour Baked Goods
Opt for more wholegrain hot cross buns or better yet make your own for a wonderful homemade touch, like these Healthy Hot Cross Buns!
- Refined sugar
Not only do we overeat chocolate at Easter but we may also overindulge in other sweet treats and baked goods. Supermarkets are storing more and more processed foods for the holiday period which is best avoided. Make your own healthy desserts or better yet enjoy a juice or any other plant-based healthy recipe.
Remembering all this doesn’t mean you can’t have treats! It’s important to be aware of what you are eating, the quality of your treats and not to overindulge too much. If you do happen to over indulge here are some great tips on how to avoid those lingering cravings.
On the plus side, chocolate has many health benefits if chosen correctly! Chocolate contains naturally-occurring antioxidants called flavanols and epicatechins that are beneficial to your health. Here’s more on the kind of chocolate you should be eating.
Here are some great alternate healthy treats for Easter you can make for yourself and your family:
I hope you and your family have a happy, healthy and wonderful Easter!!!