What is the healthiest Easter candy?

Easter is right around the corner, which means shelves stocked full of chocolate bunnies, marshmallow chicks, and jelly beans. With so many sweets to choose from, it can be difficult to pick out the healthiest Easter candy options. As a health-conscious candy lover, you want to enjoy the festivities without going overboard on sugar and calories. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to do just that!

What Makes Easter Candy Unhealthy?

First, let’s examine what exactly makes most Easter candy unhealthy. Here are the main culprits:

High in Sugar

Many Easter candies are absolutely loaded with sugar. For example, a 1.5 oz chocolate bunny contains around 21 grams of sugar. Jelly beans are even worse, with around 22 grams of sugar per 1⁄4 cup. Consuming too much added sugar can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and tooth decay.

High in Calories

Hand-in-hand with high sugar content is high calorie content. Easter chocolate and candy is extremely energy dense, packing a lot of calories into small packages. Just one peanut butter egg has around 140 calories. It’s very easy to go overboard and take in excessive calories from Easter treats without even realizing it.

Low in Nutrients

What healthy qualities do Easter candies have? Very few, as they contain minimal complete nutrition. Most are simply empty calories from sugar and fat without beneficial protein, fiber, vitamins, or minerals. Nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains are much healthier choices.

Artificial Colors and Flavors

Many mass-produced candies contain artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, like yellow #5 and #6. Studies show artificial food additives may have negative health effects, especially on children. It’s better to choose naturally colored and flavored candies without additives.

Tips for Choosing Healthier Easter Candy

Now that you know what makes most Easter confections unhealthy, here are some tips for choosing healthier candies this year:

Dark Chocolate

Opt for dark chocolate over milk chocolate. Dark chocolate has less sugar and more cocoa, giving it higher concentrations of antioxidants and minerals. Look for chocolate with at least 70% cocoa. Just be mindful of portion size, as calories can still quickly add up.

Mini or Fun Size

When choosing chocolate candies, pick mini or fun size versions. These smaller pieces allow you to satisfy your sweet tooth with fewer calories and less sugar. Stick to 1-2 mini candies as a treat instead of a whole chocolate bar.

Skip the Extra Sugar

Avoid candies coated in extra sugar like sprinkles, crushed cookies, or powdered sugar. These coatings just unnecessarily boost the sugar and calorie content. Peeps and chocolate bunnies are common culprits – pick plain versions.

Fruit Flavored

Jelly beans, gummies, and other chewy candies come in many fruit flavors. Opt for these fruit-flavored varieties over chocolate- or cream-flavored. You’ll get fewer calories and a dose of natural sweetness. Just be mindful of portions.

No Artificial Dyes

Read ingredient lists and choose naturally colored candies without artificial dyes like Red #40 or Blue #1. Organic jelly beans and gummies are a good bet. Or opt for chocolate and caramel candies colored by natural ingredients.

The 11 Healthiest Easter Candy Options

Keeping those tips in mind, here are some of the healthiest Easter basket options for candy lovers:

Candy Serving Size Calories Sugar Benefits
Dark Chocolate Mini Eggs 5 eggs 100 7g Antioxidants from cocoa
Jelly Beans 15 beans 80 16g Fruit flavors
Gummy Fruit Slices 4 slices 60 11g Real fruit juice
Chocolate Pretzels 4 twists 110 7g Salty and sweet
Dark Chocolate Bunny Ears only 60 7g Cocoa flavanols
Marshmallow Chicks 2 chicks 60 8g Fun shapes
Jelly Beans 15 beans 80 16g Fruit flavors
Caramel Corn 1 cup 110 11g Popcorn fiber
Trail Mix Eggs 3 eggs 150 7g Nuts and raisins
Dark Chocolate Covered Nuts 1 ounce 170 7g Protein and fats
Dried Fruit 1 ounce 100 15g Natural sweetness

As you can see, dark chocolate, fruit-flavored candies, and options mixing sweet and salty or crunchy offer healthier treats for Easter. Just stick to recommended serving sizes.

Dark Chocolate Mini Eggs

Mini dark chocolate eggs provide antioxidant benefits from cocoa while limiting sugar and calories when eaten in moderation. Look for options that are at least 70% cacao.

Jelly Beans

Jelly beans made with real fruit juice offer vitamin C. Just go easy on portions, as small candies can add up fast. Or choose jelly beans made with natural colors and flavors.

Gummy Fruit Slices

Gummy fruit slices offer kid-friendly chewy texture, actual fruit juice for natural sweetness, and fun fruit shapes. Select gummies without synthetic dyes.

Chocolate Pretzels

Pretzels dipped in dark chocolate give you a salty-sweet crunch. The whole grains from pretzels also provide fiber. Just watch portions, as pretzel chips soaked in chocolate can be calorie dense.

Dark Chocolate Bunny

A dark chocolate bunny made with at least 70% cocoa offers antioxidants and less sugar than milk chocolate. Stick to eating just the ears if your bunny is large.

Marshmallow Chicks

These festive shaped marshmallows are hard to resist at Easter. Though high in sugar, they are fat free and provide a lighter treats option. Keep portions to just 1-2 chicks.

Jelly Beans

Jelly beans made with real fruit juice offer vitamin C. Just go easy on portions, as small candies can add up fast. Or choose jelly beans made with natural colors and flavors.

Caramel Corn

Caramel corn mixes crunchy popcorn with just a drizzle of sweet caramel. Popcorn provides fiber, making this a healthier choice than chocolate candies when eaten in moderation.

Trail Mix Eggs

Trail mix eggs provide protein, fiber, and nutrients from nuts and dried fruit. Pick options without added sugars or excessive salty nuts. Just watch your portions.

Dark Chocolate Covered Nuts

A small amount of dark chocolate covered almonds or pecans offers protein, healthy fats, and antioxidants. But the calorie count quickly climbs when eating chocolate covered nuts, so practice portion control.

Dried Fruit

Dried fruits like raisins, cherries, apples, or apricots make for a naturally sweet and fiber-rich Easter treat. Just go easy, as dried fruit calories and sugar add up quickly.

Healthy Homemade Easter Candy Recipes

For the ultimate healthy Easter treat, try making your own candy at home. That way you control exactly what goes into it. Here are some of my favorite healthier homemade candy recipes:

Peanut Butter Cups

– 1 cup creamy peanut butter
– 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
– 1/4 cup coconut oil
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– pinch of salt
– dark chocolate bars

1. Mix all ingredients except chocolate together until smooth.
2. Spoon peanut butter mixture into mini muffin tins lined with paper cups.
3. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.
4. Melt and pour chocolate over frozen peanut butter cups.
5. Drizzle with extra chocolate and refrigerate until set.

Nutrition per cup: 150 calories, 16g carbs, 5g protein

Almond Butter Eggs

– 1 cup creamy almond butter
– 2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– melted dark chocolate and garnish

1. Mix almond butter with honey and vanilla until smooth.
2. Shape into egg shapes using a spoon or egg mold trays.
3. Freeze until firm, about 1 hour.
4. Dip eggs in melted chocolate and garnish with nuts, coconut, or dried fruit as desired.

Nutrition per egg: 180 calories, 10g carbs, 5g protein

No-Bake Cookie Dough Bites

– 1 cup oats
– 1/2 cup almond butter
– 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
– 2 tbsp maple syrup
– 1 tsp vanilla

1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until a dough forms.
2. Scoop tablespoon sized portions and roll into balls.
3. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

Nutrition per ball: 110 calories, 11g carbs, 3g protein

Healthy Easter Candy Shopping Tips

Here are some final tips for shopping for healthier Easter basket options:

– Read nutrition labels and look for candies lowest in sugar and calories. Prioritize ones with less than 15g sugar per serving.

– Scan ingredient lists and avoid anything with artificial colors and flavors.

– Pick single serve packs or snack sizes instead of full size candy bars.

– Mix in some non-candy items like coloring books, small toys, bubbles, or sidewalk chalk rather than only sweets.

– Buy just 1-2 of your favorite candies to enjoy rather than massive amounts of different sugary treats. Moderation is key.

– Make fruit and yogurt parfaits or individual baggies with trail mix or granola for healthier homemade basket stuffers.


You can still enjoy tasty Easter treats while keeping added sugars, artificial additives, and calories in check. Opt for dark chocolate, naturally flavored fruit candies, and homemade recipes using nut butters and maple syrup. Read labels to choose products lowest in sugar and avoid artificial ingredients. Mix in some non-food items and use portion control. With a little planning, your Easter basket can be both fun and relatively healthy!

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