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How to support balanced eating habits for kids at Easter

Fennies are proud to be accredited by the Early Years Nutrition Partnership (EYNP) for our menus and contribution to supporting good nutrition in the early years. As part of our subscription, we are delighted to bring you regular nutrition updates and evidence-based articles written by our Registered Nutrition Professionals from EYNP, Janet Aylott and Catherine Lippe.

child holding easter eggs

Easter brings lots of fun and celebrations for children (and adults too!). Inevitably it also brings chocolate eggs and sweet foods. If you’re concerned about your child overdoing it with chocolate this Easter, I’m here to reassure you that a little bit of what we fancy is perfectly healthy. I’ll also share some non-food related celebration ideas for your Easter festivities.

How to handle the chocolate this Easter

There’s no denying that Easter eggs are fun and tasty but we can easily over-egg (pardon the pun!) these foods by calling them ‘treats’, using them as rewards or getting over-excited about them ourselves.  

baby eating easter eggs

Making a big deal of these foods, or using them as rewards, can give children the idea that they are more desirable and give us more enjoyment than other foods. Instead aim to take these foods down off the pedestal we have inadvertently created. Call foods by their name rather than labelling them as healthy, unhealthy, treats or rewards.

Don’t get overexcited about them with comments like “ooooh wow! An Easter egg! You’re so lucky!” If you wouldn’t talk about other foods like this don’t do it with celebration foods either. When we create a more level playing field for foods, we help children to understand that Easter eggs are tasty but so is pasta, cheese and melon etc.

table of easter food

Another way to support this level playing field is to demonstrate what a balanced diet looks like. Offering chocolate bunnies as part of your child’s meals or snacks (on the same plate if you’re comfortable with that) helps to send the message that these foods are part of a balanced plate.

Over Easter, it is natural for chocolate and sweets to appear more frequently as part of meals or snacks but that’s OK. You are in charge of what food is served in the coming days and weeks and you can balance it out if you feel you need to.

If you find your child is repeatedly asking for chocolate between meals you can gently remind them that it isn’t quite lunchtime yet but we can certainly have some chocolate with your sandwich. This way you are maintaining boundaries around when food is served but your child is reassured that chocolate isn’t forbidden and they will know when to expect it again.

Making sure the focus of Easter isn’t all on chocolate

child holding easter eggs

Aside from chocolate eggs and Easter sweets think about how else you can make the celebration fun. Adding games, crafts, songs and dedicated family time to celebrations will help teach children that food is just one part of the festivities.

Check out these Easter-themed games and activities that you can try at home with your little ones this Easter.

Pin the tail on the bunny

colour in a large bunny template with your children and use cotton wool balls for the bunny tails. Use a scarf as a blindfold and see who can pin the tail on the bunny!

Carrot toss

every Easter bunny needs lots of carrots and this game is simple and fun for little ones. All you need is a basket and a bag of carrots. See who can toss the most carrots into the basket.

child holding basket of easter eggs

Egg matching competition

For an educational twist this game is great for letter recognition. Using a sharpie, write uppercase letters on one half of the plastic egg, and the corresponding lowercase letters on the other half. Separate the halves and mix them up in a basket or bowl then challenge your child to find matching letters.

Paint and decorate a hard-boiled egg

With funny faces or your best Easter design. Then find a hill to roll the eggs down and see whose egg reaches the bottom first.

Discover more Easter activity inspiration!

Janet Aylott

Janet Aylott

EYNP Nutritionist

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