Easter is not only one of the holiest days for Christians, it’s also a day of indulgence. For many, it’s become synonymous with candy eating. Americans will buy more than 120 million pounds of candy for the holiday, making it second only to Halloween for eating chocolates and sweets.
Easter and Springtime = Peep Time
You might think as dietitians, we don’t eat candy. Not so. Here, we reveal 10 of our favorites.
1. Brach’s Jelly Beans. We’ll eat some 16 billion jelly beans for Easter and many RDs will be part of keeping that statistic a reality. Brach’s may sell a “Speckled” version now, but not much has changed with this classic confection. A Brach’s Classic Jelly Bird Egg has 11 calories. A 40-gram serving (14
beans eggs) will set you back 150 calories and 7 1/4 tsp sugar.
2. Cadbury Mini Chocolate Eggs. Along with jelly beans, these candy-coated chocolates are often “fillers” lining the bottoms of Easter baskets. But the sugar coating may have an advantage: “I like to let them melt in my mouth…so I actually find I’m satisfied with fewer pieces,” says Beth Wolfgram, MS, RD, CSSD.
Each has 16 calories, less than a gram of fat and less than a tsp sugar. An ounce (12 eggs) has 200 calories, 8 grams fat and 6 3/4 tsp sugar.
Even the Washington Post devotes annual Peep Culture diorama contests and entire art exhibits are devoted to the gooey critters.
Artificial colorings aside, a bunny has 27.5 calories and the chicks, 28. A serving of 4 bunnies or 5 chicks is 110 or 140 calories and 6 1/2 or 8 1/2 tsp sugar, respectively.
According to Anne Fletcher, MS, RD, LD, who eats Peeps everyday and is from PA, where Peeps were born, “You can buy them for EVERY holiday now—it used to just be for Easter. They’re fat-free and guilt-free in my book.”
4. Hershey’s Miniature Chocolate Eggs. Downsizing your candies will help save big in calories. These 29-calorie eggs are a relatively good calorie bargain…as long as you don’t eat 29 of them. A serving (7) has 220 calories, 12 grams fat, and 5 1/2 tsp sugar.
5. Brach’s Chicks & Rabbits. These are like a nougaty version of Peeps, made from with essentially the same ingredients–sugar and corn syrup. Each 30-calorie chick or rabbit has 1 tsp of sugar. Five of them (a serving) has 150 calories and 6 1/4 tsp sugar.
6. Brach’s Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Rabbits. One of my absolute favorites and Tina Musselman, RD, agrees: “The cheap ones are the best..don’t bother with the expensive ones.” You can enjoy four of these for 180 calories, 6 grams fat and 6 tsp sugar. One will set you back just 45 calories—but I’d eat four!
7. Hollow Chocolate Egg. There are several brands of real egg-sized hollow chocolate eggs. Unlike solid bunnies or eggs, the air-filled centers make them obviously lower in calories for their size. A typical hollow egg (40 grams) has about 110 calories, 8 grams fat and nearly 3 tsp sugar.
8. Cadbury Creme Eggs. These are one of the top-selling Easter candies and it’s an RD fave too. “I love, love, love Cadbury Creme Eggs! I bite the top chocolate part off and eat out the creamy ‘egg’ filling,” says San Francisco-based Sarah Koszyk, MA, RD.
One egg and it’s yolky interior has 150 calories, 6 grams fat and 5 tsp sugar. A fairly good choice. If you prefer the Cadbury Carmel Egg, has 170 calories, 8 grams fat and 3 3/4 tsp sugar.
9. Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs. “I trained the Easter bunny to only leave these in my basket,”says Suzanne Girard Eberle, MS, RD, CSSD. This candy is the same as a traditional Reese’s peanut butter cup but is egg-shaped One egg (34 grams) has 170 calories, 10 grams fat, and 4 tsp sugar and 4 grams protein. The minis have 44 calories each or 220 calories per the 5-egg serving. Reese’s score well with RDs because they have less sat fat and more protein than most other candies.
Some solid chocolate Easter bunnies can have more than 750 calories and a day’s worth of fat and several day’s worth of saturated fat. Make sure your bunny is hollow and no taller than 4″ and it should be more diet-friendly.
The PC way to eat a bunny is ears first, according to 76% of Americans; only 5% eat feet first and 4% start with the tail.