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Easter’s eggciting for kids, but here are FIVE tips to avoid that sugar rush and two recipes to make together

Easter is a fun time, Spring is here and there are chocolate easter egg hunts to join. But, kids rarely receive just one easter egg which means their sugar intake can rocket. So how does a parent avoid the dreaded ‘rushand how much sugar should a child have anyway?

One survey[1] looking at the sugar content of Easter eggs revealed that one medium chocolate egg provides around 23 teaspoons of sugar whilst ‘Extra-large’ Easter eggs with supplementary chocolate bars provide about 73 teaspoons.  Smaller chocolate bunnies provide anything between 13 and 28 teaspoons.

Government advice[2] is that younger children aged 4 to 6 years should have no more than 19 grams (about 5 teaspoons) of sugar daily. Older children, aged 7 to 10 years, should have no more than 24 grams daily (around 6 teaspoons) and adults no more than 30 grams daily (approx. 7 teaspoons). 

So, bearing this in mind here are a few tips from Dr Emma Derbyshire, registered Public Health Nutritionist on how to lower sugar intake during Easter – without having to completely sacrifice chocolate:

 Tip 1 – Leave off sugary decorations.  When baking Easter cakes think about using berries or Easter chicks to decorate instead of adding extra lashings of chocolate or sugary sprinkles.

 Tip 2 – Save a bit.  Break up chocolate eggs and give pieces to children over the course of a week rather than having a whole egg in a single day. 

 Tip 3 – Mix it up.  Mix chocolate up with fruits such as blueberries, blackberries or strawberries.  That way chocolate and fruits are put on the same level playing field. Colourful, naturally sweet berries can be a great Easter treat too!

 Tip 4 – Do some swaps.  Having a hot chocolate made with cocoa powder and semi-skimmed milk only provides 6.5 grams of sugar compared with 56 grams found in the equivalent amount of milk chocolate (100g)!

 Tip 5 – Give Easter trail mix a go.  This trail mix can be put into small jars or cardboard boxes, tied up with ribbons and hidden or placed on meal tables.  Include things like: fresh mixed berries, dried fruits such as raisins, cherries, mango or apricot slices, low sugar popcorn and chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips. 

Easter bunnies

These no bake Easter novelties are fantastic fun to make with the kids on Easter Sunday.

Serves 8
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Chilling time: 2-3 hours

285g pack Madeira cake
100g (4oz) cream cheese
½ teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
100g (4oz) strawberries, hulled
250g (9oz) good quality white chocolate, broken into pieces
6 tablespoons desiccated coconut or grated white chocolate
100g (4oz) white ready to roll icing
18 pink mini marshmallows
18 mini red sugar coated sweets (mini Smarties)
36 mini blue edible sugar balls

 

  1. Thinly trim the dark brown edges from the Madeira cake then make into crumbs by cutting into pieces and blitzing in a food processor or liquidiser or by crumbling into tiny pieces with fingertips.
  2. Beat the cream cheese and vanilla in a bowl until smooth.  Finely chop the strawberries and add to the cream cheese with the cake crumbs.  Mix together.
  3. Divide the cake mixture into 18 even sized mounds and roll into balls.  Put on to a baking sheet and freeze for 15 minutes.
  4. Break the chocolate into pieces and melt in a bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water, making sure that the water doesn’t touch the base of the bowl, for about five minutes.  Stir the chocolate until smooth and take the bowl off the heat.
  5. Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper.  Spear one of the cake balls on a fork then either swirl into the melted chocolate to coat or, using a teaspoon, spoon a little melted chocolate over the cake ball as it is held over the bowl, allowing the excess chocolate to drip off.  Transfer the coated cake ball to the baking sheet and sprinkle half the ball with a little coconut or grated chocolate ‘fur’.
  6. Continue coating the remaining cake balls in chocolate and sprinkling with coconut or grated chocolate until they are all done.

To make the ears, cut the mini marshmallows in half and break off tiny pieces of white icing.  Roll into balls and press into ovals a little larger than the marshmallows with fingertips dusted with icing sugar.  Press the icing around a marshmallow and pinch the top into an ear shape.  Press two on to each cake ball.  Add eyes and noses with sweets.  Chill in the fridge for one hour until set, then arrange in paper cake cases.  Eat within two days of making.

Blueberry Hot Cross Buns

Makes 12

Preparation time: 40 minutes

1st rising time: ¾-1 hour

2nd rising time: 20-30 minutes

Cooking: 15 minutes

Buns
500 g (1 lb 2oz) strong plain white bread flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoons ground mixed spice

50 g (2 oz) caster sugar

Grated rind 1 orange

Grated rind 1 lemon

50 g (2 oz) butter, diced

2 teaspoons easy blend dried yeast

200-250 ml (7-8 fl oz) milk

1 egg, beaten

150 g (5 oz) blueberries

Crosses

100 g (4 oz) strong plain white bread flour

6 -6 ½ tablespoons water

Glaze

2 tablespoons caster sugar

4 tablespoons milk

1)    Mix the flour, salt, spice, sugar and fruit rinds together in a large bowl. Add the butter and rub in with fingertips until it resembles fine crumbs then stir in the yeast.

2)    Warm the milk in a small saucepan or in the microwave until it feels warm to your little finger. Add the egg to the flour mix then gradually mix in enough of the warm milk to make a soft but not sticky dough.

3)    Tip out on to the work surface then knead for 10 minutes, dusting the work surface lightly with flour as needed. Put the dough back into the bowl, cover with a teacloth and put in a warm place for 45-60 minutes until the dough has doubled in size.

4)    Knead the dough once more then gently knead in the blueberries. Cut the dough into 12 pieces, shape into round buns and put slightly spaced apart on a large greased baking sheet. Cover loosely with a large piece of oiled clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place for 20-30 minutes. 

5)    Sift the flour for the crosses into a bowl and mix in just enough water to make a smooth pipeable mixture. Spoon into a disposable plastic or greaseproof paper piping  bag, snip off the tip and pipe crosses over the buns.

6)    Bake at 190°C / 375°F / Gas Mark 5 for 15 minutes until well risen and golden. Meanwhile make the glaze by dissolving the sugar in the milk in a small saucepan then boiling for 1 minute. Brush over the buns as soon as they come out of the oven. Leave to cool then serve split and buttered

Tip

Make sure to use easy blend dried yeast as this doesn’t need to be frothed in warm water or milk before mixing with flour. If unsure, check on the back of the yeast pack.

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Diane Cooke
Diane Cooke is a three times award-winning journalist who has worked for UK national/regional newspapers, magazines and websites.

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