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Easter is often associated with chocolate bunnies, artificial colors and a big, high-fat meal. According to the National Confectioner’s Association, Easter is one of the biggest holidays for candy consumption, with 120 million pounds of candy being purchased every year. Let’s not forget the 16 billion jelly beans that are made for the occasion. Yikes!

There’s so much opportunity for healthful fun during this spring holiday. A festive Easter doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your health; there many resources right at your fingertips, and we’ve collected a few of our favorites to share with you.

mother and daugthers coloring Easter eggs
Photo by Fotolia.

Ditch Artificial Colors

Artificial colors are extremely harmful, with each one having its own nasty side effects. Luckily, Mother Nature has provided us with vibrant, beautiful plants with extracts that can be derived to make safe, effective food coloring or dye. Turmeric, matcha, beets, berries, cocoa, spinach and carrots are just a few of the plants that can add a rainbow of colors to cakes, appetizers, Easter eggs and just about anything else your heart desires.

If you don’t feel like making or buying natural food coloring, top your desserts with fresh berries or use garnishes like parsley, carrot shavings or lemon to make your main dishes gorgeously bright.

Clean Up the Easter Baskets

Have you read the back of that chocolate bunny from the grocery store? More times than not, you will discover a list of unidentifiable or just straight bad-for-you ingredients. Choose companies that are dedicated to make delicious, healthy treats, like The Natural Candy Store, Rose City and Allison’s Gourmet which all carry vegan, organic and fair trade treats. Sjaak's Organic Chocolates offers a load of adorable Easter treats and gift baskets.

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