Maelle’s 1st Easter

Easter certainly wasn’t ‘normal’ for anyone this year, but being forced to spend the holiday at home allowed us to have special time as a family and experience some age-old traditions in new ways. Continue reading “Maelle’s 1st Easter”

the Easter there was no sugar 

Unfortunately, Easter falls smack-dab in the middle of our ‘No-Added-Sugar’ Challenge.  Sorry, guess you’ll have to pass on inhaling all that extra sugar this year (insert sarcastic voice). Seriously, don’t we all regret that (first/second/third…) bag of jelly beans?

(If you’re really that broken up about it, there’s nothing stopping you from stashing a bag to eat May 1. It’s your sugar rush, not mine.)

Back to Easter.  Andrew and I have done baskets for each other every year since we got married, and for the last four or five years we’ve spent the holiday with his grandmother in Indiana.  I happily fill their baskets and–let’s be real–most of mine.  Andrew throws a couple surprises in for me, too.  He’s actually a fantastic gift-giver; over the years I’ve gotten floral running tights, stacks of books, a beautiful journal and tons of ‘healthy’ treats like fun granola, energy bars and specialty chocolate.

This year, I wanted to show everyone how easy it is to find no-added-sugar items for everyone’s Easter basket!  After a quick trip to Wegmans and TJMaxx, (and grabbing some of our own items from around the house), I put together some ‘themed’ baskets:

  1. For the ATHLETE:


Obviously, this one is near and dear to my heart, and features some of the items that will go into my basket.  New running socks, dry shampoo, hemp seeds, Evoke ‘Athlete Fuel’ cereal, Sunbutter (no added sugar version), a KIND fruit bar and a BondiBand sweat band. (You can get 10% off your order at BondiBand with my coupon code ‘healthypineapple.’)  To read my post on how AMAZING these sweat bands are, click here.

2.  For a WOMAN:


I had grandma in mind when I built this one, although it’s not exactly what she’ll be getting, since she reads the blog!  EOS hand lotion, nail file and polish, Bath and Body Works shower gel, Tom’s bar soap, a tea sampler and a lavender shave gel as well as a KIND fruit bar and a lemon Larabar. Since MY grandma isn’t doing a sugar challenge, I got her a couple treats, too, that aren’t shareable so Andrew and I won’t be tempted.

3.  For a MAN:


I don’t know about your hubby, but mine LOVES his everything-flavored bagels, so these pretzels were a must-buy when I saw they didn’t have sugar. Also in the basket: an adventure book about the Adirondacks, ‘manly’ hair gel, my favorite Project 7 gum (gotten get that everything-breath fresh!), beard soap and a trail mix.

4.  For a CHILD:


I realize this basket is a little anemic and girlie, but bear with me.  I grabbed some of my favorite childhood books, colored pencils, KIND fruit bars and a little board book I intend to give my bestie’s daughter when we see them just before Easter.  Kids are perhaps the easiest to satisfy, as small stickers, toys and trinkets will fit into plastic eggs. I’m always a huge fan of books as gifts for any occasion, and coloring books are all the rage these days.

Happy Easter-basket filling!


Buffalo News Refresh Blog – March 2016

Make your child’s Easter treats healthy and fun

by: Holly R. Layer

With Easter – and those baskets – fast approaching, I thought I’d offer some alternatives to candy and chocolate in the interest of promoting healthier choices. It’s OK to grab a bag of jellybeans and a Cadbury Egg while you’re at the store picking up all these fun ideas. After all, Easter comes but once a year. But make sure your child’s basket isn’t a sugar rush.

First, kudos to whoever came up with dying eggs at Easter. Not only is it a fun pastime to enjoy with your kids, hard-boiled eggs are packed with nutrition. One egg packs 12 grams of protein, 10 percent of both your daily vitamin D and B-12 needs, all for only 78 calories.

Because eggs don’t have carbohydrates – unlike yogurt, which has both carbs and protein – they’re an excellent source of protein if you’re going low-carb or pairing them with toast or pancakes in the morning.

Secondly, be aware of added sugars this time of year. Candy for Easter baskets is on sale at every store, and even I fall victim. In fact, I have bowls of jellybeans and chocolate eggs sitting out in the dining room right now. … That may not have been the wisest choice.

Small splurges aside, did you know that a medium McDonald’s Shamrock Shake costs you 660 calories and has a whopping 93 grams of sugar? That equates to approximately 23 teaspoons, or almost ½ cup, of sugar in one beverage. Even the 19 grams of protein (from the vanilla ice cream) doesn’t justify that kind of splurge.

Still craving that minty green drink? Make your own! Blend ½ cup plain Greek yogurt, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, half an avocado, 1 handful spinach, one to two drops mint extract and a splash of milk for a healthier version. Top with whipped cream and a cherry if you’d like!


Better-for-you goodies: Reach for items that aren’t 100 percent sugar, such as trail mix or nuts. Opt for small, individually wrapped pieces of dark chocolate, rather than large bars or eggs. Limit your child’s candy haul by portioning small amounts of sweets into a few plastic eggs, instead of giving them the entire bag.

Non-food items: Fill plastic eggs with small toys, like stickers, Legos, bubbles, art supplies or even loose change. Consider giving each child a portion of puzzle pieces so they can put it together as a group later.

Special surprises: Instead of a giant chocolate bunny as the centerpiece of the basket, put something more lasting inside, like a kite, a book, or seed packets for planting. Plastic eggs could hold clues for a treasure hunt.

Happy Easter!

Holly R. Layer, of East Aurora, is a registered dietitian who provides nutritional counseling to students at SUNY Buffalo State and teaches cycle and fitness classes at the Southtowns YMCA. She loves running, reading, fine stationery, colorful kitchen gadgets and ALL things food-related. An avid cook and baker, you can find her in the kitchen most days whipping up something yummy. Too bad her husband, Andrew, an East Aurora native, is the pickiest man alive! You can also find her writings at