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What is the 'healthiest' Easter candy? Dietitians share their 8 favorites

Why dietitians say everyone should enjoy Easter candy, and their top picks
girl holding easter eggs
Henglein and Steets / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Easter is around the corner, and that means giant chocolate bunnies, cream-filled eggs and jelly beans galore. If you’re watching your candy intake, you may want to opt for the “healthiest” option on the store shelves. But let’s be honest — candy doesn’t really check the health food box. The good news is that registered dietitians say it’s perfectly fine to eat and enjoy Easter candy.

Here are a few things to consider when making your holiday candy choices.

“Moderation, not deprivation, is at the heart of my nutrition philosophy, which certainly carries over into how to handle holiday treats, like Easter candy,” says  Elizabeth Shaw, registered dietitian and author of the “Air Fryer Cookbook For Dummies.” Christine Byrne, registered dietitian and the owner of Ruby Oak Nutrition in Raleigh, North Carolina, agrees: “Easter only happens once a year, so I encourage people to enjoy the day and then move on.”

Both dietitians encourage clients to choose seasonal candy that they truly enjoy and give themselves full permission to eat it in honor of the holiday. If you want the candy but opt for something healthier, “you might find yourself eating more overall in an attempt to feel satisfied,” Byrne explains. She suggests eating the candy and paying attention to how you feel physically and mentally. “You might notice that the more candy you eat, the less you appreciate its flavor, which is a signal to stop eating it for the time being,” she adds. 

Above all else, the healthiest candy is the one that gives you the most satisfaction. Yet, some Easter candies have a slight nutritious edge over others. Below are experts' top choices. 

Lindt Milk Chocolate Mini Gold Bunny

Byrne lists this as her absolute favorite Easter candy. “It’s made from high-quality chocolate that has a perfect, velvety texture, and its shape means that each piece varies in thickness, which keeps every bite interesting,” she says. One mini bunny has 290 calories and 21 grams of added sugar, which is much less than the full size version. She also reminds everyone that you don’t have to eat the whole thing in one sitting — save some to enjoy tomorrow!

Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs

There’s something about the combination of peanut butter and chocolate that goes together so perfectly. Some people even swear the holiday-themed egg shape makes it taste better. As a registered dietitian, I love the flavor of these eggs and there's just 150 calories in three of them. Plus, the peanut butter offers some satiating healthy fat and protein. 

YumEarth Jelly Beans 

“As a parent to a child with a dairy allergy, holiday treats can be hard to navigate,” says Shaw. Thankfully, brands like YumEarth make candy free from the top allergens. “I’m a fan of this brand because they have portion-controlled packaging, preventing my kids from constantly asking for more,” says Shaw. One bag of jelly beans has 90 calories and 11 grams of added sugar, less than many other candies.

Cadbury Mini Eggs

The candy-coated milk chocolate egg is crunchy on the outside and creamy in the middle. “Nine eggs, which amounts to a small handful, will give you 160 calories and 22 grams of added sugar, similar to what you’d get in the same amount of any milk chocolate treat,” says Byrne. “Another thing to keep in mind about chocolate is that you get a combination of sugar and fat, which can lead to less of a blood sugar spike than a more sugar-heavy candy like jelly beans."

Hershey’s Cookies’N’Cream Polka Dot Easter Eggs 

“(This candy) brings me joy and reminds me of these mini white chocolate eggs my grandmother used to have every Easter,” says Shaw. “Part of having a healthy relationship with food, Easter candy included, means you can keep them in your house, enjoy them on occasion, and savor the memories,” she says. Plus, these eggs are small, so a serving consists of six candies for 150 calories. 

Ferrero Collection Crispy Eggs 

Each egg has a chocolate hazelnut filling housed in a crispy, chocolate and hazelnut shell. Three eggs have 170 calories and 11 grams of added sugar, which is slightly lower than many other candies. “Because each egg is pretty small, these are great for when you just want a little something sweet,” says Byrne.

YORK Dark Chocolate Peppermint Pattie Eggs

For those who like the refreshing combination of dark chocolate and mint, these peppermint pattie eggs are a winner. Two eggs have just 100 calories and satisfy the need for something sweet and tasty. Dark chocolate also has some well-documented health benefits.

Twizzlers Eater Bunnies Cherry Candy

If you like fruity candy, these cute Twisslers Easter bunnies are the treat for you. These bite-sized cherry-flavored licorice pieces have 100 calories in 16 bunnies. Unlike the chocolate candies that have a smaller serving size, you can eat a good-sized portion of these bunnies in one serving.