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Have a Happy – and Healthy – Easter!

By Jill Feilmeier on April 15, 2014 in Just for Kicks

Parents pushing kids on swings

Do you wake up with visions of chocolate bunnies, jellybeans and sugary Peeps on Easter Sunday? This year, try celebrating a healthier holiday instead with these delicious and nutritious recipes.

Eggs: A symbol of rebirth since ancient times, eggs have long been a part of Easter and Passover celebrations. Painting eggs started in Mesopotamia as a way to symbolize Christ's blood. Later in Europe and the U.S., decorating eggs became an art form. It became popular over time to make deviled eggs or hard-boiled eggs so as not to waste good food. And though some people worry eggs contribute to high cholesterol, they're actually good for you. Hard-boiled and deviled eggs are high in protein and vitamin D and contain no saturated or trans fats.

Lamb: Both early Christians and Jews have celebrated Easter and Passover with lamb, an important symbol for both religious traditions. Lambs also were among the first animals available for slaughter after the long winter, making it a natural spring dish in ancient times. For a new take on a lamb tradition, try this healthy lamb recipe, which substitutes fresh mint pesto for the traditional jelly.

Potatoes: If you feel guilty about eating potatoes, think again. Potatoes provide fiber, vitamins C and B and are full of fat-burning starch. If your family holiday isn't complete without a potato dish, try this recipe for spicy sweet potato wedges or this healthy mashed potato casserole recipe.

Chocolate: The Easter custom of giving chocolate goes back to the Victorian Age. Most dentists prefer chocolate to sugary candies that stick to your teeth, adding to your cavity risk. Antioxidants in dark chocolate help fight the bacteria in your mouth that cause cavities. So feel free to have a bite of your chocolate bunny this year. Just remember, everything in moderation!