Q. Can you suggest ways to get away from filling an Easter basket with candy without the child feeling deprived?
A. "Kids are all about quantity," says pediatrician Dyan Hes, a Great Neck resident and medical director of Gramercy Pediatrics in Manhattan. "They like to see a lot of stuff in the basket." But that stuff doesn't have to be candy. Hes has the following tips:
* Make the basket look like it's got Easter Bunny food. Add carrots and celery. Use lettuce leaves as a decorative base.
* In plastic eggs, put stickers, tattoos and small toys.
* Add a holiday-themed arts and crafts project.
* If the child has no allergies and is old enough that they're not at risk of chocking, add nuts or dried fruit.
* Add bags of pretzels or crackers. Annie's makes organic bunny-shaped cheddar crackers.
* Break up packages. A child doesn't need the whole sleeve of Peeps. Two are enough.
* Add a holiday book. Hes says her kids loved "Dora's Easter Adventure."
* "I'm not opposed to some chocolate," Hes says. But say to your kids, "Let's take out all the candy and put it on the table." Divide it into plastic bags with days of the week. Tell them, "Easter will last much longer for you." Make a contest between your kids of who can make their candy last longest. "Kids love any type of competition," Hes says. That cuts down on immediate sugar intake.