Why Your Kiddo Needs Chocolate In Their Easter Basket This Year | Growing Up Herbal | Planning your little's Easter basket? Don't forget the chocolate!

Easter Sunday will be here before you know it, and the majority of parents (at least here in the US) will be looking for goodies to fill their little one’s Easter baskets with.

Now I’m not here to talk to you about why Easter is celebrated, but I am here to talk to you about all that chocolate candy you may be thinking of putting into your child’s Easter basket and how it affects their skin, body, and overall health.

When I think of Easter baskets, the first thing that comes to mind is the big chocolate bunny that is the centerpiece of most baskets. You know… like the one in the photo above. 

Well did you know that those bunnies are junk for your kid? I’m sure you did, and you’re exactly right. They’re straight up J.U.N.K.

But here’s the good thing. I’m not going to tell you not to put chocolate in your kids Easter basket. In fact, I’m telling you that you SHOULD put chocolate in their basket… but only a special kind!

Dark Chocolate vs. Milk Chocolate

The health benefits of chocolate are a result of the cocoa beans used to make it.

Milk chocolate tastes better (thanks to the added milk and sugar), and it’s cheaper. That’s basically why it’s used in so many chocolate candies. And yes, there are some health benefits to it because it is made with cocoa beans, but it’s way less than dark chocolate. Add in the milk, sugar, and other junk ingredients that go into making most of the milk chocolate goodies you find in stores these days, and it just puts milk chocolate on the black list for me. Compared to dark chocolate, it’s just not worth it.

Now dark chocolate, on the other hand, is on my white list. It contains way more cocoa beans, and like I said before, that’s where the health benefits are. Yes, dark chocolate is more bitter and not as sweet as milk chocolate, but you can get different varieties of it. In the US, to be considered “dark chocolate” it has to contain at least 15% pure chocolate to be a “sweet dark chocolate” or 35% pure chocolate to be a “semi-sweet/bitter-sweet dark chocolate”. The more pure chocolate in it, the healthier (and more bitter) it is for you.

If your little is new to dark chocolate, I’d suggest starting with the sweet dark chocolate first. Once they get used to it, you can gradually switch it out for the semi-sweet chocolate. I mean, you don’t want to go all out healthy on them and have them spitting their Easter chocolates out, do you? No.

Why Dark Chocolate Is Good For Your Child’s Body And Skin

Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, and flavonoids are plant-based compounds that give plants their color. They’re classified as plant pigments that have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are known to reduce inflammation in the body, promote healthy arteries, and fight aging by preventing and repairing cellular damage. Who doesn’t want that for their kids. In fact… send some of that over my way too while you’re at it!

From what I’ve found, some of the most well-known flavonoids are quercetin (found in onion), rutin, hesperidin, ginkgetin (from the ginkgo tree) and tangeretin (from the tangerine).

Is anyone else seeing a pattern here with their endings? It looks like the majority of them end in the letters “in” with a lesser amount ending in “ol”. Maybe I’m the only one that finds that interesting… who knows.

Here’s another interesting little detail I found about dark chocolate. Did you know that dark chocolate contains more flavor compounds than red wine? It does! Red wine contains around 500 flavor compounds whereas dark chocolate contains around 1500. That’s a huge difference!  Now as far as these flavor compounds go, it’s affected by the types of cocoa beans, time of year, growing conditions, roasting temperatures, etc. Just some food for thought there.

30 Foods And Herbs That Are High In Flavonoids

Okay, so when it comes to getting more flavonoids in your kids diet, it comes down to what you feed them. I personally like to get the majority of my nutrition from foods… since that’s the way God created things you know. I mean, he wasn’t passing out daily supplements to Adam and Eve, now was he? On the other hand, I do recognize that in today’s world it’s difficult to eat the amount of food we’d need to eat to get all of the nutrients our bodies need on a daily basis. That’s where supplements come in. So considering that, me and my littles, we’ll be trying to do the best we can with getting our nutrition from our foods and we’ll toss in a few supplements here and there when needed.

Like I said earlier, flavonoids are what give plants and foods their color, so if your child is eating a good amount of colored foods, they’re probably getting a good amount of these healthy antioxidants in their diet. But in case you’re wondering what foods contain high amounts of flavonoids, here they are below.

  • Apples (flavonoids are in the skin)
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Capers
  • Chocolate (dark, not milk) and cocoa
  • Onions
  • Strawberries
  • Red grapes
  • Red wine
  • Tea (all kinds)

There are also a lot of herbs that you can use (nutritionally and medicinally) that are high in flavonoids. Some of the common culinary herbs are:

  • Basil
  • Borage
  • Celery
  • Chives
  • Cilantro
  • Dandelion
  • Dill
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Savory
  • Spearmint
  • Stevia
  • Thyme
  • Turmeric

So this Easter, if you’re giving your kiddo an Easter basket, make sure you switch out that unhealthy milk chocolate for some delicious and healthy dark chocolate. Your kids will learn to love it and you’ll be doing something great for their skin and body. Go you!

Do you give your little dark chocolate? If so, what brand or kind do you use?