HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Around 90 million chocolate Easter bunnies, 700 million marshmallow Peeps, and 16 billion jelly beans — enough to circle the Earth three times — were sold during the Easter merchandising season, according to the National Confectioners Association.
"I teach my kids that special occasion food is fine for special occasions," says The Nutrition Mom Stephanie Merchant. "They searched for eggs, got Easter baskets and and now it’s time to move any leftover candy on out of the house (or re-purpose it, your choice)."
A few of The Nutrition Mom's ideas for the leftover candy including the following:
- Donate it to homeless shelters. Create candy treat bags and donate it to children who probably didn’t get any Easter candy. Another great idea is to bring the candy to assisted living facilities or nursing homes. The residents would love a sweet treat. Staying for a visit would be a special bonus.
- Add heat-resistant candy to a shoe box, along with other needed items, for the U.S. military as part of Operation Shoe Box. This would be a great project for children. They can separate all of their non-melting candy and shop for the rest of the items, then box it up with a special note of gratitude.
- Paint with jelly beans. First, separate jelly beans by color. Place each color in a small container, like a mason jar. Add a little water and create your own watercolor paint. This is a good opportunity to discuss food coloring with your children as they are creating their Easter art.
- Melt leftover chocolate bunnies and create a chocolate fondue for a fresh fruit dip.
- Break up chocolate bunnies and freeze for later use as chocolate chips/pieces in granola, cookies or brownies.
- Create Easter S'mores with melted Peeps, chocolate from your bunnies and graham crackers.
- Dissolve your Peeps in your hot coffee or hot chocolate. Stir until frothy.
- Use Peeps to create colorful crispy rice cereal treats. Peep pops are also a fun idea.
- Use Peeps as the topping to your sweet potato casserole. This might be a good way to get a picky eater to give it a try.