Some Easter candy comes fat free

Published On: Jan 19 2012 10:44:41 AM EST   Updated On: Sep 20 2010 03:28:26 AM EDT

Esther Groen/SXC

It's hard not to raid your child's Easter basket. The leftover goodies from the egg hunt are going to stare you down when you get home for weeks afterward. Here's the information you'll need to make better choices about which treats to snag.

I invited members of my family over for pre-Easter lunch to taste-test some of the most traditional Easter candies on the market.

Pure Sugar Has No Fat

As it happens, I have a reputation with 5-year-old Sam for stocking marshmallows, and as soon as we pushed back from the lunch table, he asked if I had any.

I told him I didn't have the white kind he's used to, and asked if he'd be willing to try the sugar-coated, chicken-shaped marshmallows synonymous with the season. He'd never heard of Peeps, but in the pursuit of scientific taste testing, he agreed to try them.

Peeps -- Serving size: 5 chicks. 140 calories, 0 g. fat, 15 mg. sodium, 36 g. carbs, 34 g. sugar, 1 g. protein

"I like the marshmallow!" Sam declared, and that was the end of his taste testing.

He sampled the rest of the box of Peeps while the rest of us moved on, much to the relief of my husband.

These are terrible," he said after a bite.

He grew up overseas and was deprived of a Peep-fueled childhood.

Gimbal's Gourmet Jelly Beans 41 Flavors -- Serving size: 37 beans. 140 calories, 0 g. fat, 10 mg. sodium, 35 g. carbs, 32 g. sugar

Jelly beans, like Peeps, are almost entirely made of sugar, and therefore are fat-free and among the lowest-calorie Easter treats. I thought the flavors were pretty artificial, but my sister loved the variety and dove into the bag repeatedly to pull out the blueberry beans.

No One Can Eat Just One

Many Easter chocolates are a perfectly sane indulgence -- a burst of satisfying flavor with few enough calories you could burn them off by walking down to chat with your boss instead of calling her on the phone. But that's only if you have just one chocolate egg.

Cadbury Mini Eggs -- Serving. size: 5 eggs. 200 calories, 9 g. fat (5 saturated), 30 mg. sodium, 28 g. carbs, 26 g. sugar, 3 g. protein, 5 mg. cholesterol

These eggs had a shell crunchier than an M&M, and the chocolate is smoother. My sister liked the fact that they looked like eggs, but my uncle Bill didn't think they were very rich, considering the nutritional stats.

We also tried two competing brands of malted milk eggs.

Necco Speckled Malted Milk Eggs -- Serving size: 7 eggs. 190 calories, 6 g. fat (6 saturated), 70 mg. sodium, 32 g. carbs, 24 g. sugar, 1 g. protein Brachs Fiesta Malted Milk Eggs -- Serving size: 5 eggs. 180 calories, 5 g. fat (3.5 saturated), 35 mg. sodium, 31 g. carbs, 27 g. sugar, 1 g. fiber, 1 g. protein, 5 mg. cholesterol

I thought the Necco product had a more delicate taste, but my husband voted for the Brach's. My sister didn't notice much difference.

"I always feel like I'm eating malt mix right out of the jar with these," she said.

Classic Cadbury Crushes Caramel Cousin

Cadbury Creme Egg -- Serving Size: 1 egg. 150 calories, 5 g fat (3 saturated), 20 mg sodium, 25 g Carbs, 22 g sugar, 1 g fiber, 1 g protein, less than 5 mg cholesterol Cadbury Creme Egg with caramel center -- Serving Size: 1 egg. 170 calories, 9 g. fat (5 saturated), 60 mg. sodium, 21 g. carbs, 16 g. sugar, 0 g. fiber, 2 g. protein, less than 5 mg. cholesterol

We pitted the classic Cadbury with the fondant center against a newer, caramel-centered version. The classic egg called one tester off the bench. He isn't a sweets fan, so he was mostly watching his son consume Peeps. But something about the classic Cadbury called to him.

"The insides are so good," he said.

My mom noted the extra calories in the caramel Cadbury's and said the flavor doesn't justify them. For my family, the classic was the hands-down winner.

Brand Battle Gives Edge To Hershey

Dove Smooth Milk Chocolate Truffle Egg: Serving size: 1 egg. 150 calories, 10 g. fat (7 saturated), 15 mg sodium, 14 g. carbs, 13 g. sugar, 1 g. protein, 1 g. fiber, 5 mg cholesterol

Dove has been making chocolate since the 1950s, and my family came to the table with a bias in its favor.

"It's much better chocolate than Cadbury," my husband said.

My mom and sister said it was the truffle center that ruined the Dove experience for them.

Hershey's Kisses, Milk Chocolate with Almonds -- Serving size: 9 pieces. 230 calories, 14 g. fat (7 saturated), 30 mg sodium, 21 g. carbs, 19 g. sugar, 1 g. fiber, 4 g. protein, 10 mg. cholesterol

Hershey's Kisses first hit stores in 1907, and it seems they'll still be selling them to my family in 2057. The roasted nut in the center sold both my mom and Shawn on their simple perfection. The spring-colored, foil-wrapped eggs with almonds won the whole family over.


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