About 90 million chocolate Easter bunnies, 700 million marshmallow Peeps and about 16 billion jelly beans — enough to circle the Earth three times — were made this Easter.

All of those bunnies, Peeps and jelly beans, along with lots of the other sweet treats, add up to about $2.1 billion dollars spent on candy. That is half of the FDA's $4.5 billion 2012 budget, points out food activist Robyn O'Brien, author of "The Unhealthy Truth."

I find that correlation very significant. To me, it shows that while many of us are asking the FDA to place bans and harsher rules on what is allowed in foods as far as artificial ingredients, but there are still many, many people who are willing to buy foods that contain these ingredients. Around holidays, these foods are purchased mainly for children in mass quantities. It's certainly a mixed message we're sending to the FDA, isn’t it?

Another problem is the leftovers. Not all of that candy gets eaten by the children who receive it. I know that much of the candy that was given to my children (not by me or my husband), will not get eaten. What are some options for leftover Easter candy?

  1. Donate it to homeless shelters. Wrap up candy in treat bags and donate it to children who probably didn’t get any Easter candy.
  2. Use your Peeps creatively. Try one of these seven ideas for leftover Peeps like making vodka-soaked Peeptinis and Peep Waldorf Salad.
  3. Create jelly bean art. Kids can draw pictures, trace the lines with frosting or blue, and decorate with brightly colored jelly beans.
  4. Chop up chocolate bunnies and chicks that won't get eaten, freeze the pieces and pull out to use like chocolate chips in cookies and other goodies.
  5. Any candy that is heat-resistant can be added to shoeboxes along with other needed items for our troops as part of Operation Shoebox. If the kids are off from school this week, this might be a great project for them to choose all the non-melting candy in their stash, shop for the rest of the items, and box it up and send it off before school starts again.
  6. Fondue. Make bunny fondue and dip lots of fresh fruit in it.
  7. Use Peeps in a flower arrangement. If you're doing some spring entertaining, this is a cute idea. Peeps are pressed against the inside of a short glass vase, and a smaller glass is place inside for the water and flowers.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.