When my son was diagnosed with food allergies several years ago, besides figuring out the day to day logistics, holidays were next on my mind. What about Christmas, Halloween and Easter? I love celebrating holidays big, and thankfully with a few tricks we can celebrate without allergies putting a dent in our fun. Easter turned out to be a pretty easy one to manage, and it’s also one of our favorite holidays!
Fill eggs and Easter baskets with springtime, non-food items:
Stickers, tattoos, small toys, and animal-shaped erasers are all easy ways to fill Easter eggs. We like to fill Easter baskets with bubbles and sidewalk chalk to play with Easter afternoon. Coloring books and art supplies are popular too, and provide hours of play.
Use allergen-friendly candy:
Dum-dum suckers and tootsie rolls are typically free of all allergens (always check the label). Every year I find several different candies on the Easter aisle that are allergen friendly. Hershey’s does a fantastic job of labeling foods that contain allergens as well as foods that are processed with allergens. Since our son is only allergic to nuts and eggs, most years I can find a safe Hershey’s chocolate Easter bunny for his basket. There are usually several choices of allergen-friendly jellybeans as well. One suggestion is to always check the label seasonal candy, because sometimes the processing is different for holiday batches of candy than the regular goodies. When we go to Easter egg hunts at other people’s houses, I just ask him to wait and not eat the candy inside the eggs until I have chance to check it out. Then I can take out any candy that isn’t safe, and he can trade it for some candy at home.
Make treats together:
Easter is a great opportunity to make treats together that you can serve for Easter dinner or during the Easter season. You can make Rice Krispie treats together and mold them into egg shapes. Since many different fruits are in season this time of year, arrange some fresh fruit for guests, or dip fruit in chocolate. Enjoy Life brand has several different allergen-friendly cookies, as well as allergen-free chocolate chips. If you want to bake together, try baking cookies with a shortbread cookie recipe and use spring animal-shaped cookie cutters. Shortbread cookies contain fewer ingredients than regular sugar cookies, but have a delicious flavor. Although they contain milk and wheat when using butter and flour, it is free of all of the other allergens. If desired, decorate the cookies with different colors of icing.
Make crafts together:
This time of year the stores are full of kits to paint ceramic eggs or to dye keepsake craft eggs. These are eggs that you can keep year after year. They are also fun to use in an Easter egg hunt, and you don’t need to fill them.