Saturday, April 2, 2011
Ready for Easter?
Nothing used to stress me out like another colorful holiday where my kids would have to miss out on treats while their friends get to stock up on the sugar. This year seems easier than ever to stay dye free. In case you are worried about how to get through another holiday, here's a summary of current and past ideas for Easter. Make a trip to the health food store or shop online for Surf Sweets jelly beans. They are natural and taste great. I bought a few bags on my last trip. You can also find great natural candies at Trader Joes and Whole Foods. Unfortunately, these stores are not convenient to my home, so I rarely shop there. Check out a Kroger Marketplace. I have the good fortune of a new one close to home. Ours has a bulk food aisle with many surprises. We stopped there this weekend to get some bulk quinoa (my new favorite healthy breakfast). My 11 year old noticed the gummy bears were naturally colored. Lucky for us the ingredients were easily posted on bulk food containers. Then we realized we had many new dye free choices: jelly beans, gummy bears, fruit candy, and Sundrops (natural candy coated chocolate like M&M's) in regular and peanut. All these choices were available in bulk. Yay! Consumer pressure is working. Annies is also a good brand for organic gummy bunnies: cute for Easter and found in lots of stores including Kroger. Other Easter ideas: fill plastic eggs with non candy items. In the past we've used plastic soldiers, police, firemen, butterflies, and bugs. We've used dinosaurs, golf tees, foam golf balls, Sillly Bandz, etc. You could also use pennies. Eggs are just as fun without all the candy. I have used larger eggs to fit plastic toys better (I have a bunch that are about 3 inches long). A bag of little trinkets doesn't cost much more than candy and lasts a whole lot longer. Also, watch out for inexpensive chocolate. They may add red dye to make up for the lack of real cocoa or many brands have artificial flavor, which is still a petrochemical like the food dyes. You may also want to prep the grandparents or other family members. Simple reminders go a long way. Tell them to avoid chocolate bunnies that have the cute colored bows and eyes. Take your own candy to family functions if you need to. I was lucky that my mom stopped sending candy and substituted cash or gift cards to book stores. As my kids have gotten bigger, gift cards for books or itunes have been huge hits. We also tend to skip the regular colored eggs. We have used kits that have stickers or sleeves that shrink over the eggs. That way we still have the project of decorating eggs, without intense petrochemicals seeping through the shells. Feel free to post any other ideas you have, especially if you have colored eggs with natural colors.