Easter is often associated with chocolate bunnies, artificial colors and a big, high-fat meal. According to the National Confectioner’s Association, Easter is one of the biggest holidays for candy consumption, with 120 million pounds of candy being purchased every year. Let’s not forget the 16 billion jelly beans that are made for the occasion. Yikes!
There’s so much opportunity for healthful fun during this spring holiday. A festive Easter doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your health; there many resources right at your fingertips, and we’ve collected a few of our favorites to share with you.
Photo by Fotolia.
Ditch Artificial Colors
Artificial colors are extremely harmful, with each one having its own nasty side effects. Luckily, Mother Nature has provided us with vibrant, beautiful plants with extracts that can be derived to make safe, effective food coloring or dye. Turmeric, matcha, beets, berries, cocoa, spinach and carrots are just a few of the plants that can add a rainbow of colors to cakes, appetizers, Easter eggs and just about anything else your heart desires.
If you don’t feel like making or buying natural food coloring, top your desserts with fresh berries or use garnishes like parsley, carrot shavings or lemon to make your main dishes gorgeously bright.
Clean Up the Easter Baskets
Have you read the back of that chocolate bunny from the grocery store? More times than not, you will discover a list of unidentifiable or just straight bad-for-you ingredients. Choose companies that are dedicated to make delicious, healthy treats, like The Natural Candy Store, Rose City and Allison’s Gourmet which all carry vegan, organic and fair trade treats. Sjaak's Organic Chocolates offers a load of adorable Easter treats and gift baskets.
I think it’s important to steer away from giving the kids too much candy, so add in some cute, festive items with a little more substance. Annie’s Organic Cheddar Bunnies taste similar to Goldfish crackers, but they’re a safer, healthier choice. I recently came across Bitsy’s Brainfood, and they make a variety of foods aimed towards kids, like alphabet-shaped cookies that are infused with healthy ingredients. As an added bonus, there are games on the back of the packaging.
When making Easter baskets, I try to stay away from using only edible items, so I will toss in some beauty items or toys, too. This year, I’m making adult baskets in addition to the treats I am preparing for nieces and nephews, so I am going to add a few Mad Hippie Skin Care products. Mad Hippie is an all-natural line and the packaging is covered in flowers…pretty fitting for Easter.
Change Up the Meal
Over the past few years, our Easter menu has begun to gradually change…for the better. If you’re like us, you have a feast including ham, stuffed eggs, potato salad, some kind of Jello-thing, and too many cakes or pies.
This year: No ham. We’ll be focusing our meal around healthy, plant-based, bright-colored dishes like spinach salad with strawberries and goat cheese, roasted herb potatoes, grape-blueberry skewers and mushroom quiche. For dessert, I’ll be serving strawberry rhubarb Hail Merry Miracle Tarts, which are tiny, vegan, non-GMO, all-natural desserts. Each tart contains only 3 grams of sugar and is made with wholesome ingredients, such as coconut oil and almond flour.
Breathing fresh air does wonders for the mind and body, as does exercise. Have fun and engage with your family by planning events outside following your meal. We usually have an Easter Whiffle Ball game, and it’s great exercise for all ages.
Plan an egg hunt for the kids. And one for the adults, too! Adult hunts are hilarious and a lot of fun. Separate everyone into two teams, each having a specified egg color to search for. Each team hides the other team’s eggs. You decide what the winning team gets.
Let this Easter be the first step in striving for more healthful, earth-friendly holidays!
Karyn Wofford is a type 1 diabetic, EMT and Certified Wellness Specialist. For years she has educated herself on wellness and natural, wholesome living. Karyn’s goal is to help people be the healthiest they can be while living fun, happy lives.