Healthier Easter Baskets
A bunny with temper tantrums? An irritable, over-active rabbit who could not concentrate long enough to sort Easter baskets?
“That’s what the Easter Bunny would be like if he ate the brightly colored candies he brings children every spring,” said Jane Hersey, National Director of the Feingold Association (www.feingold.org), a charity that helps children with learning and behavior problems.
“Most parents would be shocked to learn that these candies’ vibrant colors come from petroleum-based dyes linked with hyperactivity, inattention, and other problems” said Hersey, whose own daughter's behavior was helped by eliminating these additives.
“With a little imagination, parents can prepare a beautiful Easter basket with healthier treats, as well as non-food items that can help take the emphasis off sweets,” said Hersey. She suggests that parents follow these simple tips:
Avoid candies containing the synthetic dyes Blue #1, Blue #2, Yellow #5, Yellow #6, Red #3, Red #40, Green #3 and Orange B.
Buy natural versions of delicious candies like jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, and peanut butter kisses. (Many of these treats are listed in the Feingold Association's Mail Order Guide and Foodlist & Shopping Guide.)
Include packages of heirloom flower or vegetable seeds, which the children can plant to emphasize the spirit of rebirth or renewal.
Choose smaller treats because, where candy is concerned, smaller is usually better.
Add some art supplies, such as crayons, brushes, and watercolors, in order to encourage creativity.
Put packages of dried pineapples, figs, raisins, dates, 100% fruit roll-ups, or homemade trail mix in the basket.
Include a new toy or book and top off the basket with a stuffed bunny or chick.
Be sure to feed your children a nourishing meal before they dig into their Easter treats, and consider planning an Easter egg hunt, so that they can get some exercise while having fun with the family.
“If you follow these suggestions, your kids will have a healthier Easter, and you will never have to fear the Easter Bunny again!” said Hersey.
Jane Hersey is National Director of the Feingold Association and author of Why Can’t My Child Behave?