Celebrating Easter with Food Allergies

bunny 1As parents of kids with food allergies know, holidays can be a stressful time. Always celebrated with food, they require careful navigation and planning, as parents have to decide which cookouts are safe, which parties to politely decline, and how many special snacks to prepare ahead of time so that their children don’t feel left out. Celebrated with eggs and chocolate bunnies, Easter is no different, and can prove to be especially challenging for children with severe egg, peanut and dairy allergies.

Plan Ahead

Before Easter Sunday, your child’s class at school, church group or friends may throw an Easter party. Plan ahead for these kind of events by making plenty of allergy-friendly treats, and remind others of your child’s food allergies. As always, make sure you have a travel kit that includes an EpiPen, Benadryl and an inhaler in case of accidental exposure.

Allergy-Safe Easter Ideas

Egg Decorating: If your child has an egg allergy, never fear: he or she can still enjoy egg decorating with the use of plastic, wooden or Styrofoam eggs. Instead of the traditional dye method, your child can decorate these fake eggs using stickers or paint.

Easter Baskets: Traditionally filled with allergen-filled goodies such as chocolate bunnies and hard-boiled eggs, Easter baskets can easily be made allergy-friendly. Try filling your child’s basket with non-food items, including plush bunnies, toy cars and bubbles, as well as safe foods, such as homemade treats, fresh fruit and allergen-free candies.

Egg Hunting: Traditional egg hunts are probably not safe for your child, so instead consider throwing your own allergy-friendly “egg” hunt. Kids can have fun searching for plastic eggs filled with non-food items or safe candies. Older kids may also enjoy finding eggs filled with clues for a grand prize at the end of the hunt. If your child does attend an egg hunt with unsafe items, consider having a pool of safe treats and toys at home for your child.

Crafts: There are plenty of fun Easter-themed crafts that you can do with your kids besides decorating Easter eggs. Have your child make tissue paper flowers, create fancy greeting cards or attend a Build a Bear® workshop to make his or her very own stuffed Easter bunny.

Allergen-Free Easter Foods

Peeps: Usually safe for most food allergies, Peeps are a marshmallow candy popular at Easter-time.

Fruit: Fresh fruit is free of the top eight allergens, making it an attractive allergy-friendly option. Fancy fruit salads or fruit kabobs are a fun and colorful Easter treat.

Homemade Chocolate Candy: If your child can eat chocolate, you can make your own, allergy-friendly chocolate bunnies and eggs, with the use of Easter-themed candy molds. There are plenty of other allergy-friendly Easter recipes that you can try, including homemade Sunbutter-filled chocolate eggs and egg-shaped Rice Krispies treats

Allergen-Free Treats: With food allergies on the rise, there are plenty of companies specializing in allergen-free goodies that manufacture allergy-friendly Easter treats you can buy, either online or in a local grocery store.

Note that extra caution with Easter candy is highly recommended, even around packaged candies that you’ve already deemed safe. During Easter and other holidays, many of these companies process their candies differently, leading to potential cross-contamination issues and even unsafe ingredients. Double-check all labels, especially those of Easter-themed candies, and contact the manufacturer if you have any doubts.

Keeping our kids with food allergies safe during Easter and other holidays can be stressful, but keep in mind that our children pick up on our stresses and fears, and that can keep them from having a good time. By planning ahead and acting discreetly when appropriate, your child can enjoy a safe Easter without feeling singled out.

 


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