When Kaiya was 3, someone gave her a mini chocolate egg at Easter, and she didn’t know what it was. She admired the shiny pink foil of her little sparkly treasure egg. She didn’t know that if she peeled the foil away, there would be chocolate underneath. That’s because all her Easters had been real-food celebrations! So from our family to yours, here’s a primal guide to having a healthy Easter. No sugar-crashes, indigestion, or tantrums. Just yummy food, healthy treats, and new traditions.
Celebrating Easter without junk food and processed chocolate is not hard or restrictive. Ok, it might require a little more time than stopping at the shop to buy chocolate eggs and marshmallows, but that time of creating your own celebratory food is part of the fun. Kids especially love to participate in making things for holidays and celebrations. This gives the holiday more meaning and vivid memories than simply hoarding gifts and over-indulging in food that makes them feel terrible afterward.
Easter Eggs & The Egg Hunt
Easter is all about eggs. So why are we eating chocolate shaped like eggs, instead of the real thing, which is one of the most nutritious, delicious, affordable and versatile foods on the planet?
– Decorate and hide Hard-Boiled Eggs
Instead of hiding chocolate eggs, hide the hard-boiled eggs that you’ve decorated yourself. Kids will love showing off and giving away their creations! Here’s how to make perfect hard-boiled eggs in the oven.
When Kaiya was little, we bought those plastic sleeves that magically decorate the eggs for you, and she told us the names of people to put on the eggs who she wanted to give them to. As she’s gotten a bit older, she loves to colour her own eggs with markers, stickers and natural dyes, and still loves giving them away.
– Fill and hide colourful Plastic Eggs
This is Kaiya’s favourite type of eggs to hunt, as she never knows what she will find inside the eggs she collects. I use the same dozen plastic eggs each year and put inside a variety of things like:
*Dried fruit – Kaiya loves white mulberries, cranberries, dates, apricots, figs and sultanas (raisins)
*Nuts & seeds – try delicious macadamias or pecans, cashews or a mixture with pepita seeds
*Berries – messier but delicious and fun
*Raw cheese bits
*High-quality raw chocolate squares
*Homemade jelly/gummy candies
*Coins – for her piggy bank
– Have an Egg Race with the collected eggs
Once the eggs are collected, play a game with them. Balance an egg on a wooden spoon or tablespoon and see who can finish the race without dropping the egg.
– Eat the collected eggs!
After we collect our eggs, we eat them with our Easter picnic lunch. You can also use them to make something fancier like deviled eggs, which I think are way yummier than chocolate. But I’m weird like that. 🙂
Chocolate, Treats & the Easter Basket
We decided from the start not to follow the tradition of gifting our daughter with an Easter Basket full of food and gifts. Her easter basket is the one she uses to collect her eggs during the egg hunt, and maybe put some healthy treats in to take to an Easter picnic. But I realise the gift basket is a big tradition for many families, so let’s just look at all the ways you can primalise your Easter treats and baskets.
– Fill your basket with healthy treats
It may take some time for your kids to adjust to fruit and paleo snacks in their basket if they are used to huge chocolate bunnies, so a good idea might be to slowly add in healthy additions to the basket along with a smaller amount of chocolate. Each year, you can make the basket more primal.
– Make homemade chocolate
It’s really so easy! Here’s the recipe:
1/2 cup cocoa butter
1 cup chocolate powder (cacao or cocoa)
1/4-1/2 cup raw honey, to taste
1 tsp vanilla or other flavor (orange or peppermint oil are good!)
Melt cocoa butter in a double boiler or metal bowl over a medium simmering pot of water.
Add remaining ingredients and combine.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pour chocolate onto paper. Or pour chocolate into molds.
Place in fridge until hardened.
– Make your own Cadbury eggs, marshmallow peeps, peanut butter eggs and other treats
Chicks, Lambs, & Bunnies
These baby animals symbolise Easter’s celebration of new life and springtime. Even in Australia, where it’s Autumn in Easter, these animals are the enduring mascots of the holiday.
This year however, instead of marshmallow chicks and chocolate bunnies, how about these awesome ways of incorporating Easter animals into your celebrations?
– Visit a nursery or petting zoo to see baby animals
Our local nursery hides plastic white eggs around the entire place, and the kids absolutely love the big hunt and filling their baskets, without any chocolate eggs or prizes. Plus, they get to visit with the baby animals at the same time!
– Make animal shapes with real food or healthy treats
– Cook up a delicious roast chicken, lamb or rabbit
My favourite is lamb shoulder. Just rub it all over with salt and pepper (and rosemary/thyme/garlic if you have it) and roast in 160C (325F) oven for 25 min. per 500g (per lb.).
– Celebrate Carrots: the Easter Bunny’s favourite food
What’s not to love about carrots?! They are highly nutritious, portable, delicious, cheap. No peeling, cutting, cooking or cutlery required. You can eat them raw, steamed, roasted, grated. Or you can make carrot juice!
Buy them in multicolour varieties if you can find them, for more bright colour on your Easter table or in Easter baskets. Leave some out for the Easter Bunny :). Try roasting carrots with butter and maple syrup (or honey) for a sweet veggie treat.
Find your balance of real food and junk food
As with all holidays and occasions, there is going to be junk food around. Instead of stressing yourself and your kids with trying to completely avoid the commercial crap, find a healthy balance that works for you and your family, your social environment, and where you are at in your primal journey.
As Kaiya now goes to daycare a couple days a week and spends time at friend’s houses who eat differently than us, we are realising that certain foods are going to be a part of her environment, whether we like it or not. She should have the chance to try unhealthy foods and learn to make decisions about how much is enough. Banishment of junk food only makes it more desirable! Find your balance for an enjoyable Easter.
What are your Easter traditions and usual Easter foods? Share your ideas in the comments below!
Primal Easter Recipe Guide & some fun activities – April 2014