Six years ago in a fit of pique this now paleo mom turned her family’s diet upside down. Frustrated beyond my tipping point with my son’s behavioral issues, I vowed to cut out all processed food, sugar, gluten, most dairy and many fruits and vegetables.
Worst. Timing. Ever!
I made this vow directly before my twin son’s birthday which also happened to fall on Easter Sunday. Good timing, huh?
Even though we had Easter egg hunts, parties and family dinners arranged, I did it. I managed to keep my kids away from all those food items. Not a single jelly bean got past their lips, I scraped the glaze off the ham at the family dinner (not a classy sight,) and my wallet was significantly lighter for all the trading I’d had to embark upon with these cute but smart six year-olds.
When kids are young you can do these things – send food with them to birthday parties, hover to make sure they make the right choices, lead by example and they will follow. But it gets harder.
Newsflash: Kids Grow Up
You see, as they get older, they do things without you. They go to playdates and birthday parties without you. Friends and team-based activities become more important. And gradually, not only do they not care what you think and feel, they positively react against it if you get too hardcore.
It gets exhausting, alienating and impossible to control their consumption outside the home with any degree of accuracy. One mom I know refused to let her son go on a week-long school trip for fear of what he would get fed yet I’ve seen him eat cupcakes at a party that had a frosting so brightly-colored green they might as well have been a warning sign for a toxic waste dump!
Unless there is an obvious, compelling reason for avoiding some foods, like a severe nut allergy or gut wrenching stomach-aches, a child will generally get sucked in by the pull of the group. If you think about it, if it is hard enough for us – independent, educated adults with years of life experience – to stay on the wagon, imagine how hard it is for a young kid!
Paleo Heaven is not a Kid’s Paradise.
Unless you live in a microcosmic world of paleo nirvana, it is difficult to keep them on the paleo path. Playdates get tricky, and the invitations often become fewer as other parents get nervous about what to feed your kid. The elementary school years are *full* of parties, the more sugary the better it seems. And if you deny them, they become marginalized and simply miss out on a lot of fun. So I strike a balance. I have more success with my kids if I compromise. Over the years I have been able to steer them more and more to eating healthy by giving them a little of what they fancy – and that is not healthy at all. And on Easter that means chocolate.
Paleo vs. Tradition
Every year, we have an Easter egg hunt at our house. It is a tradition and we invite our kids’ friends and their siblings. We have open space behind our house with interesting trees containing hidey-holes in their trunks and deep grass. I go out before they arrive to secrete the eggs as best as I can (and I’m pretty good at it by now ;-),) the kids are usually so excited they have to be restrained while the rules are read out. Afterward, everyone shares out their eggs so they all get the same and then they get to chow down unless they have a parent there giving them the evil eye and holding up a few fingers of one hand.
This year will be our first since being strongly paleo (I would guess we’re at a 85%-90% level) and I have been coming up with ideas to make it less chocolate-centric but still delight the kids. Let me be clear: they will still get chocolate. It will be the kind you get from the drug store in plastic bags, maybe even on special offer; it will not be gourmet-quality, or expensive. But I will mix it up with healthier and non-edible swag to bring down the overall % of crap down to low double figures.
Setting Paleo Goals
To meet my goals, these items had to be small enough to fit inside a plastic egg, they had to be inexpensive, useful (I loathe those plastic party favors that kick around the house for weeks and just end up in the landfill,) and easily purchased.
I have been collecting the egg contents for a couple of weeks now from garden centers, party/school/craft supply stores, dollar stores, events we’ve attended, rummage sales and even just around the house.
Here are my ideas. (Make sure you check the size of your eggs first! ;-))
1. Seeds. You can also add blotting paper for germinating. Tiny Ziploc bags can be purchased online from Amazon or from craft supply stores.
2. Tape measures
3. Earbuds for older kids.
4. Sewing kits
6. Coupons for chore release (if they’re your own kids ;-)) or special playdates
7. Tiny collectible figures
8. Leftover party favors. Those you got left with from previous parties and didn’t know what to do with. (Not the junky ones, though!)
9. Quarters, the occasional dollar. You can even add printed Amazon gift receipts – a couple of bucks will download a tune or two.
10. Ladybug rocks.
11. School supplies. I hate those teeny tiny erasers but you can get decent small school supplies that are practical and worthwhile.
12. Makeup and artisan soap samples. Lisa over at Simple Beauty Minerals has safe, eco-friendly make-up sample packets for $5 per eight samples.
And not forgetting…
13. Dark chocolate covered almonds.
15. Milk chocolate eggs. I do choose the plain eggs rather than the ones with candy coating – avoid the dyes that way – but other than that, what I buy at the drug store will do.
Those are my ideas but I could always do with more. What are you planning to put in your Easter eggs?
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