Making Easter more Eco Friendly and Healthy.
Easter doesn’t have to be so commercialized. There are many ways you can celebrate this Easter in a very eco friendly, and healthy manner. Rid yourself of those plastic eggs, refuse to buy the plastic grass, walk away from the sugar laden peeps, jelly beans, chocolate bunnies and more.
No, I’m not professing to have a lackluster Easter. I’m here to share with you ways that you can still fill that Easter basket with goodies galore, and yet not induce a sugar high in your kids!
First let’s start with that Easter basket. Rather than purchasing new baskets every year, purchase a nice hearty basket that will last a few years. After the holiday, store it in that closet with the rest of your holiday paraphernalia, and reuse it next year. It is easier on our environment, and easier on your pocketbook.
Often times people purchase that crazy plastic grass to fill those baskets. Let’s stretch out of the basket so to speak and try something new. How about using that paper shredder of yours and just placing some of that shredded paper in the bottom of the basket. Do you really think the kiddies are going to care about what is lining that basket? Seriously? They want the goodies in the basket, they don’t give a second thought to what’s lining it. Yes, I know it looks pretty. Well if pretty is what you want, pretty is what you should get. Purchase some green construction paper and put that through your shredder. Or, look at your local crafts supply house and I’m sure you will find a selection of paper grass there for purchase. Remember when this stuff gets thrown out, it is much easier for Mother Nature to rid herself of that paper mess than more plastic.
Ok, so now what do we put in those baskets that isn’t so full of sugar. Did you know those peeps have no redeeming nutritional value? Yes, I’m sure you did. Have you ever read the ingredients? Remember when reading ingredients, they are listed in the order from highest percentage to lowest percentage. In other words when it starts with sugar that means there is more sugar as a percentage in the product than any of the other ingredients. So, although Peeps have been around for over 60 years, they have been feeding us:
Yep, there you have it. Basically it is pure sugar with some gelatin and coloring to hold it together. No wonder our kids have a sugar buzz on Easter.
Ok, well you say, what about jelly beans, they can’t be all that bad. Sugar, glucose syrup, modified food starches, water, citric acid (E330), fumaric acid (E297), glazing agents: Shellac, bee’s wax, carnauba wax, flavorings. These are the basic ingredients and then based on the various flavors, quite an array of artificial flavors are used. The other interesting thing to note here, is that shellac used on jelly beans is a sticky substance derived from secretions of the female Kerria lacca, an insect native to Thailand. Eeeewww, that is gross, plain and simple, secretions on my jelly beans!
So, what do we do? Well how about making some of your own healthier alternatives to place in those baskets.
First up is a fun, easy, and very tasty, and healthy cookie.
No Bake Oatmeal, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip Balls
Makes about 20 cookies
Prep Time is about 10 minutes
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup chocolate chips, or raisins, or carob chips
1 tsp vanilla
Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl and mix well. Place in fridge for about 10 minutes. Pinch off a little bit of the batter and roll into a ball. Place on a large baking sheet and store in fridge.
Note: I like to add fresh coconut (not the sugar laden baking coconut), and nuts.
Next how about making some of those yummy fruit roll-ups. If you look at the ones in the store, once again they are laden with sugar. Make your own, eliminate the sugar, and the kids will love them, guaranteed! Check out Kelly Senyei’s recipe for mango roll-ups….YUMMY! Or, try Anthony Nicometi Jr‘s recipe for strawberry roll-ups. Before you call defeat because you don’t have a dehydrator, the good news is you do not need one to make these delicious, and healthy fruit roll-ups. An oven works just fine.
You might be asking yourself at this point what else can you do to make this a more eco friendly and healthy Easter. Well, instead of just candy in those baskets, how about adding a little gardening kit, or books, or natural finger paints, or how about some homemade play dough! Make it with the kiddies, and they will have fun creating it alongside you.
Scented Play Dough for Kids
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 cup water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 – 3 drops of essential oil for scent (optional)
Mix together the flour, salt, water, oil and cream of tartar in a medium-size saucepan. Cook the mixture over medium heat until it begins to bubble. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the scented oil. Place the dough on a lightly floured board and knead for 3 – 5 minutes until smooth. Store in an airtight container. Best if kept in refrigerator.
To Use: shape your dough into anything you desire. Store any leftover dough in a clean air-tight container or reusable plastic bag. If left uncovered and allowed to air-dry, your designs will dry out and harden.
One last thing to consider to make this a more eco friendly, healthy, and more natural Easter is to use natural ingredients for coloring those eggs. Here are a few suggestions:
Purple Red Wine
Orange Yellow onion skins
Whatever you do this holiday, have fun. Get the kids involved and who knows, they may just surprise you and like these alternatives more than you!