Hippity Hoppity Easter’s on its Way

I just happened to glance at the calendar & realize that Easter is coming up quickly – April 4, 2010. Sure, I have seen the Easter decorations in the stores, but since they are typically decorating for Christmas before Halloween, that doesn’t mean much to me. Having a child with Celiac Disease who has to follow a gluten-free diet means planning all functions, celebrations, holidays, meals, etc in advance. Children like to feel like they belong. They like to be like their friends, not stick out like a sore thumb because they can’t eat the candy or treats that the other children are having. I am going to go over some tips for helping your child(ren) have a wonderful Easter or spring holiday and not feel left out.

Easter Baskets

Easter baskets can be filled with whatever the Easter Bunny decides to fill it with. There are plenty of gluten-free candy options out there, so you just need to be cautious. Some of the holiday variations contain different ingredients than their original shapes and sizes. A perfect example is Reese’s Peanut Butter Hearts – they contain wheat, while Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups do not and are usually safe for those following a gluten-free diet. Here is a brief list of safe, popular Easter Candy:

  • Jelly Belly Jelly Beans
  • Starburst Jelly Beans
  • Wal-Mart Jelly Beans (says “gluten-free” on the label)
  • Peeps
  • Snickers Bars (full size or miniatures)
  • M & M’s (dark, peanut butter, milk, peanut, almond)
  • Skittles
  • Reese’s Pieces
  • Hershey’s Kisses
  • Just Born Jelly Beans
  • Cadbury Mini Eggs
  • Cadbury Cream Eggs
  • Dove Dark
  • Dove Milk
  • Dove Caramel
  • Mounds
  • Baby Ruth Crème Egg
  • Butterfinger Nest Eggs
  • Nestle Caramel Nest Eggs
  • Nestle Peanut Butter Nest Eggs
  • Nestle Milk Chocolate Nest Eggs
  • Pez
  • Pixie Sticks
  • Pop Rocks
  • Rolo
  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Sweet Tarts
  • Three Musketeers

The list can be seen in its entirety here. Candy doesn’t have to be the only “food” item that’s fun for Easter baskets. There are Lara Bars (a General Mill’s product), 100% fruit leathers, fruit snacks (Betty Crocker’s are gluten-free), nuts, gluten-free homemade cookies or granola bars or fresh fruit. I also add other items such as an iTunes gift card or gift card to a popular store or gluten-free restaurant or ice cream shop. Cold Stone Creamery has gluten-free ice cream & my kids love to go there.

Spring Celebrations

If we (or just Jon) are invited to a function or celebration that is going to be serving food (and most seem to these days), I always make sure to bring or send along something he can eat. Some super quick & easy dessert ideas can be created with Betty Crocker’s Gluten-free Baking Mixes. There are many recipes on the Betty Crocker site or you can simply follow the directions on the box. These mixes are priced well & taste so good that no one will even know that they are gluten-free. They have become my go-to dessert when we head out to parties now. If we need ice cream to go along with our cake or cupcakes, I can always count on Edy’s/Dryers or Breyer’s. Both brands will label gluten clearly and have very good chocolates & vanillas.

Now that I have shared dessert ideas for the spring celebrations, what about the main course? What about Easter dinner? If you are preparing it, as I probably will be, here are some ideas.

What if you are invited to someone else’s house? Politely ask what they are serving and if you can bring something to share. If met with any resistance, then mention having to follow a gluten-free diet. Most hosts are more than willing to either accommodate, if they feel they safely can or suggest something that will complement what they are serving. If you are met with a lot of resistance, to heck with them; bring your own meal or eat before you go. No need to risk getting sick!

Being the planner that I am, I like to have this figured out well in advance – at least a week before the function, if not more. Having to follow the gluten-free diet myself, I know what it is like to sit & watch other people eat & have a good time. It is not fun. I do whatever I can to try to avoid having Jon feel like that.

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