Since last year, I have been eyeing an amazing group of climbing trees in our neighborhood park, planning the ideal Easter egg hunt in my mind. As Easter got closer, I started to dread planning an egg hunt that would be safe for Miss E with her recent celiac diagnosis. Determined not to let celiac disease keep us from having all the fun we are used to, I forged ahead with a gluten-free Easter egg hunt for our weekly playgroup.
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About 20 kids had a blast running through the trees, and it was worth the extra effort. Each child brought one dozen eggs and took home one dozen eggs. Bigger kids helped the littles once they found their eggs so everyone left happy:)
I asked parents to use new eggs (avoiding gluten crumbs in used eggs) and to fill eggs with gluten-free items. Here were some of the pre-hunt suggestions… Annie’s bunny fruit snacks (for sale at Target and almost everywhere) and Annie’s gluten-free snickerdoodle or cocoa & vanilla bunny cookies (confirm label states gluten-free) are both cute, gluten-free, and “Easter-y” options. For jelly beans, please use Jelly Bellies, which are gluten-free and small enough for toddlers. For more inspiration, I shared a gluten-free Easter candy list and a non-candy list and mentioned “no play-doh, please!” My note encouraged questions and said thank you a couple of times. It is extra work for folks, especially if they are not used to making things celiac-safe.
Enjoying fruit and a gluten-free “Rice Krispies” treat substitute
One thing the invite did not include was an apology. As a model for Miss E, I try to not apologize for our illness, but always show sincere appreciation for the extra efforts of others…. and we are the recipients of a lot of extra efforts. One mom bought a new cutting board to make a fruit “cake” entirely out of fruit – beautiful, healthful & yummy. Another mom worked extra hard to make gluten-free Rice Krispies Treats… the works, buying gluten-free Rice Krispies, prepping in a glass bowl, etc… then she took a piece of toast from her toddler while doing the final pat-down of the treats in the pan. She texted me, ready to leave them behind. I can imagine her frustration. She was being so kind to include Miss E, and her efforts were instantly in vain. I’ve been there. You’ve been there. Fortunately, we keep Trader Joe’s “organic brown rice marshmallow treats” on hand as our go-to treat for unexpected celebrations at school. All of the kiddos enjoyed the extra treats. Flexibility, a grateful attitude, and a backup plan go a long way in winning with celiac disease.
Speaking of a backup plan… upon inspection, Miss E did have two eggs with gluten items, but I quickly switched with another mom. Just in case, I also brought along a few packets of Annie’s bunny fruit snacks. Overall, the moms did an amazing job of finding gluten-free fillings: puffy stickers, poppers, hair bows, rings, money, egg-shaped sidewalk chalk, Annie’s bunny fruit snacks, Jelly Bellies…
I’d love to hear your ideas. What do you put in your gluten-free Easter eggs?