We want Easter to be a fun, connecting, and safe time for all the family. Here are some tips for making Easter food safe so that there are no tummy upsets, allergic reactions, or choking hazards to spoil the day.
Do you have fish on Good Friday?
If you practice Lent, ensure the fish is fresh. How?
- It is preferable to buy from a seafood market where the high turnover ensures fresher fish.
- The fish shop or fish counter should have a fresh mild scent. If there is a strong fishy smell, then go elsewhere.
- If buying a whole fish, it should have clear bulging eyes not sunken and dull.
- Fillets should appear moist but not slimy.
- It is best to buy your fish the day before or at the most two days prior to Good Friday.
- The healthiest fish will be locally wild-sourced rather than farmed.
Are you decorating hard-boiled eggs?
If using decorated boiled eggs for Easter
- Ensure you are using fresh eggs by testing them first in the pot of water to be used for boiling them. Fresh eggs should lay flat on the bottom of the saucepan. If they are standing up but still touching the bottom they are still okay and may even peel easier. Don’t use any eggs that float.
- Decorate with a food-safe dye, preferably a natural dye.
- Keep hard-boiled eggs refrigerated. According to GoodHousekeeping.com, do not consume after being out of the fridge for more than two hours. Often the leftover hard-boiled eggs can be used for egg and lettuce sandwiches which keep well in an insulated lunchbox until lunchtime, however, adjust the time and packing according to your local weather.
- Boiled eggs can be kept in the fridge for up to seven days. Below are some ideas for the leftovers.
Regarding chocolate eggs
Ensure you are using fresh I am old enough to remember getting decorated hard “sugar eggs”. They seem to have been totally replaced now by the chocolate ones. Remember that:
- Chocolate can be toxic to pets, especially dogs. So, keep the eggs out of their reach or lock the pets away before and during any Easter Egg Hunt.
- Ensure the egg wrappers are disposed of carefully as they can be choking hazards for small children and pets. To recycle, collect enough flat wrappers to scrunch together into at least the size of a golf ball before throwing it into the aluminium recycle bin.
- For the healthiest chocolate, choose a variety that uses cocoa butter instead of cheap and nasty vegetable oil. Vegetable oil is in fact made from seeds, often genetically modified seeds, and is so processed that it is highly inflammatory to the body.
- Consider making your own, or better still, have the kids make them. Here is an easy recipe but because they aren’t tempered, they need to be kept chilled.
Are you having an Easter Egg Hunt?
The tradition of hunting for Easter eggs began in Germany but has migrated to many parts of the world. To make this fun activity happy and healthy:
- Hide eggs the morning of the Easter egg hunt rather than the night before. There will be less chance of pets, pests, or wild animals eating, destroying, or contaminating them.
- Always supervise the children during an Easter egg hunt in case of an unknown allergic reaction or watch the little ones in case they try to eat the eggs without properly unwrapping them.
- A few high-quality eggs are much better for us than many cheap eggs. Consider substituting some chocolate eggs with decorated hard-boiled eggs. Jayne, from @living_to_be_well, substitutes some of the chocolates for PJs and a book. Nat, from @_natwaugh, focuses the fun more on finding the clues to a treasure quest rather than finding chocolates.
- When choosing gifts for the Easter Egg Hunt, we can also be mindful of whether it is safe for the environment. Here are some ideas ->
If you are having guests for Easter lunch, ask beforehand if there are any food allergies or intolerances as these are becoming much more prevalent. According to WebMD, the most common are peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, milk, eggs, soy, wheat, gluten which includes wheat, and sulphites. Here is a comprehensive list of foods that contain sulphites. Every person’s sensitivity is varied. I am allergic to sulphites yet I can eat most of the listed foods without a reaction.
This doesn’t mean you have to totally change your menu. It may only require a couple of tweaks. I will send a message well before the day and say, “Hey, I have this planned for the menu. Anyone allergic or intolerant to anything here?”
Usually, a person with allergies or intolerances will offer to bring a dish to contribute. If not, you could always ask! If they complain, then you know not to invite them next time. You do have the right to feel comfortable in your own home and invite guests who will uplift the occasion rather than complain that their needs are not being totally met. Sorry, I usually don’t get sidetracked, however, I feel this is an important point.
I do hope these few ideas will help make your Easter even happier and healthier! Have fun!