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Vegan Children

Happy (Vegan) Easter
by Shayla Roberts

In the Christian religion, Easter (and the days immediately preceding it) is the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus in (approximately) C.E. 30. It is a very special day of remembrance.

The commercial aspect of it, however, is a whole different story. When you first think about it, it seems pretty harmless. Bunnies and chicks are cute to look at, and brightly colored pastel baskets, stuffed animals, and home decor brighten up anyone's day, right? What's not to love?

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For one, there's the candy. Walk into the local discount store, and there it is. Row upon row of brightly packaged candy. If you thought candy couldn't get any more appealing to your children than it already was, you were sorely mistaken. The reds of Christmas and Valentine's Day don't stand a chance against yellows, purples, pinks and blues of Easter. It's a veritable rainbow of foods designed to lure your children in. Unfortunately, almost none of it is vegan.

However, don't fret. There are plenty of online souces for vegan Easter treats:
  • Vegan Essentials carries a pound, 6 inch tall chocolate bunny, truffle Easter eggs, and various other chocolate and fruit sweets.
  • Pangea carries a wide variety of Easter gift ideas, such as coconut "carrots," a 12 inch chocolate bunny, Whizzers chocolate "eggs," and many more. They also give you the option of a fully loaded Easter Gift Basket.
  • Different Daisy sells chocolates and gummi bears that will delight your kids.
  • Chocolate Decadence carries a wide variety of specially made vegan chocolates just for kids.
  • And don't forget to check out VegFamily's list of Vegan Candy. Most of those items can be found in your neighborhood grocery store.
I found that I could make candy "nests" by melting together vegan chocolate chips and nut butter, and then adding coconut, shaping them into nests, and placing vegan jellybeans or chocolate eggs inside. I've also seen recipes substituting shredded wheat for the coconut. The little ones like to help fill the nests, and at the end you have a lovely vegan treat that rivals any in the candy aisles. You can also do this with your cupcake icing. Mix in your coconut and build it up on top of the cupcake, then nestle in your "eggs." These are exceptionally nice for school parties.

Another problem-causer at family gatherings or church festivities is the presence of chicken eggs. When I was a child, we colored at least four dozen eggs and proceeded to hide them, find them, and then waste nearly all of them. After all, who wants to eat four dozen eggs? Now, of course, we have different objections to them. For vegans, eggs aren't food items, and they aren't for coloring or playing with either. Be sure to explain this point explicitly, because acquaintances and relatives aren't always clear on the nuances of veganism. If you will be celebrating Easter with others, then you can talk to them ahead of time and suggest, and perhaps offer to supply, plastic eggs. They are so inexpensive that there is no excuse for using chicken eggs, and plastic eggs carry the bonus of having treat or trinket "prizes" tucked inside. Also, plastic eggs can be recycled. After last Easter, we recycled our plastic eggs into Montessori-type toys.

Some ideas:
  • Glue or tape the halves together with various substances inside (dry beans, rice, sand, etc.) and use them in sensory activities such as finding which pair of eggs sounds the same.
  • Weighting the eggs for another matching activity and letting your child discover the difference in "heavy" and "light."
  • Have two or three different sizes of eggs, along with a bucket of many sizes and shapes of rocks. Your little ones will have a blast finding which rocks fit into the eggs through trial and error. This is my son's favorite. Supervise this activity, though, or you might just be finding "prizes" of banana chunks and veggie hot dog bits inside.
In short, Easter has become your standard commercial holiday, but like all holidays, there is no reason why it can't be good vegan fun for your children. All it takes is a little effort, or perhaps just strategically avoiding aisles 7-9 of your local supermart. Good luck!

Shayla Roberts is a stay-at-home, AP mom to Holden. Her husband, Boyd, is an operator for Michelin. They live in Oklahoma.


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