Hacking the Easter Basket

For kids who’ve been isolating much of the year, how do you cut back on the chocolate-egg factor without being a killjoy this Easter? After all, hasn’t the last year taught us these days it’s all about the little moments (and morsels) of pleasure?

It’s way easier than you might think. But, let’s start with the sad, plain truth: Easter has devolved into one of the stupidest holidays, ever!

Now, before you say, ‘Dave, don’t be a Debbie Downer,’ hear me out for a minute.

Easter’s a holiday where we give our kids a strange mix of bad fats, artificial colorings, artificial flavorings, and a crazy amount of sugar, that pretty much guarantees future brain problems and imminent breakdowns—which also means inevitable chaos for the entire household this Sunday.

When you think about it, American Easter, despite being the worldwide holiday it is, actually flies in the face of its original intent—as a Christian holy day. And, yet, somehow, in this Hallmark era of chocolate, candy, and adult-sized rabbits, Easter got taken over, big time, by Big Food.

Guess who really got taken? Parents…and their soul-searing need to sugar-drown your kids for that one spring Sunday, every single year.

 

“No parent wants a child spinning in circles on a sugar high that’s amplified by artificial colors and flavorings that directly change your kids’ neurochemistry. Why would you do that to yourself? Why would you do that to your kids?”

 

“Chocolate Easter eggs are high in both fat and sugar,” wrote a pair of university professors in The Conversation.

“For these reasons, children, like most of us, typically find them delicious and hard to resist…When we eat them, we activate the reward centers in the brain, whether or not we even notice how delicious the eggs are, making us want more, sometimes undermining our good intentions.”

The professors are totally right. How, then, can we, as parents, cut back on these popular chaos-in-the-making treats without our kids calling us the ‘Easter Ogre’ rather than Bunny?

I’m here to tell you there’s a silver lining to this glucose-rich pot of gold—one that will save both your sanity, as parents, and your kids’ psyches come this Easter Sunday.

Tricks and Treats that won’t power down yours and your kids’ brains on Easter

We’ve managed to enjoy 13 Easters now in our household without ever giving our children any candy-like stuff that would otherwise harm their brains and erode the calmness in our home.

Here’s what my wife and I do—that you should try!

 

  1. Color those eggs!

If your kids aren’t allergic to them, soft boil a dozen or more eggs. They’re the opposite of junk food; they’re actually good for you. But before you hide them, or you or your kids eat them, buy some organic food-grade dye and go to town; have fun coloring Easter eggs…and eat them straight out of the shell later on!

 

  2. Definitely do an Easter Egg hunt

If soft-boiled eggs don’t suit your taste or coloring palate, I have one word: Plastics…eggs that is. While perhaps bad for the environment, plastic eggs are actually your good friend at Easter.

Trust me, they’ll save your sanity!  You can put just about anything fun inside these Dollar Store gems—think Macadamia or other flavorful nuts; or a piece of dark chocolate (most kids who are trained to like it will eat 70 percent dark chocolate all day long, which is relatively low in sugar and good in polyphenols and good fats.)

And, what kid doesn’t like money? Depending on their age, you can slip in some quarters or dollar coins—or, how about a hand-written coupon ‘good for one (you fill in the blank).’

 

  3. Get Fruit Funky

We’ve always greeted my kids with an Easter basket filled to the brim with exotic fruit. Sure, fruit has some sugar in it, but it’s not that much—and it’s ten thousand times better than those nasty little fake-yellow-chicken-food-dyed thingamabobs.

Did you know red, yellow, and blue food dyes affect children’s behavior? This is why most of the candy in your kids’ Easter basket is actually banned in Europe—because it’s so bad for you.

 

  4. Bulletproof that Basket

Every Easter, we always sneak into our kids’ baskets a couple of zero-sugar Bulletproof chocolate bars. Sometimes, we break them into pieces and put them inside those plastic eggs.

 

  5. Sugar-free Shopping

Good news is that more and more forward-thinking candy companies out there are producing low-sugar confections, like gummy bears or chocolates, that are low in artificial flavors and colors. If your kids happen to be of the age they’re starting to appreciate the artistry, my friend runs a chocolate company—Vosges Haut-Chocolat—that makes the most high-quality (and eye-quality) truffles you can imagine. Most of her product contains cow’s milk, with the exception of some that are made with other interesting milks (like donkey’s!). My kids are fascinated by both the look and taste of them!

No matter what you do differently, kids are going to have fun on Easter—with almost anything you give them. Fact is, they love running around and finding things. Plus, they get a little dopamine hit every time they see an explosion of color in the backyard. It almost doesn’t matter what’s inside the plastic egg!

But if you put something in that egg that’s going to cause the child to be unable to control themselves, then you pay AND the child pays.

 

Edgy Easter

You now have a choice this Sunday: Are you going to be in charge of your kids, in a way that lets them be in charge of their brains—while allowing YOU to have a peaceful Easter afternoon?

Or are you going to feed them something that’s the equivalent of punching them in the face and then wondering three hours later why the heck they’ve been crying all night?

We can all do better.

 

To Recap:

This Easter, think egg hunts, plastic eggs filled with stuff kids (really do) like, and special treats that are not veritable sugar-heavy chemical bombs. Also, Easter baskets laden with stuff kids don’t normally get—like dark chocolate, nuts, and fresh unique fruit—like dragon fruit, clementine or kiwi, persimmon or passion fruit …you get the picture.

Caution: Don’t fall for the trick of buying artificially processed fruit—like fruit leathers, for example, that are exceptionally high in sugar. You can eat 40 dried strawberries with a ton of sugar, or you can eat 10 fat, juicy, and fresh strawberries with hardly any sugar at all. Your kids will be just as happy, and you’ll be even happier because they’ll be blissfully normal.

 

“Somehow, in this Hallmark era of chocolate, candy, and adult-sized rabbits, Easter got taken over, big time, by Big Food.”

 

Bottom Line, this Easter, allow yourself to be selfish. Your only job this  Sunday is to feed your kids stuff that brings them joy and pleasure – but doesn’t take away from your joy and pleasure all because your kids are going bonkers!

No parent wants a child spinning in circles on a sugar high that’s amplified by artificial colors and flavorings that directly change your kids’ neurochemistry. Why would you do that to yourself? Why would you do that to your kids?

Make it about dark chocolate, delicious nuts, exotic fruit, coupons, coins, toys—and play!

While every other parent says, ‘I gave my kid MSG bombs cuz I was doing it for the kids,’…Hard no. You feed the kids well for you; you’re the model. And Mommy needs a nap!

It’s okay to be selfish at Easter—especially if you want to avoid misbehaved kids and a migraine. Think of this article as your permission to do an Easter that will bring peace to your home.

After all, isn’t Easter supposed to be all about peace?

 

 

 

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