Easter 2020 is going to be like no other! Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting quarantine, we are going to have to be resourceful and get creative. It can be done! Just remember this: if Easter or Passover look a little -or a lot- different this year, that's okay! Think outside of last year's Easter basket for new takes on old traditions, or make new ones entirely (or even just for this year, let's call them "Traditions-In-Place" maybe?).
First Things First: The Menu
Grocery shopping and holiday menus can be challenging for food allergy families any day; throw in a high demand/low supply grocery situation and the stakes are even higher! Your traditional holiday menu may not be possible this year if you are unable to find safe ingredients. Tell yourself that's okay and focus on what you CAN find. My family is doing our best to purchase food that has been safe in the past in hopes of avoiding an allergic reaction and ER visit during this time. So far, it looks as if our traditional menu is out the window, but there will be food and for that we are grateful.
If you are newly diagnosed and this is your first holiday managing food allergies, please know it will not always be this difficult. Find support and you will be a pro in no time!
Next: The Search Is On
With stay-in-place orders in so many areas, leisurely shopping* around for groceries and basket-fillers** is not possible. Families are finding some of their allergy-friendly go-to groceries still available on Amazon, but be sure to check arrival dates before purchasing. With their increase in online shoppers, you may not be able to get what you are looking for in time.
Another option is pickup and/or delivery from several retailers. Target, Wal-Mart and Kroger offer grocery pickup services at many store locations. Wal-Mart and Whole Foods offer delivery services in some areas. Using their apps, you can order groceries as well as Easter candy, toys and decor and have them loaded into your vehicle at your designated pickup time. A downside is stock is low so you may not be able to order everything you want or need. As always, read every label, every time! While the apps share ingredient lists for items, you may consider selecting "no substitutions" as you checkout since you are not personally checking the actual product labels.
Last: Get Creative & Be Resourceful
For ideas about egg alternatives, decorating eggs, and creative egg hunts, check out our updated Easter blog post and Easter/Passover Pinterest Board. Shopping for supplies and treats for these fun ideas may be challenging this year, but Michael's Curbside Pickup may be able to save us! Like the other retailers, you order on their app and the order is loaded into your vehicle at the store.
Craft eggs are a favorite among those with egg allergies. If you are unable to find any in your area, think about ways you can make eggs with supplies you have at home. FAAM's Easter/Passover Pinterest board includes craft ideas for making salt-dough and chenille stem eggs. You can even cut egg shapes out of paper and decorate with markers, crayons, stickers, and glitter glue.
If you want a completely new idea for a hunt this year, start an egg-in-the-window hunt in your neighborhood or community. As you take a family walk, count how many eggs you find in your area. You can also try one of our pinned Easter games! If you have limited outdoor space for a hunt this year, consider an indoor hunt. Past faves of ours have been a glow-in-the-dark egg hunt at home and FAAM's indoor hunt last year where we "hid" eggs in buckets of steamers. If you are out of plastic eggs to hide, cut some out of paper and place around the home. For multiple children, color code the paper eggs so each child hunts for their own color. Even being potentially low on supplies, we still have plenty of fun options.
Speaking of FAAM's annual egg hunt, obviously we can't get together this year so let's play Bunny Bingo from home!
Remember, we are making the best of a strange situation, so do what you can and have fun with whatever you do!
Post written by: Kelley Barnett
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*Options listed in this post may not be available in all areas. Check directly with companies for details.
**Please note: Avoid items made of latex and playdough (for those with wheat allergies). Toys small enough to fit in an egg are considered choking hazards for young children. Use caution and make sure your egg fillers are age appropriate.
Food for Thought is the blog for the Food Allergy Alliance of the Mid-South. FAAM's mission is to provide food allergy support, education, advocacy, fellowship & fun for Memphis, TN and surrounding areas.
If you have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately and follow up with a physician.