How Toxic Is Your Kid’s Easter Basket?

Many parents love to fill their children’s Easter baskets with plastic grass, colorful candies, plastic eggs and chocolate bunnies each year. Have you ever stopped to think about how toxic and wasteful your basket is? Everything from the plastics to the food coloring is not only toxic to your children, but to the environment as well.

What’s wrong with colorful Easter candy?

Although these traditional Easter candies are colorful and fun, “parents and teachers alike attribute excessive motor activity and other disruptive behaviors to candy consumption,” cautions Anju Sharma, a pediatric dietitian with Medical City Children’s Hospital in Dallas. And, she adds, “There have been problems concerning the safety of some of these chemicals [additives and colorings], including the possibility of allergies.”

A growing body of research shows that many of these additives can trigger hyperactivity and inattention in children. When Harvard and Columbia University scientists analyzed 15 previous studies of hyperactive children, they concluded that artificial food colorings have a detrimental effect on children’s behavior.

“At the very least, regulators should track consumption of artificial food colorings; we know only that domestic production of food dyes quadrupled between 1955 and 1998,” warn the researchers.

Some safer candy alternatives

It may cost a bit more out of pocket, but aren’t your children worth it? There are many brands you can find in stores like Whole Foods, or even on Amazon.com, that carry candy made with fruit juice sweetener and food based dyes. Everything from gummy worms to jelly beans can be enjoyed without all the added toxins. Some great brands include Annie’s, Surf Sweets and others. Always be sure to read the ingredients and check for food dyes, sugar and artificial sweetener. You can also get organic dark chocolate bunnies, Easter eggs, crosses and more with a simple google search.

Plastic in baskets

We all know that we care greatly for our own children, but we should also care just as much for our planet! Using plastic Easter eggs, plastic grass, cheap/disposable/useless junk in Easter baskets only adds to the landfills. These plastics take MANY years to break down (if at all).

Rather than using plastics, try opting for shredded paper in your Easter baskets. Be sure to save and reuse your Easter baskets each year, rather than tossing and buying a new one. If you choose to buy plastic eggs to hide candy in, be sure to save them and reuse them each year. The kids love doing egg hunts year round, and it is not nearly as wasteful if you keep and reuse them.

By making some of these simple tweaks, you can make your family’s holiday healthier – for yourselves AND for the Earth!

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