Wellness Wednesdays: Some healthier options for that Easter basket


Wellness Wednesdays with Bernadette Smith

If the Easter Bunny visits your house and you have tiny humans living with you, this could be a good time to have a conversation with that egg-laying rabbit about finding some healthier alternatives to the food coloring, sugar and chemical laden favorites.

Seriously, have you ever read the labels on those appealing little jewels in the easter candy aisle?

Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Malic Acid, Blue 1, Mineral Oil, PGPR, Red 40, Magnesium Stearate, Yellow 5, Sorbitan Monostearate, Blue 2, Polysorbate 60, Invertase and Yellow #6 do not say ‘Happy Holy Day’ or ‘Welcome Spring’ nor does they seem like an appropriate way to celebrate the Vernal Equinox or Passover.

There are enough studies out there linking artificial food colorings and flavors to behavioral changes and attention issues in children that I believe it is worth the effort to eliminate as many of these chemical additives as possible.

With that all in mind, here are a few suggested alternatives to Peeps and Cadbury eggs:

  1. Play-Doh Who wouldn’t love a couple of new cans of play-doh?
  2. Sidewalk Chalk Now that we can see the sidewalks, go forth and decorate!
  3. Fancy herbal tea bags. While you’re at it, why not add a lovely little tea pot or fancy teacup and saucer?
  4. Bunny food. Put some matchstick carrots in a fancy little bag and let a new toy bunny hold on to it.
  5. Homemade organic popcorn balls. Canaries in the Kitchen has a simple, beautiful recipe that doesn’t include marshmallow, corn syrup or refined sugar.
  6. Bubbles! You can even make a simply beautiful homemade Bubble Wand to go with it.
  7. Seed packets. Spring is around the corner, and what better way to celebrate than planting a garden? I love Johnny’s Selected Seeds but any organic seed would be terrific!
  8. New crayons. Was there ever anything better than a new box of crayons? Or you can go with a fancy set of colored pencils for the older kids and there are some really spectacular coloring books out there now.
  9. Make your own candy. It’s so much easier than you’d think. Especially if you redefine what you consider “candy.” The Mother Nature Network website has a great list of homemade candy you really need to look at — and Pinterest is full of good stuff.
  10. Dark chocolate. If you simply must buy candy for your little people — or even your big people — go find the finest, most decadent (organically grown, if possible), locally made, dark chocolate you can find and really enjoy it. There are some stores right in Patchogue Village that will be happy to help you. Try Wallen’s Natural Market on South Ocean Avenue and KIlwins on East Main Street.

Bernadette Smith is an organic gardener, life-long tree hugger and certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach living in Patchogue, N.Y. She offers free 30-minute Health Discovery Sessions and can reached through Facebook or by emailing