Easter conjures up food traditions and cravings for most of us. Often it’s the chocolate that makes Easter, Easter. But it doesn’t have to be all about the chocolate!
In fact, my favourite memory (and this probably shows my age!) is blowing eggs. We used to take fresh eggs, put a pin hole in each end and then burst blood vessels trying to force the yolk of the egg out of the hole. It was then rinsed before we spent hours colouring the outside. I had friends who were gifted egg cups to paint.
My boy’s best ever Easter present was a mini bucket and spade set. The bucket became the egg cup and the spade the spoon for scooping out the insides of an egg.
But I digress, let’s explore ideas that can create a special Easter for kids big and small.
1. Be like the bunny. Nothing rabbits like more than a carrot! Just a simple baby carrot in a dip makes a perfect snack. Using the mini flower pots makes for a fabulous centerpiece.
2. Bunny bread. Making individual bunnies is really good fun. Or create a giant one and cut the stomach out to house a dip. Fortunately, bunnies are simple shapes to recreate.
3. Bunny pancakes. A simple circle with a smaller circle for the head and some banana ears is manageable for most of us. A lovely way to see in the morning.
4. Or go a hearty breakfast, such as egg and bacon bunnies. Scramble some eggs to use as the “head”, add eyes, nose and whiskers (chives or other herbs) then use crispy bacon for ears. You can either place in a bowl or on a plate.
5. Bunny breakfast. Use the same concept except with porridge for the head and bananas as the giant ears. Blueberries make perfect eyes.
6. Dippy egg and ‘bunny soldiers’. Make a traditional runny boiled egg but cut the toast into the shape of bunnies or chicks.
7. Devilled eggs. These can be served as is or with the aid of some chopped carrots/olives turned into cute little chicks.
8. Festive hard-boiled eggs. Dying hard-boiled eggs is great fun. Use beetroot or spinach juice for some whacky pink or green eggs. Just soak the peeled eggs for a day turning them in the liquid every few hours.
9. Nut butter eggs. Rolling some fun mini eggs from nut butter and decorating with either seeds or chocolate can make for a nice alternative to a store-bought egg.
10. Easter egg hunt. If you don’t want to do chocolate, but still want the thrill of the chase, plastic eggs can be a great way to do this. Fill them with dried fruit, nuts, choc chips or small toys. If you use them instead of choc eggs on Easter Sunday then blueberries or grapes are perfect fillers for littlies.
11. We have always done muesli bar eggs instead of chocolate for the Easter egg hunt. We just make a sticky muesli mix, roll into rough egg shapes and cover with silver foil.
12. Sandwiches are easy to cut into fun shapes with cookie cutters. Bunnies, chicks, eggs. Lovely way to make a simple plate special.
13. Not so easy, but a show-stopping feature is a pizza or tarts that are covered in a mosaic of fruit to look like giant, colourful eggs. Or fruit platters that have the shapes of bunnies, chicks or eggs.
14. Go simple. Perfect for younger kids are nests. Use a cup case holder and layer with grated carrot to form a nest. Cut cucumber or cheese eggs to nestle inside or find baby cherry tomatoes. Great way to get them excited about eating their veg!
15. Egg carton snacks. Use an old egg carton to present morning snacks or as a centrepiece for a children’s party. Fill each hole with something different – olives, grapes or cheese cubes.
16. Homemade gummies. These are all the rage at the moment. A lovely, low-sugar way to have sweets with benefits! Use moulds to form into Easter shapes.
17. Carrots. There are a couple of ways to create a “carrot”. Pizza using pumpkin/carrot or orange capsicum for the orange part and broccoli/parsley or coriander for the bushy leaves.
18. Create a carrot-shaped cheese log covered in grated orange cheese with a herby green top.
19. Or fill a triangular muslin or clear plastic bag with mandarin segments to create a carrot shape and then twist the top with green pipe cleaners or ribbon.
20. Fruit. Mandarins can make the cutest chicks. Great party plate.
21. And lastly, a really cool non-food idea. How about growing some cress or micro herbs inside an eggshell. Cut the top from the eggshell, place in an egg cup (or part of an egg carton), add some soil and some seeds. You can add some eyes to the outside of the eggshell so the herbs look like hair!
Judith Yeabsley is a mum of two boys who is passionate about healthy food for kids. She runs a food art website, theartofnutrition.com, focusing on presenting fruit and veges creatively. She also works to change the food environment in schools, community groups and lunchboxes. For information on this and great recipes, see theartofnutrition.co.nz.
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