Wil Dubois

Diabetes isn't very forgiving, especially when it comes to holiday eating. But here at the 'Mine, we do our best to support you! Welcome to another edition of our weekly advice column, Ask D'Mine, hosted by veteran type 1, diabetes author and community educator Wil Dubois.

In today's edition, Wil takes up a question from a loving mom who just wants her young daughter with diabetes to be able to enjoy the Easter holiday. You know what to do -- hop on down to the post below and read what the Easter Bunny -- er, Wil, has to say on the topic!

{Need help navigating life with diabetes? Email us at AskDMine@diabetesmine.com}

 

Laura, D-Mom from Nebraska, writes: Easter is a big deal around here, and it poses a bigger problem for me and my little type 1 daughter. The school, her circle of friends, and even our church are awash in high fructose corn syrup! I dread this time of year. I worry about her blood sugars, but don’t want her being left out of the fun either. What can I do?

Wil@Ask D’Mine answers: Ah, the classic mother’s lament. You need to protect your offspring from a dangerous world, but at the same time don’t want her socially crippled by being left out of the activities of her peer groups. What to do? I suggest that you take over Easter. Totally. Make a preemptive strike and turn Easter into a diabetes-friendly holiday.

OK, I admit that suggesting a military strategy to deal with a traditionally religious holiday is probably some sort of sin, but bear with me. I think you need to host a low-carb Easter Party that rocks the block, is the talk of the town, and leaves everyone not wanting to go (or invite your daughter) elsewhere. Not only will she be part of the action, she’ll be the center of it! And she’ll get Peer Cred for having the coolest mom in town.

It doesn’t get any better than that for a kid.

But what does a diabetes-friendly Easter party look like, and how do you pull it off? How do you modify the traditions that people expect to make them friendlier to your family’s health needs? Well, luckily for us, some of the best Easter traditions don’t necessarily need candy, and the rest can be tweaked to suit the needs of our kind.

Let’s consider all you can do to host an Easter party, in a traditionally secular way, without the candy.

Decorating Easter eggs is a bolus-free activity—and great fun in groups—so that’s a good place to start. But up the ante. Make a trip to your nearest craft store so you can load up on a crazy range of age-appropriate decorating options. If the kiddos are young you might want to consider watercolor paints or water-based pens rather than the traditional soak-em vinegar dyes. Or even glitter glue, or stickers, the latter of which is apparently a Martha Stewart-approved decorating tactic. Your crowning glory will be the prize for the best egg.

And what sort of prize should you give? An impressive one, that's not made of candy, and ideally not edible at all. You want your (annual) Easter party to be so memorable that all the other aspiring hostesses in town will throw in the towel on Easter and move on to other holidays that don’t involve candy—like Halloween, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day.

Uhh, whoever designed our American holiday calendar had a major sweet-tooth, ay?

Sorry. Back to the task at hand. It depends on the age and gender mix of the party, but for younger children I think the Easter-themed 15” Hoodie-Footie Bunny Bear from the Vermont Teddy Bear Company would be hard to beat as a prize. For older kids, I’d have to go with a Harley Davidson Iron 883. Hey, you do want it to be the best party ever, right?

What to serve hungry children during egg decorating? Why, rabbit food, of course. Baby carrots, celery, broccoli, and cauliflower go over amazingly well with wee folk if there’s a good dip and no chocolate alternatives. While ranch dressings are traditional, consider having a honey mustard, too, for the sweet-toothed set. Serve with iced tea. Splenda optional.

Other carb-free Easter party ideas I found online are egg-toss tic-tac-toe, classic spoon races, and—in keeping with our quasi-military takeover of the holiday—you could morph capture the flag into capture the Easter basket. Meanwhile, the Disney Family site has blueprints for build-it-yourself paper Easter baskets the kids can assemble. The beauty of this design is that it can’t hold the weight of all that heavy commercial Easter candy!

Notice anything odd about these various traditional children’s activities? Uh-huh. They are all outdoors, don’t involve electronics, don’t involve eating, and require physical activity. So kids will hate them, right? Nope, if you lead, the kids will follow, and have a good time, too. Serve with sunscreen; we had an ozone layer when we were kids.

Now, no Easter party would be complete without the controlled chaos of an Easter egg hunt. And not only is it carb-free, but it can be good exercise, too. Set a temp basal for your daughter and turn ‘em loose. Serve with mixed nuts in a bed of faux Easter grass. For more advanced kids, hide with fiendish care, break the kids into teams and provide clues, that of course lead to more clues, that lead to yet more clues, that eventually lead to the eggs. For several years now our household tradition has been that I hide the first round of eggs and my son Rio finds them in about 15 minutes. He then hides the next round and I spend the next 15 days looking for them.

Serving a meal? Rack of lamb is wasted on most kids, and too expensive to serve in banquet quantities. While “SheKnows” blogger Kori Ellis should probably be shot for penning the words, “You can also set up a table as a candy station, where kids can help themselves to chocolate bunnies and eggs, Peeps, Easter cupcakes, cake pops and other goodies” (which would be like leaving a German Shepard alone at night in a dog food warehouse), I liked her idea of a “buffet of light fare” for feeding the masses. And to still give a nod to sweets, most people can’t tell the difference between sugar-free puddings and jellos and their high-carb colleagues.

Giving each child a small Easter basket as a party favor? Skip the traditional contents of chocolate bunnies, marshmallow chicks, and jelly beans in favor or some of these amazingly fun trinkets at Oriental Trading Company. From smiling bunny necklaces to Easter Bunny gliders, they have it all. Hey, even Easter-themed temporary tattoos!

So I think you can see how this could play out to be not only the party of the century, but also a cure for your family's Easter blues. However, one word of warning: You need to plan ahead to deal with those pesky associates of your primary guests: their parents. A good guest will ask you what they should bring to a party. But most people aren’t good guests, as social etiquette isn’t taught at school anymore, and grandmothers seem to have dropped the ball for whatever reason. So while people have lost the art of asking about an appropriate contribution to a social gathering, they still have a lingering cultural memory, like a distant echo, that they should bring something to a party they're invited to.

Easter party? Hell, bring Easter candy! Best Party of the Year

To head this problem off at the pass, you interdict it at the invitaton stage. It's perfectly socially acceptable for you to add something like this to the invitations:

The pleasure of your company is all that's desired. If you feel the need to contribute to the party, please bring a holiday-themed decorative item. Please do not bring any gifts of food or drink. The menu is well-stocked, and some of the children have special dietary needs and dangerous food allergies, and we desire to create a safe and fun atmosphere for all.

And if some bonehead ignores your instructions, quickly hide whatever they brought and take ‘em off the list for next year. Word will get around: Break the rules and you’ll miss the party of the year!

 

Disclaimer: This is not a medical advice column. We are PWDs freely and openly sharing the wisdom of our collected experiences — our been-there-done-that knowledge from the trenches. But we are not MDs, RNs, NPs, PAs, CDEs, or partridges in pear trees. Bottom line: we are only a small part of your total prescription. You still need the professional advice, treatment, and care of a licensed medical professional.


Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For more details click here.

Disclaimer

This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and doesn't adhere to Healthline's editorial guidelines. For more information about Healthline's partnership with Diabetes Mine, please click here.