Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Peanut Allergy Easter Candy (and other Food Allergies): The EB Has Some Options! Plus, a Vermont Nut-Free Giveaway!

For those of us dealing with peanut allergies and other food allergies at Easter, we often feel like the Easter Bunny may have a sparse basket to share with our food-allergic kids and family members. I'm happy to report that there seems to be more options than ever before that make it a lot easier on EB. Also, non-edible items are a big hit at my house and I encourage you to try those as well. I'll have more on non-edible suggestions in an upcoming post. Now, onto the candy!

Divvies is a fabulous choice for egg-, nut- and dairy-allergic people. Click the link to discover chocolate bunnies, jelly beans and other fabulously delicious "safe" candies for Easter. Hurry though--they tend to sell out quickly--they're that good!

For nut allergies only (this is what my family deals with) we love, love, love Vermont Nut-Free Chocolate. This is guaranteed, nut-free goodness made in a dedicated nut-free facility. Currently, Vermont Nut Free is backed up with Easter orders and can no longer guarantee Easter delivery. However, Vermont Nut-Free was also kind enough to offer a nut-free chocolate Easter giveaway to readers of The Nut-Free Mom blog! VNF recently provided me with Easter chocolate and I can ship it to you directly. The winner will receive: a dark chocolate Easter Bunny pop, a crispy rice chocolate bunny bar and a small Easter-shaped chocolate assortment (2.8 oz). Yum! That certainly dresses up a nut-free Easter basket! Please note: this is peanut- and tree nut-free only. May contain other food allergens such as egg and soy.

All you have to do is comment on this post TODAY and TOMORROW ONLY (Wed. and Thurs.) for your chance to win. When commenting, I'd love to hear how you celebrate Easter nut-free (or other holidays nut-free, egg-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, etc.). I will announce the winner on Friday so that we can get your candy to you in time for Easter Sunday! Winner will be chosen at random.

Note: When commenting, please give your first name and an initial. Please do NOT post as Anonymous. I need to know how to identify the winner. Thanks in advance for this!

Finally, if you're in the supermarket and want to pick something up, I've got a few suggestions that are safe for nut allergies since that is what I am most familiar with, but I also have a couple of choices safe for the Top 8 food allergies as well. The list below in no way encompasses everything out there, so I'm welcome to comments that share your "finds."

Chocolate eggs:Cadbury mini chocolate CANDY COATED eggs. These are made by Hershey. Hershey has stated to me that they will always mark for cross-contact, so read the labels. Creme-filled and caramel Cadbury eggs have nut allergy warnings but the candy coated ones, called Cadbury Mini Eggs do not.

Hershey chocolate for Easter. Not everything is free of nut warnings, but many of you have reported finding "safe" chocolate bunnies, chocolate eggs and more. Always check the label on these and contact Hershey for more info, but it looks like there is a fair amount to choose from these days.

Starburst jellybeans, Gimbals jelly beans. I don't recommend Jelly Belly just yet though they recently went "peanut-free." The company has reported that older bags of candy may still contain peanut flour.

Sweet Tarts "Eggs, Chicks and Bunnies": Egg and wheat allergy warnings.

Marshmallow Peeps: These are gluten-free as well and do not contain egg ingredients; gelatin is listed as an ingredient. There are SO many kinds of Peeps out there now; it's mind boggling. :) If you can have them, go for it.

Safe for the Top 8 (including celiac disease)
Surf Sweets Gummy Bears. You can find these in the candy section at Whole Foods as well as other natural markets. These are made with organic fruit juice and no artificial dyes.

Yummy Earth Lollipops. These are also available at Whole Foods and they are natural and delicious besides being allergy-friendly.

Enjoy Life Candy Bars. These are free of the Top 8 allergens and the crispy rice Boom Choco Boom is a little slice of heaven. Anyone would like this in their Easter Basket. Find these at Whole Foods; for other retailers visit their web site.


Note: It is always your decision what to serve your child, so if you have questions or concerns, please always contact the candy manufacturer for more info. Food labels can change; always read the label to be sure of ingredients/cross-contact risk.

63 comments:

Cara said...

Thank you for this, I was just about to do my own research! I'll be sharing this with the grandma's too ;)

Profit Perspectives said...

Thanks for this list! The Peeps, with their rainbow colors, are a favorite in our house.

Kristi D. said...

Thanks for all of he great information!

Kristi D.
Mom of a nut-allergic kiddo

Hali said...

HI this is Jeni R way out in Oregon...I am so excited about all your info...I am a mom and the one with the nut allergy, makes life around here interesting. I still buy things for the kids, they just know how to be safe with them. Anyone that comes to the house is careful also. Thank you for all your info.
I am so glad I found you!

Rachel said...

Rahel M. would love to win that basket!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Marissa S. said...

This is my first time reading your blog and it is great! My youngest son has allergies to milk, eggs, and peanuts/tree nuts and I found it helpful and interesting :) For Easter I normally have to give him skittles, sweettarts, bubble gum, nerds, and gummy type candies. He seems to do ok with those. I am still in the process of finding him some chocolates he can have. I recently found out about enjoy life foods, so I am really hoping he will do good with their foods :) Have a great Easter!!!

Lindsay said...

I'd love to win! I celebrate Easter nut-free by ordering from Vermont Nut Free & buying Peeps. We also attend church and eat lunch with family. This is the first year my grandparents are in a retirement home, so the hosting and cooking responsibilities have been passed down to my mom and me! I'm very excited about this, as I'll be able to make more nut-free desserts that everyone can enjoy!

Heidi said...

My son hasn't had chocolate in about 4 years... doesn't even know if he likes it! Would love to try some Vermont Nut-Free chocolate for Easter :)

Filita said...

This would be a great prize. I host an Easter Egg Hunt at my place every year since my kids are allergic to peanuts/all nuts. We have about 10 kids participating this year.

jenmura said...

Thanks for the heads up on the peanut safe Easter candy. We just bought a little bit from Vermont Nut-Free. I LOVE chocolate and am trying really hard to keep ALL the chocolate that comes in this year to be safe this way my PA little one doesn't have to feel different because they'll all have the same things in their baskets this year.

Rachel said...

We love Vermont Nut Free Chocolates, especially the Skippers! Being nut free means no M&M's which really is the only candy I feel is hard to find a good substitute for.

My 4 year old daughter's Easter Basket will be filled with a small amount of chocolate goodies, but also fun spring stuff: a new bathing suit, crocs, chalk, bubbles and gardening toys.

Amy J said...

This is wonderful. I would love to win for my son. Amy J.

April said...

LOVE Vermont Nut Free and LOVE your page!

Anonymous said...

Jenny - I love reading your blog. As a parent of special needs, non-verbal twins, one of whom has life threatening peanut allergies, I enjoy learning of the new products my son may enjoy and also items to avoid. Vermont Nut Free is a wonderful company as well. We've ordered Easter candy from them and all 3 of my children have enjoyed it immensely. I would love to win this basket. Thank You! Kelly E. from Wisconsin :)

Tammy N said...

Thanks for the tips on buying candy in the stores, I am always trying to find something new that is peanut free,when my daughter was little I bought her easter baskets from vermont nut free chocolates and added spring outside items (sidewalk chalk,jump ropes,books etc) the prices were reasonable too for knowing you get something allergy safe. Now that my daughter is older, i stick in a video game or cd, hair accessories or jewlery etc with the candy I can find

DDSMOM said...

This looks so yummy and I got so excited and then I saw that it's only nut free. :( Not sure what to do for my son who has allergies to dairy,soy,egg,nut and everything else in the world. I want to include him in on the Easter fun and not exclude his older brother who has no allergies either. Any suggestions?
Laura T.

kirsten said...

I was just thinking about the Easter Bunny. I want my 5 y/o daughter to have the solid chocolate bunny in her basket every year, just like I did growing up!

Jenny said...

DDSMOM, it can be hard to find safe foods for multiple FAs. Did you see my suggestions that are free from the Top 8 food allergens? Surf Sweets and also Yummy Earth as well as Enjoy Life Foods candy bars. All of those would be safe for your son w/multiple food allergies. We also use a lot of non-edible treats and make our own. Hope this helps! Happy Easter. :)

Anonymous said...

Peeps! Also, we always make a "safe" home made Easter Bunny cake! Jenny, thanks for all the great posts and all the hard work you do to keep us informed. Your positive energy is wonderful! Wish we were able to attend the FAAN conference this Saturday but we are not due to a prior commitment - hope to meet you sometime! Laura

Jennifer said...

Jennifer N.

This is great information! We always manage to find a few yummy nut free treats for our Easter Baskets. Hershey's is great! Our Easter bunny also leaves some fun warm weather outdoor play items. As the kids grow older, our savvy bunny has begun to leave a CD or warm weather T'shirts and pajamas in the baskets. This is always an occassion for hope and joy in Minnesota where we can sometimes wake up to SNOW on Easter!

Maureen M, said...

This is our first allergen free holiday. It has been a learning curve avoiding nuts, egg, milk and shellfish! Thanks for doing this!

kirsten said...

I was just thinking about the Easter Bunny! I'm hoping he brings my 5 y/o a solid chocolate bunny in her basket, just like he did for me!

jill C. said...

Ohhhhh, thanks for the contest. If I win, it will be our first time tasting vermont nut free! Happy Easter!

Amy L. said...

For Easter we make our own baskets. We usually stick with hershey's chocolate since it is labled correctly, gimbals jelly beans since they are always peanut-free, and "spring" toys like bubbles and jump ropes.

jamie Strait said...

I would like my daughter to have something that everyone else has for a change. I feel bad that she always has to have something else

Kelsey said...

This year I found Sweet Tarts Jelly beans which appear to be nut free - and they are more "Eastery" in color than Starburst Jelly Beans we have enjoyed in the past. Although I really love Vermont Nut Free Jelly Beans. My kids also love Tootsie Pops and DumDums.

We do a combination of some safe candy and other treats like stickers and sometimes DVDs (if there is something we might have bought anyway, why not stick it in the Easter basket). Our EB is also bringing summer t-shirts, bubbles, and a book for each kid - lets just say our bunny over-compensates for the fact that we can't enjoy Reeces any longer! :-)

Patti said...

i have searched high & low for a nut-free bunny (which i did find locally last year...no such luck this year). an order may just be in order :-)

Karen M. said...

My daughter's first Easter after finding out about her peanut/tree nut allergy she was only 18 months so we put cheerios in plastic eggs for her to find as well as non-food items from the Easter Bunny. The next year when she was 2.5 we actually found a peanut free chocolate "cat", and also put hershey's kisses in the plastic eggs. This year she is 3.5 and I am so pleased with the variety of chocolate "bunnies" available - Dora, Toopie and Binoo, Sponge Bob, cats, dogs, bunnies, etc! Plus we plan on using Hershey's products for the plastic eggs again, and Hershey's Eggies and the wrapped chocolate eggs. Non-food items are always left from the Easter Bunny as well.

Jill R. said...

Thank you so much for all the great information. I am the mother of 2 peanut allergic boys. For Easter we usually do nerds, Laffy Taffy,(Wonka Candy) Rice Cispie Treats,mini Oreo cookies,fruit snacks or small toys. They have never tried the Vermont Chocolate. Great ideas!

Jennifer said...

Thank goodness for peanut free products! My sweet gal doesn't have to miss the simple pleasures life has to offer! Lets keep making it equal for all food eaters!

Christine said...

My peanut and tree nut allergic son will have a chocolate Easter bunny purchased from Peanut Free Planet in his basket again this year...I'm so glad to find those - gotta have the chocolate bunny! We also put quarters inside plastic eggs to hide around the house. My son also loves the flavored mini Tootsie Rolls. Have a great Easter!

Jennifer said...

Holiday's are surrounded by yummy treats for the festivities. It is comforting to know I can let my 3-year-old peanut allergic babe indulge in life's simple pleasures. It would break my heart if options like Vermont Nut Free weren't available. It would push me to make things and I am a terrible baker;)
Thank you for all that you do and the information you provide. It's great to be on top of things and to have the support to know you aren't alone.

Jennifer H.

Anonymous said...

Angie L. - Love your blog! My 2 young sons were diagnosed with PA last summer so this year I have to be careful around Easter. Instead of doing chocolates and candy, I've opted for more non-edible items such as small toys, stickers, coloring books and crayons.

Jerri Olney said...

My son was just diagnosed with allergies this week (peanuts and eggs, testing wheat and more next week). I went grocery shopping last night for the first time since the diagnosis and nearly had a breakdown!

I think we'll stick to toys instead of food for most holidays, but I'm glad to know there are options out there! Thanks!

Sondra P. said...

With multiple food allergies in our household, including egg, we celebrate Easter with lots of non food & food fun. Last week we gathered egg shaped rocks & painted them with spring designs & made some into our Easter "eggs". We have them displayed in a levely basket in the middle if our dinner table. We also make safe cookies & a special Easter dinner to enjoy with family. Happy spring & Happy Easter to everyone!!

33mom said...

In our Easter baskets, we usually have Peeps, Starburst jelly beans and a variety of food-free items, like stickers, stuffed animals, pencils, etc.

Jenny said...

I lost "Tanya B's" comment somehow, sorry! Have no idea what happened.

Tanya B., you are entered in the contest, so don't worry!

Every Bride's Frienemy said...

My 4 1/2 yr old was just diagnose with tree nut allergies today. He's allergic to 8 of the 9 tree nuts they tested for. Scary stuff. This is all so new and overwhelming right now for me. Glad I found your blog. I'm sure I will be relying on it often!

Allison said...

My son would love this! Thank you so much for being are voice and all you do :)

Linda B. said...

What a great giveaway!!

Victoria W said...

My 4 1/2 yr old was just diagnose with tree nut allergies today. He is allergic to 8 of the 9 tree nuts they tested for. It's scary stuff. Glad to have found your blog. I'm sure I will be relying on it often!

Lissa said...

We're just starting to research this stuff, as our PA son is only 20 months. We'll probably do hershey's stuff and then more toys than candy.

lizbit024 said...

Hey there, Liz R here, who really really would like to win some safe candy!! First off thank you for the opportunity, your contest are always fun! We typically have a huge family gathering for Easter where I start telling everyone in March not to buy any candy. You know of course no one listens to me so we spend the holiday explaining to my daughter why she can't have the candy. Last year was so much better. My mother in law bought treats from Vermont Free, not only did my daughter get her own safe treat, we were able to fill everyone else's eggs with the safe jelly beans and candy coated chocolate. Unfortunately mom in law can't do that this year so... here's hoping!!!

Anonymous said...

This year I bought hershey bunnies, starburst jellybeans, peeps, and of course a stuffed bunny. My local walgreens is providing separate eggs that are safe for my daughter for an easter egg hunt this weekend. Second year they have done this, the management there is awesome. She won't actually hunt for them, but she doesn't mind how she gets them!!!!
Jodi M.

Ali said...

I'm so excited b/c this will be DD's 1st Easter with only TN & PN! Last year was Soy, Egg, Wheat, Dairy, TN & PN free. We are thrilled that she has outgrown so many of her food allergies. This year we will be celebrating with a little extra candy, to make up for the almost complete lack of candy last year. I'm excited to look for some of the products you listed. Surf Sweets are already a favorite.

VickyA said...

Thank you for the list. I am glad to hear that Jelly Belly finally went peanut free. We usually keep the candy to a minimum and fill my son's basket with stuffed animals and small toys.

Kate said...

I'd love to win!

Our daughter is young (3.5), so we've gotten away in the past without *too* many edible Easter treats. Once I put nut-free chocolate chips and little bits of strawberries in plastic eggs for her to find. Other than that, I have just bought standard Target/grocery store brands that are not labeled as containing nuts (or sesame, in our case) or having been made on the same equipment.

michelle said...

we put vnf chocolate in the baskets, along with one pretty pricey wanted gift...(of course, to make up for not buying the bags of easter candy lined on all the market shelves :))

The Thackers said...

I LOVE your blog. Thanks for all the super useful information! My son is peanut/ tree nut allergic and Im always learning from your blog! Yay for the cadbury mini eggs!! Happy Easter to you and your family!

Hannah said...

Thank you for your helpful list. Vermont Nut-Free Chocolate is a favorite in our house. Love your blog-thank you!

Hannah S.

Janet said...

I usually order through Peanut Free Planet for holidays because I can get many Vermont Nut Free items as well as Divvies and other great brands at the same time. We love Vermont Nut Free's Skippers for M&M replacements, Seth Ellis's delicious Sun Cups to replace peanut butter cups, and I also get the canadian nut-free Kit Kats, Mars bars and other imports that are made nut-free over the border. Vermont Nut-Free's chocolate covered pretzels and chocolate lollipops are other favorites. My problem is usually wanting to order too many things! I'll also be using some non-edible surprises in their baskets this year.

Patsy said...

Love the blog. For Easter we use Peeps and then non-food items like play-doh filled eggs, coins in plastic eggs, stickers, matchbox cars (I have 3 boys). Love the Vermont nut free, but time got away from me and I haven't ordered yet :(

Patsy H.

April said...

I usually don't do too much candy for Easter...just a chocolate bunny and a few other small pieces...mainly toys/books/etc. I just made my first order from PeanutFreePlanet and was happy with the variety there...

Dana said...

This is our first year navigating Easter with a Tree Nut allergy so it has been a bit of a challenge (skulking in the aisles every time I discover a potential Easter Treat, trying to discreetly read the labels while Husband distracts our daughter)

Normally, every Easter basket includes a small toy and a treat of some kind. This year there might be a few more in the baskets!

Would love to wine some bunnies though - those are hardest to find "Nut Free" (and thanks for the tip to go to Vermont's!)

Tanya C. said...

Here in Ontario, I have been lucky enough to find a couple of small business owners that sell chocolate and cookie dough in tubs that are peanut & nut free. These women have children who are allergic to nuts and have started these businesses to respond to the need for more options for those with allergies. So I am able to buy chocolate bunnies, lollipops and other fun novelties for our kids' easter baskets. Love your blog as always! Thank you for all your work in this area!

Whitney said...

AGH! All of my usual haunts are OUT! We use Peanut Free planet as two of my three children and myself are all freelings. We usually do inedible like CD's, books, etc.....my DS is chagrined by the underwear that somehow always seems to make its way into his basket... LOL We do a few things like Peeps (the kids hate them), Divvies bunnies and Bengamint bars, and VNF things. Mostly stick to inedible tho!

live-no-nuts said...

Just posted about Huey's Nut-Free Chocolate. Forgot to add my name.
Carolyn K.

Naomi said...

I LOVE Vermont Nut Free! We always order from them at Christmas, but haven't tried their Easter candy. For my peanut-free kids, I always get Easter treats made by "Vadeboncoeur" (they are a Canadian company, so I don't know if you get them in the States). They have a HUGE selection of peanut/nut-free chocolates and they are available at pretty much every retailer that sells Easter candy. And this year, I noticed that Kinder Surprise eggs also have a peanut-free symbol on them, which is awesome! ~Naomi G.

Jessie-Hannay said...

hi iam jessie and just commenting to see how old your daughter is i am 13 with a peanut alergy and i carnt be in the same room as peanuts and would apreashiate a girl with a nut allergy to talk to
thanks jessie

Paisley said...

I'll be filling my sons easter basket with small toys like legos, play-doh, and art supplies.
Laine P

sarahlove said...

Just had my first episode with nuts this week. EEK! Trying to learn everything I can. Thank you for the info!!
SarahLove

lynn smith said...

Thanks for the information.
Please everyone check peeps. The chocolate dipped ones are not safe for someone with a peanut allergy.
Always double check your packages.(Things change)
When my daughter was smaller we got her Merlins peanut free bunnies for easter. They were bought out by another company no warning on package that they were no longer peanut free. We love Vermont Peanut Free. So many options and yummy .

Carrie Wallace said...

Carrie w. Thanks so much. Its hard to find stuff.