Easy and Healthy Easter Basket Alternatives

Easter is just around the corner and for those of you celebrating Easter with your kids, you may be looking for some ideas for their baskets that won’t have them bouncing off the walls. I am not one to recommend banning all sweets, but I do think that there is room for other lower-sugar and less-junky items, and even better, some non-food items that your kids will love.

Still sweet, but better for you

Fruit leathers: Fruit is naturally sweet, so while it is a source of sugar, that sugar is packaged with other good nutrients and fiber. These taste better than their gummy cousins and have only fruit for their ingredients. You can buy them or make your own using your slow cooker (and this recipe comes with a facial too!). Also, check out this previously published fruit leather recipe from Stone Soup!
Chocolate-covered fruit: Look for a short ingredient list and dark chocolate; milk chocolate has much more added sugar.
Sugarless gum: Helps promote tooth health. Make sure the kids are old enough to not swallow the gum.

Ready, set, action

Wouldn’t it be great if the kids were entertaining themselves (and even exercising) so that the parents can catch up and enjoy their cup of coffee? You can make that happen with some simple toy-rather-than-candy basket items.

Garden supplies: Research and experience has proven again and again that kids who help grow vegetables eat them! Get your garden started with some seeds or a how-to container gardening book for little ones. Check out Gardening With Kids — an offshoot of the National Gardening Association — for tips, resources and even some recommended products that can help fill up a basket.
Chinese jump rope: A great, compact toy for kids that will get them moving and can fit in mom’s purse or dad’s pocket.
Play Dough: Fun for everyone and you can look for colors to match the occasion
Bubbles: These work best if you have nice weather and access to the outdoors. Probably not ideal for inside church or grandma’s house.

Get Crafty

Everyone is happier when they have something fun to do. Be prepared with a few simple hands-on activities.

Easter-themed tattoos and stickers: What kid doesn’t love these? I still love ’em and there are plenty of Easter-targeted options that can be found online. Some, stickers especially, can even be used on dyed eggs.
Crayons or markers: A new pack of either will fit nicely into most Easter baskets. These days you can even buy markers made to be used on windows (that are easy to clean up).
A new coloring book: Would pair nicely with the new crayons and markers! And again, there are plenty of Easter-themed versions found with an easy online search.

You don’t have to center the holiday around sugar. A small sweet treat is nice, but round out the celebration with family time and non-food fun. Happy holidays!

Holly Larson on Twitter
Holly Larson
Holly Larson, RD, is a registered dietitian in Oxford, Ohio. Read her blog and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.