Easter is just around the corner, and along with celebrations and springtime vibes, the Easter bunny comes with one other thing: candy. From Easter egg fillers to chocolate bunnies to sugar-coated marshmallows, and everything in between…candy is everywhere this time of year.
Because good nutrition and health is core to our family’s lifestyle (and our brand), holidays that are traditionally celebrated with loads of sugar can get a little tricky to navigate. So we’re sharing some of our strategies for navigating sweets (especially around a holiday), plus some fun alternatives to candy to fill those eggs and that special, nostalgic Easter morning basket.
To be clear, we’re not so strict that we think kids should never get to eat sweets–we wouldn’t be human! We let our daughter, Della, #eatthecake–at birthday parties or on special occasions (like Halloween). Our hope is that Della won’t grow up thinking a holiday like Easter is all about the candy Easter gifts, and remember there’s so much more behind traditions and holidays than the treats. For instance, our favorite Easter tradition is to always dye eggs as a family; we love this natural egg dye kit.
We hear from many other parents who are looking for tips on navigating the sweets world, specifically around a holiday, so we hope you find this easter basket ideas guide helpful!
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Tips for When you Know your Kid May Have Sweets
- Set them up for success: Make sure your little one eats some fat and protein (like one of our meat pouches) before the party or event starts. Protein and fat help to balance blood sugar and prevent crazy spikes (and crashes!). We have regular conversations with our 3-year-old about this biological truth that protein must precede carbs. We’re clear it’s not a “rule” we made, it’s just the way our bodies work and the consequence of eating carbs alone can be tears, sadness, tiredness, or even getting sick.
- Set expectations: We talk with Della in advance about treats to manage her expectations. We’ll offer one piece of candy or one piece of cake, for example. We make sure she’s clear on this boundary before she starts eating it so she’s not surprised when she isn’t offered more. If your child is particularly resistant, this can also be phrased as a false choice, like “would you like one piece of candy or no candy?”
- Get on the same page: We make sure all other caregivers are aware of our guidelines so Della gets consistent messaging. It doesn’t mean Nana doesn’t still let her eat candy sometimes, but at least she knows when it happens it’s not an unlimited binge-fest, instead an occasional treat. More on how to have these conversations here.
- Bring something of your own to events/parties: You can have a little influence over what your little one eats if you bring or prepare a better-for-you option that you know they like. For example, if you pre-pack their fave protein-filled snack or another low-sugar treat option, for example, your little one may opt for familiarity over other (less healthy) options available.
How to Build Your Baby’s First Easter Basket
We know it can be exciting to build the first Easter basket for your baby. It’s also super exciting to create a fun Easter basket for a toddler: filled with themed toys (like a plush carrot toy), springtime clothes, super-soft “stuffies” aka stuffed animals like bunnies, items that encourage creativity and art, fun activities to keep them busy and entertained, books, healthy paleo, grain-free, planet-friendly foods, and more. Plus, a cute themed basket makes for the perfect photo op–because we know adorable photos are also on your Easter checklist! Here’s how to set up the perfect Easter basket:
- Pick a nice, durable basket that can be reused year after year (and can be easily carried by your little one). If you don’t want to have to store an Easter basket year after year, consider another reusable option like a pail or water bucket for sand play or gardening. It’ll entertain your baby well after Easter has come and gone (and help save the planet from another landfill item).
- Line the Easter basket with colorful fabric or a favorite baby bunny pattern (way easier clean up than those shredded paper or plastic “fluff” lining options).
- Fill the eggs for the Easter basket (and your Easter egg hunt) with fun, non-candy items (see below!)
- Fill the Easter basket with the filled eggs and these other cute, fun item ideas…
Non-Candy Easter Basket Filler Ideas
Create an adorably fun Easter basket for your little one (filled with lots of healthy alternatives to candy and sugary sweets)! Here are 30+ cute, non-candy easter gift ideas for babies to fill your little kids and older kids' Easter baskets:
- Serenity Kids Grain-Free Puffs! (our Pumpkin & Cinnamon recipe has been a huge fan-fave and is 10/10 recommended by our tiny taste testers; plus they’re a cute spring-orange color IRL)
- Eco-dough/non-toxic slime
- Serenity Kids pouches (our Salmon Puree is right on-theme being a super cute shade of pink and would look cute paired up with a protein pouch like our Pasture-Raised Turkey!)
- Eco-friendly water bottle
- Gardening goodies
- Natural art supplies
- Rain boots
- Wooden toys like Melissa & Doug
- Painted rocks or DIY art kits
- Green Toys
- Bath toys
- Non-toxic sunscreen
- Babyganics goodies
- Bunny floppy ears for an easter outfit
- Outdoor toys
- Soft blocks
- Sand toys
- Wooden egg maracas
- Cute Easter t-shirt/socks
- Easter baby bib
- Bunny hooded towel
- Easter headbands/bows
- Spring PJs
- Baby eating utensils like plates, spoons, etc.
- Stacking cups
- Baby wipes
- Plush bunny
Easter Egg Non-Candy Filler Ideas
- Temporary tattoos
- Plastic jewelry
- Coins (either real or fake)
- Bouncy balls (*for older kiddos)
- Clues for a scavenger hunt
- Amara plant-based yogurt smoothie bites
Here are some other fun holiday treats that are a great alternative to sugary jelly beans and sweet chocolate eggs (and are free from refined sugar!) if you’re looking for Easter Basket “better candy” inspo:
- Hu Kitchen Gems, Hunks, and Cookies are certified gluten-free, paleo, organic, and fair trade. They are sweetened with coconut sugar and have as little as three grams of added sugar per serving.
- Eating Evolved Nut Butter Cups are Paleo and organic. They are made with 72% dark chocolate and have only 4 grams of organic coconut sugar per serving.
- Siete Cookies are gluten-free, grain-free, and lightly sweetened with coconut sugar. Their mini size is perfect for your little one - each cookie has just 1 gram of sugar!
- IQBARS are clean label, super low carb protein bars made without gluten, dairy, soy, or GMOS.
- Homemade gummies are made with just grass-fed gelatin and tart cherry juice. Yes, we just said “juice” 😱. But the amount per gummy is so small, and it is balanced out with a great source of protein from the gelatin. Check out our homemade recipe, that you can easily adapt to any occasion, holiday, or regular ‘ol Tuesday afternoon with cute gummy molds of any theme (we snag them from Amazon).
- Unreal candy are low-sugar, all-natural, gluten-free, vegan, Non-GMO, & Fair Trade Certified; we love their cute Easter tagline, too…”you shouldn’t have to hunt for real, lower sugar, unreal tasting treats!”
Looking for more ideas and resources? Check out this post on Ideas for Easter Baskets by The Educators Spin On It or read up on these 30 Easter Basket Gift Ideas by Parade. Remember that some small items could be a choking hazard for little one(s). Use your judgment and do what makes sense given the age of your kiddos!
Happy Spring, Happy Easter, and Happy Parenting!
We’d love to hear about what works for you navigating the world of sweets and what you’re putting in your Easter basket this year! Let us know how you navigate these sugar-centric holidays with your little ones; we’re all ears! 🐰