Do healthy Easter baskets sound like an oxymoron—or just plain impossible? You want to see your children’s eyes light up when they see their Easter baskets, but you don’t want them to gorge on artificial trash that electrifies them with hyperactivity. Let’s avoid the temper tantrum to follow when the high fructose corn syrup wears off. Yet don’t be like the neighbor who hands out plain apples to the trick-or-treaters at Halloween. Nobody likes that guy. (Well, none of the kids.)
Of course, you can bulk up their basket with non-edible items, whether small things like stickers or coloring books, or plush toys if they don’t already have enough (and are still young enough to appreciate them).
Peeps Plush Yellow Bunny, $12.49 on Amazon
A cuddly Peeps bunny that’s sugar-free but still plenty sweet.
But when it comes to the sweet treats, you can still create a healthyish stockpile for your kids’ Easter baskets. Delight your children without junk food using some of these ideas.
Strawberries draped in chocolate are not just for lovers around Valentine’s Day. Give them to children who might need a little enticement to eat their fruit (try decorating them with a few strategically placed sprinkles, and/or switching it up with white chocolate). Sliced bananas covered in chocolate are good too, frozen or refrigerated, or use whatever fruit your kid actually likes. Just be careful about melting. Get our Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries recipe.
Barnana Organic Chocolate Chewy Banana Bites, $3.99 at Walmart
Or find reasonably healthy counterparts at the store.
The Easter Bunny likes them, right? Right! A few of these stuck in the basket is a fun, totally on-theme idea, and perhaps more appealing than plain old baby carrots. But please put some more traditional sweets in there too. Get our Carrot Chips recipe.
Those eggs that you hunt for during Easter? Why not include some in the basket—just make sure they’re painted all pretty. Here’s how to make the perfect hard boiled egg, and here are tips for dyeing eggs naturally.
Chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa is one of the best sources of antioxidants. Kids might find it too bitter, but you can try (and just eat it for them if they turn their nose up). Find high-quality chocolate rather than the most prevalent cheap, cloying milk chocolate brands. The darker, the better, but if you know it won’t fly, try vegan oat milk chocolate for a change.
These sorta egg-shaped chocolate treats are a riff on Reese’s peanut butter eggs. Make it more nut butter than chocolate, and they might not even notice—and feel free to swap in almond butter or seed butters if your little ones have allergies. Get the Healthier Peanut Butter Eggs recipe.
6. Healthy Treat-Filled Plastic Eggs
Those plastic eggs you normally fill with Hershey kisses or loose change? You can also fill them with lots else that is better for them but still appealing, like dried fruit, chocolate-covered almonds and raisins, cocoa-dusted nuts, trail mix, and granola. The mere fact that it’s inside a brightly colored egg will probably make it more exciting. Try our Nutty Trail Mix recipe.
7. Homemade Candy Bars
In the same vein of DIY Reese’s eggs, you can make healthier homemade versions of non-Easter-specific candies too. If your kid likes coconut, these homemade paleo “Almond Joy” Bars look pretty awesome, and are free of gluten, dairy, and refined sugar. Get the Paleo Almond Joy recipe. (Or try this carob variation.)
A couple of these in your basket, and you’ll squeal with pleasure, no matter how old you are. Get some protein, fiber, and healthy fat along with a bit of chocolate when you combine it with nuts. Get our Chocolate Covered Nut Jobs recipe.
9. Sour Candy
Vary up your kids’ Easter basket with some sour candies, but not the artificial, sugary Sour Patch Kids or similar store-bought item. Our Grapefruit Pâte de Fruit Candy recipe does contain added refined sugar, but you can also find no-sugar sour fruit candies using fruit juice, gelatin, and coconut nectar.
Adults, you can try some of our delicious dessert recipes you’d never know are healthy—and visit our Easter page for everything you need to know that’s sweet and savory for this spring holiday.
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