Bright pink and yellow marshmallow Peeps, chocolate bunnies, colorful jelly beans -- the sugary sweets of Easter are upon us, ready to be stuffed into cute baskets and presented as gifts.
While children (and a lot of adults) might be delighted with an excuse to binge on a bucketful of candy, you probably don’t want to give your loved ones the gift of tooth decay, weight gain and other sugar-related health issues. Here are some ideas on how you can put the “good” back into goodies for the annual Easter basket.
Healthier, natural treats
Dark chocolate – Instead of traditional milk chocolate, reach for dark chocolate. The darker option has less sugar, is loaded with antioxidants, and has been proven to help lower blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease. Look for organic brands. The higher the percentage of cacao, the better.
Real raw carrots – The Easter bunny would be proud! Try wrapping these crunchy veggies in pretty bags with individual hummus snack packs.
Homemade peanut butter eggs – Making these yourself with natural ingredients is guaranteed to be healthier than commercial candy with its refined sugar and processed additives. Try this easy recipe.
Naturally-dyed Easter eggs – You probably already boil these and color them for Easter anyway, so why not tuck a few personalized ones in the basket? Try decorating them with homemade, natural dyes made from fruits and vegetables using this recipe.
Dehydrated fruit – Look for brands with no added sugar at your local grocery store or farmers market. Wrap them in pretty cellophane goodie bags with colorful ribbons – or put them in hollow, plastic Easter eggs.
Homemade marshmallow chicks – Peeps are popular, but making your own marshmallow chicks means that they are full of love, not refined sugar and artificial colors. Try this simple recipe.
Trail mix – A natural boost of energy makes this a welcome food. If you make your own, you can adjust the ingredients to suit your taste. If you buy it, choose the kind without candy mixed in; stick with nuts and dried fruit. Pour it into pretty containers to tuck into the basket.
Homemade energy bites – These little balls of goodness are super-easy to make, and they pack a healthy dose of oatmeal, chia seeds and peanut butter. Wrap them in small containers or jam jars and place them in the basket.
Non-food gift ideas
Gift cards – Give your loved one an excuse to go shopping with a gift card to their favorite store. To wrap it up, choose an attractive gift card box, now available at gift wrap supply stores.
Toys – If you have young children, dollar stores can be your best friend. Here you’ll find a whole bucket of small toys and Easter novelty items for just a few dollars.
Peeps – While this brand name is associated with sugary confections, they also have a whole line of merchandise, including apparel and gift items. All the bright-colored fun without the sugar!
CDs/DVDs – Touch the hearts of your music and film fans by giving the gift of entertainment. Bright new headphones also are perfect for Easter baskets.
Theme items – Is your loved one artistic? Maybe a sports fan? Create a basket filled with hobby-related supplies. Theme ideas can include fitness goals, makeup or fashion, or office/school supplies.
We hope these Easter gift ideas inspire you to think outside the candy basket.
What ideas do you have for healthy Easter basket stuffers? Share them in our comments section.