I love how excited my kids get around the holidays! It is so magical to watch their beautiful faces light up when we are all together celebrating Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas (and all of the others!). But, I hate all of the junk and candy they get at these special times. For the past few years, I have been getting away from filling Easter baskets with a lot of candy. I still bought a couple candy items for the baskets but just never felt great about it since I know what is in the candy I was choosing. But, this year, I decided to do something different and I feel good about it!
(Photo courtesy of www.thepartyworks.com)
How to Fill an Easter Basket with Treats that Won’t Compromise Your Child’s Health:
1. Choose healthier candy/gum. A lot of candy has unhealthy ingredients and GMOs. I just received my order from Vitacost that had organic candy in it for my children’s Easter baskets. I ordered organic jelly beans, organic lollipops, chocolate bars and gum. I do not think the candy and gum I bought for my kids is healthy for them but I do think it is healthier than the kind of candy I used to buy for them.
Ingredients in Surf Sweets jelly beans: Organic evaporated cane juice, organic tapioca syrup, organic white grape juice concentrate, pectin, citric acid, ascorbic acid, colors added (including black carrot juice concentrate, annatto, turmeric), natural flavors, confectioner’s glaze, carnauba wax, and organic sunflower oil.
Ingredients in Jelly Belly jelly beans: Sugar and corn syrup are the primary ingredients of jelly beans, along with modified food starch. There are also flavorings and food dyes in the candy. Jelly Belly jelly beans use a number of red, yellow and blue dyes. Beeswax, carnauba wax, confectioner’s glaze and salt complete the ingredient list.
Ingredients in Yummy Earth lollipops: Organic evaporated cane juice, organic rice syrup, non-GMO citric acid (from beet sugar), natural flavors, may contain organic black carrots, organic black currant, organic apple, organic carrot, organic pumpkin.
Ingredients in cherry Dum Dum lollipops: Sugar, Corn Syrup, Citric Acid, Artificial Flavor, Artificial Color (Red 40).
Ingredients in Chocolove Almonds & Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate: Cocoa liquor, sugar, almonds, cocoa butter, sea salt, soy lecithin, vanilla.
Ingredients in Hershey Special Dark Mildly Sweet Chocolate Nuggets with Almonds: Milk chocolate (sugar; milk; chocolate; cocoa butter, lactose, milk fat, soy lecithin; PGPR, emulsifier; vanillin, artificial flavor); almonds (roasted in cocoa butter and/or sunflower oil).
Ingredients in Spry Fresh Fruit Gum: Xylitol, gum base, orange & lemon oil (natural flavors), banana & pineapple (artificial flavors), vegetable glycerin (humectant), gum Arabic (texturizer), non-GMO soy lecithin (emulsifier) and beeswax (glazing agent).
Ingredients in Juicy Fruit Sugar free Gum: Maltitol, sorbitol, gum base, natural and mannitol, aspartame, color (titanium dioxide), soy lecithin, acesulfame K, carnauba wax, BHT (to maintain freshness).
2. Do not put a lot of candy/gum in kid’s baskets. Children nowadays are inundated with candy and gum everywhere they go – school, church, bank, grocery store, birthday parties, Christmas parties, Halloween parties, etc. They do not need a lot of candy in their Easter baskets to make finding their basket fun! Give your kids’ bodies a break and just put two or three different candies in their baskets. Really, they will be fine without a lot. For the health of your child(ren), get the focus of an Easter basket off of candy, please.
3. Fill baskets with organic hard boiled eggs and use stickers or natural dyes to decorate them. Using artificial food coloring dye can cause hyperactivity in children, cancer and allergic reactions. So, you can use either stickers or the following which I found at the Gypsy’s Melting Pot’s Facebook page:
Bluish-Gray: Mix 1 cup frozen blueberries with 1 cup water, bring to room temperature, and remove blueberries.
Blue: Cut 1/4 head of red cabbage into chunks and add to 4 cups boiling water. Stir in 2 Tbsp. vinegar. Let cool to room temperature and remove cabbage with a slotted spoon.
Jade Green: Peel the skin from 6 red onions and simmer in 2 cups water for 15 minutes; strain. Add 3 tsp. white vinegar.
Faint Green-Yellow: Peel the skin from 6 yellow apples. Simmer in 1-1/2 cups water for 20 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. white vinegar. Simmer 4 oz. chopped fennel tops in 1-1/2 cups of water for 20 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. white vinegar.
Orange: Take the skin of 6 yellow onions and simmer in 2 cups water for 15 minutes; strain. Add 3 tsp. white vinegar.
Faint Red-Orange: Stir 2 Tbsp. paprika into 1 cup boiling water; add 2 tsp. white vinegar.
Rich yellow: Simmer 4 oz. chopped carrot tops in 1-1/2 cups water for 15 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. white vinegar.
Mustard-yellow: Stir 2 tsp. turmeric into 1 cup boiling water; add 2 tsp. white vinegar.
Various shades: Steep 4 bags of chamomile or green tea in 1 cup boiling water for 5 minutes.
Pale yellow: Chop 4 oz. goldenrod and simmer in 2 cups water for 20 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. white vinegar.
Faint yellow: Simmer the peels of 6 oranges in 1-1/2 cups water for 20 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. vinegar.
Brown-Gold: Simmer 2 Tbsp. dill seed in 1 cup water for 15 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. white vinegar.
Brown: Add 1 tablespoon vinegar to 1 cup strong coffee.
Faint pink: Chop 4 oz. amaranth flowers and simmer in 2 cups water; strain. Add 2 tsp. white vinegar. Simmer the skins from 6 avocados in 1-1/2 cup water for 20 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. white vinegar. Mix 1 cup pickled beet juice and 1 tablespoon vinegar.
Dark pink: Cut 1 medium beet into chunks and add to 4 cups boiling water. Stir in 2 Tbsp. vinegar and let cool to room temperature; remove beets.
Lavender: Mix 1 cup grape juice and 1 tablespoon vinegar.
I also found this at The Wellness Cafe’s Facebook page (I have not tried this yet but am going to):
4. Put coloring books and crayons in baskets. Great for a child’s creativity and keeps them occupied for a little while!
5. Put new spring clothes in baskets. My kids love it when the Easter bunny buys a few new spring/summer items of clothing for them. I usually roll them tight so they will fit better in their basket.
6. Put stickers in baskets. Kids love stickers and love them in their Easter baskets.
(Photo courtesy of www.parteaz.co.uk)
7. Put a couple little toys/games in baskets. I like to put a couple of little cars in my son’s basket and a little Polly Pocket or small doll in my daughter’s.
(Photo courtesy of uk.ebid.net)
8. Go to Michael’s and pick up a few little items for baskets. One of my favorite places to get Easter basket items is Michael’s craft store. They have a ton of little things for $1 each so I am not breaking the bank. They also have the little plastic eggs that I use to put a couple organic jelly beans in and hide around the house for their Easter egg hunt.
I hope this helps you plan your list for Easter baskets this year! Remember to just take baby steps when making changes and they will soon become a habit! 🙂
It’s all about the journey…