Healthy Easter Basket Ideas the Whole Family Will Enjoy

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Candy-free Easter Basket Ideas
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Since we largely avoid candy and other processed foods, I have to get creative and come up with other Easter basket ideas each year. As kids, my brother and I always looked forward to Easter and getting baskets with a chocolate bunny and going on Easter egg hunts. Because of these special memories I work hard to make my kids’ baskets just as special (with less of the junky stuff).

My husband and I made a decision early in our marriage to focus on giving experiences instead of material gifts, and we wanted to find ways to bring this into our holiday celebrations. Over the years I’ve found some unique ideas and themes for the yearly baskets that were not only fun for the children to receive Easter morning but help encourage family experiences as well.

Healthy Easter Baskets: Taking It Too Far?

I’ve definitely heard the objection that taking candy out of an Easter basket takes the whole healthy thing a little too far. If your thoughts are running along these lines, consider:

Easter is the second biggest candy-selling holiday of the year after Halloween. Over 16 billion jelly beans are made each year, along with millions of neon marshmallow chicks and hundreds of varieties of chocolate treats. Most of these products are now made with high fructose corn syrup, food dyes, and ingredients our bodies (and certainly our kids’ bodies) were not meant to consume.

My point is, if I’m extreme, it’s because I’m reacting to a big problem.

Since food dyes may affect behavior, and many people consume over 100 pounds of sugar a year, it is becoming increasingly important to consider healthier alternatives even on holidays. These simple switches don’t take away any of the fun or tradition … they just reduce the sugar and food dye content.

Certainly, sometimes the stress of choosing natural options can outweigh the benefits, but I feel this is a holiday where we can definitely make improvements. We can still celebrate all that Easter is meant to be without going to extremes on either end of the spectrum.

Ok, that’s out of the way… on to Easter baskets!

25+ Candy-Free Easter Basket Ideas

Here’s some of our family’s favorites from Easters over the years. Hopefully some of them get the wheels turning and inspire some ideas perfect for your family!

Experience-Based/Themed Easter Basket Ideas

I think these experience-themed baskets are more fun and long-lasting than a sugar-laden basket of candy. Create an Easter basket based around an activity or theme like gardening, baseball, swimming, or camping and give your kids the gift of a new skill or favorite pastime.

These are some of my favorite themes from past Easter baskets:

Gardening Basket

A favorite in the past and a theme we choose again from year to year. I use inexpensive clay pots for the “baskets” and fill them with child-size gardening gloves, seeds, small garden tools, and other garden-related items. Each child gets a different type of seeds that we will use in our garden and gets to help me start the seeds, plant in our raised beds, and water throughout the year.

Camping Basket

One year, to help stock our camping supplies, each child received camping items in their baskets. They got sleeping bags, flashlights, binoculars, whistles, and camping silverware (we carry the dishes).
candy free easter basket gift ideas

Sports Basket

Baskets with gear to play certain sports and even tickets to our local minor league teams to go to games as a family throughout the year are always a family favorite. One year we put in new attachments for our Ninja line in the backyard.

Movie Night Basket

Our kids really enjoy family movie nights, so their baskets could contain summer PJs and movie tickets or DVDs/Blu-Ray discs. Each kid gets a different movie and gets to “host” that movie night by making snacks and setting up for the movie. (Perennial favorites at our house are How to Train Your Dragon and Cinderella.)

Craft Basket

Every mom knows the challenge of keeping kids pleasantly and productively occupied (especially in the summer months, which are coming not long after Easter!). Craft-themed baskets are perfect for this. I might fill the baskets with craft supplies like construction paper, glue, scissorsbuttons, and modeling clay.

Scavenger Hunt Basket

With this idea, the basket is part of the experience. Some years when we want to just give one experience/gift to all of the kids that won’t fit in a basket, we create a scavenger hunt around the gift and leave the clues in their baskets. Hide one part of the first clue in each basket so the kids can work together to find the first clue and lead them on a scavenger hunt to the final destination or gift.

Easter Basket Filler Ideas

If you don’t want to follow a theme for an Easter basket, just fill it with a random assortment of items that encourage activity and experiences, such as:

Easter Eggs

Easter eggs are a tradition I can appreciate, with a beautiful significance at this time of year. Of course I have some suggestions when it comes to how to dye easter eggs naturally. Check out this post for more on that!

When using fake plastic Easter eggs to hide treasures, instead of candy fill the eggs with small items like coins or “points” that can be used “buy” bigger prizes from a box. Better yet, hide real eggs or create a scavenger hunt with clues that ends at a fun prize or destination!

And When There’s Time: Try Homemade!

Just say no to the neon jelly beans and marshmallow chickens! Skip the chocolate bunnies and Cadbury eggs completely and consider making healthier chocolatemarshmallows, or gelatin fruit snacks (maybe in an Easter-themed mold). You can also make these cute meringue nests.

And although it’s not as convenient, homemade candy comes with a bonus: quality time together preparing for Easter.

If there just isn’t time for homemade (sometimes there just isn’t!), Thrive Market has a great selection of candy made with more natural ingredients.

An Easter Basket to Treasure

It takes a little thinking outside of the box to come up with new Easter basket ideas, but I’m confident that in the end our kids don’t feel deprived or miss out the celebration of the season. In fact, it’s amazing how colorful, sweet, and festive a healthy Easter basket can be. I hope these ideas help you fill your Easter baskets with surprises, joy, and good health!

What special family traditions do you treasure at Easter? Do you have healthier Easter basket ideas to share? I’d love to hear!

Easter doesn't have to revolve around chocolate and food dyes. Try these healthier Candy-Free Easter Basket Ideas and give experiences not sugar!


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Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


42 responses to “Healthy Easter Basket Ideas the Whole Family Will Enjoy”

  1. Rachel Winker Avatar
    Rachel Winker

    I really like Righteously Raw chocolate – organic, really tasty, and very little sugar. Since I am unable to have much sugar right now (mold poisoning is to blame – would love to see a future podcast be an interview with Dr. Jill Carnahan), this year I got a pack of Paleovalley beef sticks in my basket. I’ve almost completely lost my sweet tooth, so I hardly ever eat candy, anyway. My parents always included other things besides candy in our baskets growing up, so it wasn’t a huge deal when I couldn’t have it anymore.

  2. Grace Avatar

    This post is amazing. I just love this healthier basket idea which regain my health!

  3. Milissa Avatar

    I love all the creative ideas you’ve included here! While we haven’t always been sticklers on the candy issue, I’ve always tried to include more items that aren’t candy, and our kids always seem to enjoy seeing what items they get each year. When we do include candy, I definitely keep it to just a couple of good quality things.

    One thing we really focus on–what Easter really is. We spend a lot of time discussing why we celebrate Easter. Contrary to what some may think, it’s not a commercial holiday. We reflect on the sacrifice our savior made for us and rejoice in the fact that He lives!

    1. Ashley Adamson Avatar
      Ashley Adamson

      I love how you share WHY you celebrate Easter with your kids.

  4. Kami Avatar

    Thanks for all of your fun tips! I have referred to your site for so many things. You have helped me with a lot of things over the years!

  5. Ann Avatar

    We have always made one Easter arrangement/basket with sprouted wheat berries in place of the plastic Easter grass. The berries (bought in bulk at the health store) take a few days to germinate and very soon you will have grass (one week). Dyed eggs and a branch to hang fabric eggs and one with a cross sewed on it. We cut the “grass” with a scissors once or twice to juice with then compost the whole bit.
    Thank you for another wonderful newsletter! I find the recipes a life saver (easy and good for you)! LOVE the tree house! There is one going up at our house too. Thank you for all the helpful resources!!
    All the best,

  6. Lynn Avatar

    WOW! You put a lot of wonderful ideas in this posting! I am inspired! Thank you so much! When we were kids my Dad did a scavenger hunt for each one of us (5 kids). The “bunny” left a poem with clues for each of us to follow to find our baskets. I loved the fresh new crayons, colored pencils, silly putty, jump ropes, chalk, craft materials and FUN packed into each basket.

    How about an herbal garden theme or herbs for teas for Mom too. We could always use some energizing teas for busy days and calming teas for quiet evenings.

    I wish you a joy filled Resurrection celebration.

  7. Jennifer Avatar

    The treats/”candy” my kids get do have sugar, but they are things they don’t usually get: Annie’s bunny grahams, Annie’s bunny fruit snacks, fruit leathers, etc. I will open those bags and put a few in each egg. I also put coins in some eggs. My kids are young enough that a nickel is a thrill! This year I decided to get outdoor-themed things as they are now at the age that they can play games together. Kites, water guns, a catch game, a jump rope, and a special shirt for each of them. I always do a pair of fun socks too. 🙂 Last year I focused on travel activities: little magnetic activities, etch-a-sketch, and the Melissa and Doug water painters. I always look at thrift stores/used for some items, and try to think of things that they need or could really be useful. I’m not interested in just piling up things.

  8. Molly Avatar

    Great ideas! I love all the themed basket ideas, and I never once thought of doing that!

    I have used coins in those plastic eggs, with 1 per child holding a dollar bill. One year they each got their favorite stuffed animal. I used to make everything, but I did organic treats this year; Organic chocolate bunny (Lake Champlain chocolates), organic fruit snacks (Annie’s), organic snacks such as snack bars and popcorn in individual serving bags (Buddha Bowl organic popcorn), and organic chocolate bars in some fun flavor that doesn’t use “natural” flavoring. It has to last until Christmas, so my kids don’t eat it all at once.

    You know, you can buy organic dark chocolate bars and melt them and pour them into small candy molds for fun holiday shaped chocolates. I’ve only done this once, but it’s fun and then you get the shapes you want. The antique molds are metal, the new ones are plastic or silicone, sadly, but I chill in the ‘fridge and turn them out quickly so as to avoid all the garbage in plastics as much as possible.

  9. Deborah Avatar

    Yup, when my first was old enough to do an Easter egg hunt, I put little cereal puffs in the eggs. Healthy and a little treat for finding an egg. Over time, we got more into the junk food and candy, but I always try to keep that to a minimum. The big finish is always an Easter basket full of art or craft supplies. One year we did money inside the eggs. Had to “code” them so they each got the same amount of money. lol Went to the bank and got each a $2 dollar bill, dollar coins (2 kinds), fifty cent pieces, then all the pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. Probably cost a lot less than the candy! Love hearing ideas from your other posters. Happy Easter everyone! 🙂

  10. Kathryn Avatar

    We do a forty day fast along with our Church too, which means no meat, dairy, eggs, fish or olive oil. Our Easter Basket has almost all of those foods – this year we have rotisserie chicken, dyed eggs, panetone bread, dried fruit cookies, croissants, gouda and camembert cheese, olives – no candy. When you’ve fasted from these foods for forty days, you are looking forward to these foods and not anything overly sweet. Preparing for and making up the basket is a family affair and greatly anticipated. Happy Easter everyone!

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