Eggs in a Basket: Healthy Easter Baskets

I spoke with the Easter Bunny at the mall today, he’s been hopping around spreading spring joy in our pavilion for a few weeks. He is looking forward to delivering baskets to children (and adults who still believe) this Easter Sunday.  I asked how the Easter Bunny creates and constructs thousands of joyful baskets.  The bunny said the hop on the square is that Eco-Friendly is the best way to celebrate Easter this year – go ORGANIC, go Green – so the Easter Bunny and his friends can continue to have a save hopping environment to bring spring joy for years to come.

I compiled a list of tips to keep your Easter baskets sweet without being filled with artificial flavors, additives and GMOS.  I have a lot of allergies from a sulfite (histamine intolerance), gluten (my mom nearly died from Celiac – so sadly I’m not a trendsetter with the fad) and soy.  As I’ve studied more about the junk in our delicious sweets, even my sweet tooth has been turned off.  We don’t have to sacrifice health for taste.  There are countless eco-friendly, organic Easter treat options for a perfect basket.

Find a basket:

A basket is an item you can reuse over and over again for practical and decorative purposes.  Some prefer plastic tubs – but I am more traditional – my family has roots in the low country of the Carolinas where baskets are big.  We use baskets for almost everything – one of my favorite southern baskets is the Sweetgrass baskets made in the Gullah tradition in Charleston SC and beyond.  (Click the picture for more info)  These baskets have centuries old tradition – they last forever and are sustainable – plus they look nice!  You can order them online now.

Another great spot for baskets is 10,000 Villages – this store is a humanitarian non-profit that has sustainable products made by fair-trade workers throughout the globe – each piece is hand made and has character and speaks with the heartbeat of the person who made it – their joy – is the work of their hands – and the basket is a symbolize of our connection and peace in diversity.  I love all of 10,000 Villages items – check them out online.

You can also purchase baskets at antique stores and Goodwill – you’ll be AMAZED by the awesome baskets you’ll find in thrift shops.

If you are really ambitious you can make a basket with kits from Michael’s.

FYI you don’t have to buy a new basket every year – in fact you can make your Easter basket a tradition – part of the Easter culture at your home – passing down a new tradition – a basket each year renewed with love and hope.

What to PUT IN YOUR BASKET:

An Easter basket is your gift of love to brighten someone’s day. You don’t have to spend a lot to make an Easter basket special – I think your priority should be the thought behind what you put into the basket – reflecting the recipient’s personality, needs, and the time of the season.

~You can buy recyclable paper at most arts and crafts stores – and also at Whole Foods (or Amazon) or you can shred newspaper and crinkle it for a cool effect.  I like this recyclable paper from Eco Eggs – it is called ‘Eco Grass’

Easter Bunny:

When I was a young girl they had a HUGE bunny you could win at Winn Dixie – I want it so bad I had my dad take me every day to the store to win this bunny – when he came on Easter morning – I was so grateful – granted I was five – but that was my faithful friend for many Sundays after that 🙂

While there are many options for bunnies and other plush toys I think it is important (especially with toddlers -age 10) to invest in a plush they will LOVE longer than Easter morning – I also think it is great to purchase a bunny, chick or lamb that is made in the USA and/or organic. Apple Park has a lot of great options…Apple Park - Little Lamby Picnic Pal made from Organic Cotton and Natural Silkorganic patterned bunnies

Stuffington Bear makes all of their plush in the US! This year they are promoting Hoppity Bunny – a simple timeless plush perfect for any basket.  http://www.stuffingtonbear.com/organic-stuffed-bunny-hoppity.asp Organic Stuffed Bunny Hoppity

For kids who want toys other than plush – I recommend Green Toys

I WANT CANDY:

Easter is one of the biggest selling holidays for the candy industry – everyone loves finding sweets in their basket, from chocolate bunnies to peanut butter eggs.  Being allergic to additives and artificial colors I nearly gave up on enjoying the sweets I crave around Easter.  Thanks to organic candy companies – going chemical free on Easter has never been easier.

Whole Foods and The Co-Op are great spots to go on a hunt for great Easter treats.  There are countless brands offering all natural (make sure it is organic and does not have additives – corn syrup is all natural but often has GMOS).  You want to have candy that tastes yummy but is not filled with junk – children are sensitive to chemicals and that is why I think Organic Candy is the best way to yum in your basket.

Some of my favorite brands:

Surf Sweets: I’ll admit it – I’m a health nut (yes I’m + size, but I am all about healthy food) – still when it comes to treats I LOVE gummy bears and sour patch kids.  It is tantalizing on the taste-buds.  With my allergies I had to give up my gummy love until I found Surf Sweets – they have a wide array of candy ideal for the basket – from gummies to jelly beans – their selections are organic, gluten free and delightfully delicious!

Annie’s Organics – Annie’s symbol is a bunny rabbit so it is fitting that they are a great option for the spring festivities – their gummies are yummy, but I think their cookies packaged in recyclable egg are a great treat.

*These biodegradable eggs are perfect for the basket and Easter egg hunt – Eco Eggs

Champlain Chocolates: Vermont’s best chocolate is the GO-TO for Easter chocolate – from chocolate bunnies to peanut-butter cups they have you covered!

YummyEARTH – MMM GOOD – they have sweet pops, gummies and other organic candy that is affordable and delish’ – available at Walgreens, Whole Foods and Earth Fare

There are so many other great ORGaNIC candies I love – including Gin Gins, Theo Chocolate, Elyon Marshmellows…you can follow your sweet hunch to what fits your mood.  Whole Foods, Amazon, The Fresh Market, Trader Joes and The Natural Candy Store offer wide selections

It is NOT all about candy:

Other great food ideas:

– trail mix

– KIND bars

– cupcakes

– Kale chips…anything unique and tasty to celebrate the season!

*Quick Tip: If you love Pez dispensers (I love Pez) then you can put cool Pez dispensers in the basket without the candy. Kids can enjoy PEZ cool without the artificial coloring and ingredients.

Other GOOD basket stuffers:

– Bible – depending on their age – you can find a nice study bible that speaks best (translation) to the person you are gifting it too.  Devotions and prayer books are great gifts as well.  A Easter bookmark with a prayer, rosary, candles are other nice gifts to incorporate the MESSAGE of Christ’s LOVE in the Easter basket.

– CDs, Books, DVDs…This is particularly great for teens – you can also incorporate one of the many classic Easter books for children – perhaps with a religious and one with a more secular theme (Beatrix Potter or The Velveteen Rabbit); If you want to spend + an Amazon Kindle (I love mine – use it for reading, audiobooks and email) and IPod Shuffle

– A journal – provide a gratitude journal for older (7+ kids-adults) to write down a daily statement of gratitude – Easter is all about joy and journals are creative energizers

– Brain Games – crosswords, logic puzzles…a science book from your local science museum that is innovative while keeping kids interested in learning.

– A framed photo – pick a picture of a special moment and frame the photo as a Easter gift – you can go digital with it – the digital frames are great for bedrooms and dorm rooms

– Practical pieces – Every kid needs some practical items in the basket

– Socks: I love the Happy Socks we sell at our store – the colors are ideal for an Easter basket

*Toothbrush – the Preserve toothbrush is one of my favorites – the arch makes it easy to reach blind spots.  The coolest thing is this toothbrush is made out of 100% yogurt cups – when you are done with the toothbrush you can send it back to Preserve – where they recycle it again – LOVE it!

You can add in NEEM toothpaste – while I use some fluoride, NEEM is great for your teeth – in fact Neem is good for just about anything (cleaning, facial cleanser, soap)

With sun-filled days in sight add some protective lip balm and sun screen.  I like Burt’s Bees for the balm…Badger for the sun protection.

I have a lot of other creative ideas for Easter baskets but hopefully this inspires you to go GREEN for Easter and fill the basket with organic color and eco-friendly goods (plus a few non-recyclable but long-lasting gifts).  The possibilities for Easter baskets are endless – so get to brainstorming and HAVE FUN!

Here are some pictures from my day shopping at The Fresh Market in Cameron Village for Easter basket goodies:

I love Peeps – but I am allergic to them.  Whole Foods sells marshmallows Elyon that I purchase for my chewy fix…you can make homemade Peeps out of the organic marshmallows

The Fresh Market has a lot of organic candy in addition to traditionally made confections.  I love their Easter displays.

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