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4/15/2022
Seasonal

How to Make Easter Baskets and Egg Hunts Healthy and Fun

Written by
Brooke McKelvey
Team Nutrisense
Reviewed by
Katie Kissane
MS, RD
a bowl of eggs

It’s time for chocolate bunnies, jellybeans, Easter eggs, and Peeps! That’s right, Easter Sunday is just a few days away, which means Easter bunnies, Easter egg hunts, Easter baskets filled with sugary treats, and... an increased likelihood of blood sugar spikes thanks to all those tempting goodies.

We've got you covered if you're looking to make your Easter celebrations a little healthier this year. We've got some great tips and tricks you need for a delicious (but still healthy) Easter, from healthy egg hunts to nutritious Easter baskets. Read on to learn more.

What Is Easter?

The history of Easter is pretty interesting. The holiday has its roots in pagan celebrations of spring and fertility, but the story of Jesus' resurrection also influenced it. The earliest Easter celebrations were probably in the early days of the Christian church, but it wasn't until the 4th century that the holiday became official.

Many pagan traditions had been incorporated into the holiday, celebrated with feasts, games, and other festivities by this time. Today, Easter is still a major religious holiday for Christians worldwide and is also enjoyed as a time for family gatherings and fun for the kids. So whether you’re religious or not, it’s likely Easter is a time of some celebration—especially if you have children.

The holiday falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon of spring, making it a movable feast. This year, it’s on April 17. According to the New Testament, Jesus was crucified on Good Friday and rose from the dead on Easter Sunday. Because of this, Easter is often referred to as the "feast of feasts."

Many traditional Easter foods, such as ham and lamb, are associated with the holiday. Easter candy, including Easter eggs, chocolate bunnies, and more, are other popular symbols of the holiday, often hidden for children to find.

How To Make Easter Healthy

blue easter eggs

For kids, Easter often means one thing: Easter candy. From chocolate bunnies and Easter eggs to jelly beans and marshmallow Peeps, people worldwide, especially in the US, are likely indulging in a lot of candy this season.

In fact, the average American buys more than half a pound of candy during Easter. That's a lot of sugar! And while there's nothing wrong with indulging in the occasional sweet treat, too much candy can lead to health problems like tooth decay, weight gain, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. But we’ve got a few ways to help you prevent that while still enjoying the holiday.

Organize a Healthy Easter Egg Hunt

an easter egg bunny sign

One of the most popular traditions associated with Easter is the Easter egg hunt. Eggs are hidden all over a designated area, and children are given a certain amount of time to find as many as possible.

The key to a successful Easter egg hunt is good planning:

  1. First, decide where the hunt will take place. A large backyard is ideal, but any open space will do.
  2. Next, determine how many eggs you will need. A good rule of thumb is to have one egg per child plus a few extras.
  3. Once you have the eggs, it's time to hide them. Try to vary the hiding places and make sure that they are not too difficult to find.
  4. Finally, set a start time, and be sure to have a few prize eggs hidden away for the winner.

Helpful Ideas For Your Easter Egg Hunt

two kids hunting for eggs

If you’re using traditional hard-boiled eggs, you can ensure your Easter eggs are safe to eat after the hunt by following these simple tips:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before handling the eggs.
  • Use clean utensils and surfaces for egg preparation.
  • Hard-boil the eggs before decorating them.
  • Refrigerate the eggs as soon as possible after you dye them.
  • Check the eggs after the hunt and make sure none are cracked.
  • Don't let decorated eggs sit out at room temperature for more than two hours.
chocolate eggs

If you usually use candy Easter eggs, here are some ways to make them ever-so-slightly healthier:

  • A grand prize to substitute for the candy in eggs is a mini collectible toy. Several popular brands of collectibles would fit nicely into an Easter Egg.
  • Write prizes on paper coupons for “rewards” that can be redeemed later, like reading an extra book before bed, going to the park, or playing their favorite board game.
  • Buy a small puzzle and put each piece inside of a different egg. It will turn the hunt into two parts as the pieces are found and added to the picture.
  • If your children are very young, you can use cheerios, Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies, fruit leather, dried fruit, or pretzels to give them something to munch on as they find the eggs.
  • Substitute in quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies instead of candies in your plastic eggs. 

Put Together Healthier Easter Baskets

baked treats on a plate

Easter baskets have been a part of the holiday for centuries. The tradition is thought to have originated in Germany, where baskets were filled with food and delivered to low-income families on Easter Sunday.

In the United States, the Easter bunny became associated with the holiday in the 18th century. Baskets began to be filled with candy and toys to be found on Easter morning.

Today, Easter baskets are often filled (by the Easter Bunny, of course) with goodies like chocolate bunnies, marshmallow chicks, and other candy and chocolate treats. They may also include toys, flowers, and other gifts. While the contents of Easter baskets vary from family to family, they typically reflect each household's customs and preferences.

Some Healthy Easter Basket Ideas

a basket of easter gifts

Whether you’re putting an Easter basket together for your children, friends, or family members, you can tweak a few things to make them healthier. Here’s what we suggest adding to your Easter baskets this year:

Board Games

Board games are a great Easter Basket addition for any age. It will give you something to do together as a family after the festivities are over. 

Candy

chocolate covered oranges

Yes, candy! Just because candy isn’t optimal for health, that doesn’t mean that you should exclude it altogether. Add a dark chocolate rabbit or eggs into the basket.

Dark chocolate is lower in sugar than milk chocolate and contains minerals, fiber, and flavonoids. It also contains polyphenols that have been linked to elevated moods.

You can also add naturally flavored jelly beans to your Easter baskets, pick homemade marzipan eggs, or add whole fruit gummies. 

Get Artsy

If your child or loved one enjoys art or crafting, add some art supplies or an art kit, depending on your recipient's age. Great ideas to include are sidewalk chalk, DIY kits, stickers, crayons, coloring books, and cookie cutters.

A Fun Water Bottle

Encourage your loved one to drink plenty of water with a cute, decorated stainless steel water bottle. This is an especially great gift if you have an athlete in your family. 

Spa Gifts

Fill your loved one’s Easter Basket with spa gifts like face masks, eye masks, spa socks, or a diffuser. If you have children, consider fun fruit-flavored soaps or hand sanitizers.

A Stuffed Bunny

a white easter bunny

Give your little ones a cute Easter-themed stuffed animal, pillow pet, or plushie to snuggle with this Easter. 

Books

Roald Dahl's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" is a great book to fit your Easter theme, but there are thousands of books to choose from to use as Easter basket fillers.

Healthy Snacks

Easter baskets are usually all about the food, so don’t forget about that aspect. You can add a hot cross bun and Easter bunny, but consider other healthy treats instead of filling it up with sweet treats. Include trail mix, granola bars, or fruit snacks in your basket.

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