Easter Ideas without Junk Food!

I never noticed until we made our switch to real food that every single holiday seems to revolve around food! And not just any kind of food…“junk food” of course. I think building family traditions around certain meals is priceless, but I often wish holidays weren’t so focused on foods that include white flour, sugar, and worst of all – store-bought candy. Halloween and Christmas certainly “take the cake” when it comes to our consumption of junk food, but in my opinion Easter isn’t that far behind. If our family managed to have a candy-less (and still fun!) Halloween this past year then we can certainly do the same for Easter. And by the way, its not that my kids don’t get any candy for these holidays…its just that they get so much of it from school/friends/parties that I don’t need to also supply it at home!

I’ve compiled a fabulous list of candy alternatives (thanks to my wonderful facebook community – I love chatting with you guys!) for your child’s Easter basket this year. But before we dive right in I must share a super cute alternative to those big chocolate bunnies. Last year we got our daughters big honey whole-wheat bread bunnies (pictured) from Great Harvest, and they absolutely loved them! Right when I thought I couldn’t like Great Harvest any more they come up with this idea. And I know not everyone lives near one of their stores, but if you like to bake use this as inspiration to make something similar.

Without further ado, here’s the list of ideas. The items that are starred will most likely fit inside a plastic egg!

Arts and Crafts

  • Coloring books, notebooks
  • Crayons, markers, colored pencils
  • Ceramic eggs to paint together
  • Craft kits found at Michaels and Target (near the marker/crayon aisle)
  • Stamps

Supplies for Summer

  • Bubbles
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Bug catcher
  • Sunglasses
  • Flip flops
  • Crocs
  • Bathing suit
  • Beach towel
  • Goggles
  • Snorkel
  • Beach ball
  • Fish net

Gardening (it’s the perfect time of year to plant some seeds!)

  • Shovel and other gardening tools
  • Gloves
  • Seed packets*
  • Pots for planting
  • Watering can
  • Rain boots


  • Puzzle pieces* (send them on a scavenger hunt to find all the pieces of a puzzle hidden inside plastic eggs…I absolutely LOVE this idea from a reader!!)
  • Books
  • Card or board games
  • Flash cards
  • Activity books


  • Stuffed animals, pillow pets
  • Stickers*
  • New fun cups, plates, silverware for kids
  • Thomas the train, matchbox cars, other little toys
  • DVDs
  • Coins*, piggy bank
  • Glow in the dark bugs*
  • Dresses for dolls
  • Tag reader
  • Legos*
  • Silly bands*
  • Zoobles
  • Small ipod shuffle*
  • Event tickets*
  • Play doh
  • Gift cards for music or other stores
  • Rocket balloons (available at Target)

Real Food

  • Exotic and unusual fruits like star fruit
  • Bread bunny (pictured above)
  • Mini Lara Bars* (sold in a box at Target near the pharmacy)
  • Popcorn*

Homemade Gifts

  • “Coupons” for special time with mom/dad*
  • Sock bunnies
  • Photo albums/books


  • Socks with a fun pattern
  • Special piece of jewelry*
  • Hair bows, clips*, hair rubber bands*

Another suggestion is to scope out the dollar bins at Target, Michaels, and the Dollar store. Also, consider creating a theme for the basket to make purchases easier and budget-friendly. If you have any additional ideas that didn’t make the list please feel free to leave them in a comment below!

*items that will most likely fit inside a plastic egg

Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but 100 Days of Real Food will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us spread our message!

110 thoughts on “Easter Ideas without Junk Food!”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

  1. I did a similar thing with the garden theme. I got plastic pots at the Dollar Tree store and fill them with tons of great kids garden things (shovel, pinwheel, garden “decor”, seeds, etc.). I also included items for the “fairy gardens” that we are planning to make…soooo cute! Decorative rocks, fake butterflies, fake moss, popsicle sticks to make a fence and a little house. My girls have also been gathering all sorts of things outside to include in their fairy gardens. I don’t think they are going to miss the candy at all!

  2. Doesnt anyone make hard boiled eggs anymore? There are fun vegetable dyes you can make and not have any artificial coloring too. Even drawing on eggs with markers is fun and less messy. I also don’t like the idea of replacing junk food with junk products. Easter does not have to be about getting presents. If your family is Christian, focus on Jesus. You could even try eating some of the foods people ate back then. If your family is not Christian, you could celebrate spring with so many fun things like planting flowers or veggies, and celebrating the beauty of the springtime Earth. Visit a farm and see baby animals, spend some time outside looking for bugs and new leaves. Spend time with people you love. You don’t need junk food or junk presents to celebrate Easter.

  3. Regarding comments on “real”milk and animal protein…research is starting to show that animal protein of any kind is not entirely good for us (see Forks Over Knives and the book The China Study when you have time). Very interesting findings…I have since given up meat and steering clear of milk and cheese as much as I can. I am enjoying your blog.

  4. I was at Lowes register this week and found CobraCo easy grow egg plants. They are soil and seed filled easter eggs you water and grow. I guess they are also at Walgreens. The easter egg that keeps on giving. Perfect!

  5. The kids’ Easter Bunny Baskets are loaded and ready to go :). I have a toddler boy and girl and between the two baskets are: books, chunky puzzles, stamps, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, a bathing suit, cars and chunky outside construction trucks, bath tub toys, stuffed bunny in a carrot car. The baskets are overflowing and food and candy treats will not be missed because they will never be introduced to the kids’ Easter Baskets :). I fear at least some of the grandparents will give them candy, so none from the Easter Bunny!

  6. These are great suggestions. I have a hard time with these holidays that are centered around junk food. Even if I don’t give my kids candy and other artificially flavored and colored sweets, they get it from school, and birthday parties. I don’t know what to do with all the junk! My son who is 9 knows it’s bad for him, but he loves it so much. He gets so disappointed if I want to throw it out or if it’s not in his Easter basket :( How do you handle this with your kids?

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      You can offer him money/coins in exchange for the junk food given to him at school…or even an extra 15 min staying up past bedtime or something like that. My kids know these are options, but they don’t always take me up on it (it’s their choice).

    2. My son has some after dinner for a couple of days and then usually forgets about it. I throw a couple of pieces out at a time and it’s usually not even noticed.

  7. I buy organic jelly beans and gummy beans from “Richard’s Food Emporium”. A health food store here in Central FL. I did buy chocolate bunnies, but I made sure they did not have HFCS in them. The rest of the chocolate is from the health food store and is w/out HFCS and preservatives, has nuts/fruit in it or is carob based. They will receive outside toys, 3D puzzle and other craft things as well. I don’t know where to find the bread bunny, I would love to have that for all of us instead. Your list is wonderful and I will look to it for any holiday!

  8. I love chocolate and will absolutely be getting my daughter a bunny, it’ll be the only candy in her basket AND its local…Ish. if you’re in Charlotte hit up “the secret chocolatier”. I usually ge one of their brownie pops at the farmer’s market and end up making it breakfast but they are doing bunnies for the holiday. And life is not worth living without chocolate. Everything in moderation, right?

  9. I so needed more ideas for those plastic eggs. Lego’s…how didn’t I think of those little things could fit in ? and now you can actually find Lego “people” in little bags at Target :).

  10. Candis Daugherty

    I was in Hobby Lobby this week and they had the plastic lap desks with big pockets for $6. So I got to thinking that would make a great Easter “basket” and then I can fill the pockets with arts/craft supplies. We homeschool, so I was thinking the desks could also double as lap desks for their laptops. We spend a lot of time a sporting events (travel basketball and baseball) so I figured this would also be great for my daughter to stay entertained and have a writing/drawing surface while she’s being drug around to every ballpark in the area! Happy Easter everyone!

  11. I found some healthy candy to put in my daughters Easter basket Including honey peppermint pattys found at my local health food store I also found them in bulk online 3 ingredients honey unsweetened cocoa and peppermint and so tasty. Also pecan pearls go on my semi safe list by queen bee and Emmys macaroons are so good similar to Lara bars but they use agave which I dislike but once in awhile it’s ok. I’m still on the hunt for more things. I’ve debated on pure maple candy as well. If anyone has found any other good candy let me know

    1. Some health food stores have organic gummy bears or jelly beans. Carob is a really good alternative to most chocolates. I did all three of these at our health food store. The peppermint patties sound wonderful!

    2. Good Earth makes suckers and hard candies that only have a few ingredients and they’re organic. I don’t have a package right here for specifics but you might check them out.

  12. My son will turn 2 the day before Easter so he will already be getting some gifts that weekend. I am trying to keep easter simple so I have ordered some goodies for his basket from eco-friendly sellers on Etsy including a hand-knit bunny, soy crayons and play dough. He loves peaches and apples right now so I will probably throw some of those in as well.

  13. I skimmed, so may have missed it; has anyone brought up umbrellas? My parents did this one year when we were little…it was a funny “basket hunt” when we realized we needed to look UP! They hung from the ceiling & they WERE our Easter baskets that year. :) I’m very excited to be doing this this year, as our boys have outgrown there slightly precious animal umbrellas… we do let them have a small, hollow chocolate bunny, and a handful of candy, but it’s pretty limited as we will be getting treats at extended-family celebrations as well. :)

  14. I skimmed through that replies and didn’t see a few things mentioned. my son is only 14 months old so these things are for babies

    playsilks (I dyed some with koolaid for xmas – just google it)
    wooden blocks
    playfood items – soft and wooden
    yarn balls (pom poms)

  15. I was at Great Harvest this morning. Check the ingredient list on those bunnies…the one by us at least uses HFCS. Just in case you hadn’t noticed.

    I still let the kids indulge in sweet processed treats for holidays, but the bread bunnies are adorable!

    1. Yes, I had the same experience at our Great Harvest. Apparently, you can special order the bunnies in Honey Whole Wheat without the High Fructose Corn Syrup but the “wheat” version that they had available for purchase clearly had HFCS on the ingredients list. =(

    2. I agree with checking ingredients. We have tree nut allergies in our house, so can’t buy bread at GH due to possible cross contamination :-(

  16. These are great ideas and your website is great!! We are ‘real food’ folks and don’t really give standard ‘treats’ for any occasion. This year we’re giving one new, summer outfit, homemade fruit snacks and fruit leathers, and seeds to plant in our garden :) I love all of the support for this lifestyle…many thanks to you all for providing such a healthy lifestyle for your families!

  17. Thank you very much for putting the list up! For our Christmas stockings this year, I really scaled back the candy treats much like for the Easter basket. I only put in what I would allow them to eat in one day. That way I could say “eat it all now if you want” and not feel like I had to be the candy police that day and days after. I also like the idea for the stockings of putting breakfast items in there like boxes of cereal, granola bars, fruit, etc to make the morning easier on mom. Maybe that would work for Easter too! :)

    The Easter basket is a great opportunity to restock all the park/outside goodies for the year. Love all the ideas!

  18. This will be my families first Candy-Free Easter! I am so excited to have found your site…I am absolutely devouring it and have passed it on to many friends. Thank you for making it look so easy and do-able. This is definitely my go-to site for natural living.

  19. I am new to your site and totally in love! This post brought back so many memories. My brother and I weren’t allowed much candy/sugar as kids so the Easter Bunny brought us many of the things above. I thought I’d share some of the things we received. Our “baskets” we’re usually not baskets at all. Along with sand pails and flower pots we got large toy trucks (I was a tomboy and loved my tonkas, lol), child sized rocking chairs, and small wagons. They were filled with fresh and dried fruit, nuts, small toys and games, a new clothing item, and a book. One year we got our first “real” Bibles. It’s the one I still use today.

  20. We have never given our kids candy at Easter (although they usually end up coming home with some from school / preschool). And luckily my parents (who we spend most Easters with) have the same philosophy on junk food as we do, so the kids have never had Easter candy at home. Their baskets are filled with craft items, books, summer toys, pajamas, etc. (a lot like your list above). And this year we’re using sand buckets for the baskets (as I see one of your readers above has also mentioned). I love your idea of gardening items. I think I’ll go with that theme next year (if I can remember!).

    Although a lot of the Easter books we read seem to have chocolate bunnies and candy as the central theme, my kids so far (they’re 5 and 7) have not questioned why their Easters do not involve these things. Mind you, we’re raising them very health-conscious, always being aware of how the foods we eat affect our health. They know that the occasional treats they get are not healthy and are only to be indulged in once-in-a-while.

    I love your website and your “Real Food” philosophy. I think the only point where we differ is in that we eat a strictly plant-based diet (no meat, eggs or dairy).

    1. jessica-
      I’d love to hear about your experience raising vegan kids! i have a 15 month old son and he has never had cow’s milk- only almond milk- because i am vegan and my husband is lactose intolerant. i recently read something about certain additives in almond milk causing cancer. do you make your own? any suggestions?
      thanks so much!

  21. Hooray! I love this list, and it was just what I was looking for! I am forwarding this on to the mamas and papas who are now scrambling to avoid the sugar bomb easter basket! Thanks : )

  22. We give some candy but have also found the following items (in addition to some of those mentioned above) loved and wanted more them the other items – although I try to always get things for outside (as summer is eventually coming) some inside toys are also appreciated by all! I do try to keep the prizes inexpensive – we don’t need another Christmas!!

    hot wheels cars (they can fit in the large eggs)
    bubble bath (Pier One has them in holiday shapes usually)
    Bath Fizz (sometimes I can even find them in the shape of an egg)
    Bath Crayons
    Small figures (little people, polly pockets, galatic heros)
    Army guys
    Jump Rope (one year we gave a chinese jump rope – very fun and small enough to fit in a larger size egg)
    Japanese Erasers
    Silly Putty
    Sand Toys (One year their basket was a bucket!)
    Bath and Body works has small hand sanitizer in fun smells usually for $1

    Happy Easter!

  23. I agree with all; thanks goodness we don’t have to give our children Easter baskets…My daughter may have gotten 2 when she was around 4 or 5 (she’s now almost 14)…and my son has different abilities and doesn’t even understand Easter…I know, I’m weird…they may get 1 candy but normally we give them a small gift at the breakfast table like a book, CD, DVD or a craft project. Beats seeing Peeps and that other garbage still hanging around the house right?

  24. I have 4 kids who are getting too big for the Bunny but it is a tradition. They usually get a small amount of candy and then a video game or DVD to share. This year I think it will be a dance game for the XBOX Kinnect. They are all in sports and stay active so a treat now and then is not a big deal. I love your blog and have incorporated many ideas into our eating habits. My kids are older (almost 18, 15, almost 14 and almost 10) but they are open to trying new things and they try to make good decisions. I always eliminated the obvious stuff like pop, but never thought about things like Goldfish crackers. Thanks for opening my eyes to that. Also, you newest challenge on staying away from low-fat, fat-free dairy is blowing my mind. My husband will faint if I bring whole milk back in the house…it took me years and babysteps to get him down to skim! What is your opinion on soy, rice and almond milk?

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      Thanks for your comment! My thoughts on soy/rice/almond milk depend on the reason that you would be drinking it. A lactose (or other) intolerance is one thing…but no matter what I can’t help but think those milks are just imitating the “real” thing.

  25. Thanks for putting this list together–it’s also handy for parents of kids with food allergies (like me) who can’t fill their baskets with candy. My son has outgrown some of his allergies so there are some candies he can eat now, but I’ve become so used to filling baskets with toys and books that I’d rather do it that way than candy anyway!

  26. Thanks for the ideas! Last year we put flip flops and beach towels in the kids baskets and coins in the eggs along with some candy. This year they’re getting summer pajamas in their baskets. When I was a kid, once the Easter bunny was no longer ‘real’, my mom put summer short sets in our basket. Which may work better for girls than boys.

  27. we get the kids 1 chocolate bunny a year, nothing else. My mom use to buy out the entire Easter candy section for the kids. Even though she is now passed, we still only get the 1 bunny. I also do arts and crafts stuff, small toys, usually stuff for outdoors now the the weather is getting nicer.
    This year though we are giving our 12 yr old an experience, since she is really outgrown most “toys”. We are buying tickets to take her to see the Broadway tour show of Wicked a couple of weeks after Easter.

  28. We finally have a Great Harvest (never had heard of it before finding this site) that is opening on April 15th right down the street! I am so excited, i think i’ll be the first person in line LOL!!! It would be so cool if they do those bunnies as well. we shall see.

  29. I really love these ideas! Did you have to pre-order the bread bunnies from Great Harvest? I’m so excited about those.

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      Yes, I usually pre-order our bunnies…they do have some on hand, but you won’t be guaranteed to get one.

  30. We limit the candy and do some small toys instead. The kids look forward to the gifts more than the candy. However, we do have chocolate Easter bunnies. We get the good quality ones and enjoy every bite!

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      Enjoying every bite is exactly what doesn’t happen when people eat chocolate and other junk food all of the time!

  31. Thanks for all the great suggestions. My son was recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, so we NEVER eat candy anymore…just too many carbs. We’re excited to make this a treat-free Easter and these lists will really help get some of my creative juices flowing!

  32. I love chocolate so it’s not something that I’ll skip when we have kids, but I think I’ll look into better quality chocolates.
    I loved it when we were grown up enough (8 or 9) and my parents would take us to a chocolaterie (think a bakery but only making chocolates) and we would have a set amount to spend. We often got “mandiants”: a little dark chocolate circle with nuts on it.

    We didn’t really have easter baskets with goodies in it as I grew up, we would just go hunting for the eggs. But when I spent a year in the US I loved getting a basket with two books that were part of a series. I have no memory of the sweets but I do remember the books.

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      I absolutely love chocolate too, but just moving away from having some every single day like I used to :)

  33. Thanks for the list. We try to limit the candy our kids get because I know their grandparents will give them way too much junk food. We have done craft and colour books, new bathing suits, stickers, small toys/games, and bubble supplies instead of candy. You’ve got more great ideas for this year.

  34. Love, love, love this list!!! Thank you for compiling the ideas that were posted on FB. (I see a few of mine. ☺)

    1. i love this list as well! thanks so much for all of the great ideas! i’m going to cut and paste it and keep it forever.