Building a Better (non-GMO) Easter Basket
Easter is just a hop, skip, and a jump away and with it comes the much-anticipated herald for the onset of spring. It brings to mind garden flowers, mild weather and of course, an overnight visit from the Easter bunny. For many, it’s yet another event in the sequence of candy-coated celebrations, but the tradition in my family is to always think outside the box when it comes to what goes into the basket. Unlike Halloween, where trick-or-treaters have no choice in what is offered up outside the home, Easter affords parents complete control over what goes into their kids’ baskets. I’ve gathered some of my favorite ideas and tips to help you build a non-GMO basket this Easter.
The key to avoiding GMO ingredients in your Easter candy is to be diligent about reading labels and identifying the unhealthy components. Be on the lookout for fructose, dextrose, glucose, maltose, cornstarch, and high fructose corn syrup. These ingredients are derived from high-risk and monitored GMO crops, yet all are approved for production and grown commercially.
That said, we still have lots of healthy, Non-GMO Project Verified alternatives to the standard Easter fare. It IS possible to build a better basket for your kids.
Select the container. Most anything will do, so long as it’s clean and big enough to hold all the goodies. This is a terrific opportunity to reduce, reuse, recycle: think about fun options like a beach sand pail, a large papier-mâché egg, a decorated hat box, or have the kids decorate their own reusable tote bag with fabric markers.
Line with filler. Tim’s Real Easter Basket Grass is an organic alternative to the imitation cellophane plastic grass we see everywhere. It is sustainably grown and, best of all, can be composted after the holiday is over. Shredded kraft paper or paper bags, crumpled tissue paper, reusable scraps of yarn or bundled fabric are other recyclable options.
Color your eggs. Choosing Non-GMO Project Verified eggs guarantees that your Easter treats get off to a nutritious and delicious start. Hens that are raised on a diet of Verified animal feed deliver high nutritional value and are the safest choice for a healthy lifestyle. Search our list of Verified products to locate more than 50 providers of non-GMO eggs.
Raid your pantry and refrigerator for natural ingredients to create colorful and eco-friendly Easter eggs to dye for. Blueberries, raspberries, coffee, and paprika all lend their native characteristics to create beautifully subdued shades, and you’ll avoid the GMOs and synthetic chemicals contained in many conventional food colorings. Learn more about using nature’s colors and some easy to follow instructions.
Fill ‘er up! An empty Easter basket isn’t just another eggs-cuse for candy. Small toys, picture books, stuffed animals, or other creative surprises can take center stage and be the focal point instead of the usual excess of cavity-causing sweets. You can put together a modest display of non-GMO holiday-themed treats, surround them with fun items and tuck in a new toothbrush for good measure!
Skip the standard marshmallow chicks and gooey crème eggs, rife with artificial coloring, in favor of these Non-GMO Project Verified treats:
- Sugar Bowl Bakery’s Organic Mini Palmiers are flaky and buttery little cookies that look just like bunny ears.
- What’s an Easter basket without jellybeans? Surf Sweets Organic Jelly Beans are made with organic fruit juice and no artificial colors, flavors or corn syrup.
- Tru-Joy organic bunny-shaped lollipops are available in three natural flavors: Lemon, Strawberry, and Watermelon.
- NuGo gluten-free, vegan protein bars are available in a holiday-appropriate Carrot Cake variety.
- Annie’s Homegrown Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks are gummy bunnies in a basket-full of flavors, including Pink Lemonade, Berry Patch, and Summer Strawberry.
- These tasty allergy-friendly chocolate alternatives are dairy-, nut-, soy- and gluten-free. Try boomCHOCOboom bars in Dark Chocolate, Ricemilk Crunch, and Ricemilk chocolate.
- And because you can never have too much fun, Whoopie Pies are the classic American treat.
- Each individually wrapped square of Bug Bites Natural Dark Chocolate contains a fun and educational insect trading card.
- Include Theo’s Kids’ Crunch bars in raspberry and almond flavors and they will never miss a fake bunny.
Shop wisely, build thoughtfully, and have an eggs-cellent Easter!