If you have a child or loved one with food allergies, you probably already know how hard it can be to find allergy friendly or food free holiday items. I talked about Halloween with food allergies in my post here, and there are several other holidays (Valentine’s Day, Easter, etc.) that are similar. It’s just hard to find treats, especially candies, that are allergy friendly but still look like fun kids items. Not to worry though, we’ve collected a roundup of some great candy alternatives and some non-food treats for an allergy friendly Easter.
Our Easter Experiences….
For the first few years when my kids were little, we didn’t do Easter baskets in our house at all. There were really no safe foods other than formula, and to be honest, wrapping up some cans of formula as a “present” from the Easter Bunny felt a bit cruel and sad. We opted to skip it because our kids were too little to really understand what they were even missing.
It started to get harder as our kids got older. They wanted to participate in Easter egg hunts, but didn’t understand when we had to take out the candy that would make them sick.
Our friends and family were very kind, and they tried to help us through it as much as possible. My husband’s aunt started putting coins in the Easter eggs at our family Easter egg hunt, and our church group started using a mix of candy and small toys in their eggs.
Because many people are more aware of the severity of food allergies and the need to be careful, it’s getting a lot easier to find allergy friendly Easter alternatives. Many schools don’t allow outside food to be brought in for parties, and many schools are peanut free or have restrictions in place to prevent allergic reactions. With the increase in popularity of the Teal Pumpkin Project over the last few years, I think companies have started to realize there’s a big market for non-food treats for holidays like this.
The other day in Walmart I found eggs full of toys instead of candy in the middle of their regular Easter display section. It was so encouraging to see because in the past I would have had to order toys and stuff my own eggs with them for my kids.
Ok, enough talking. Here are my best ideas for Easter candy alternatives!
Non-Food Items for Allergy Friendly Easter Baskets
Here are some of the top ideas for filling an easter basket with non-food items:
- Resurrection Eggs (we have a set like these)
- Sidewalk chalk
- Crayons & notebooks
- Small Puzzles
- Sippy cups or new bottles
- Stuffed animals
- Playing cards or small games
- Surprise eggs with Mashems or other little toys
- Books that tell the Easter story (like this one
- Temporary tattoos
- Jump Rope
- Outdoor activities for spring (baseball set, croquet, etc.)
- Legos (check out these pre-stuffed lego eggs)
- Dolls or mini barbies
- Glow Sticks
- Action figures or plastic animals/dinosaurs
Easter Egg Stuffers (for Egg Hunts)
Some of those smaller items like stickers, tattoos, stretchy bracelets, or even spare change can be used to fill plastic eggs for egg hunts. If you go to an egg hunt that gives out regular candy, you can also fill your own eggs to trade out with your kids afterward for them to open. I found that this really helped soften the blow for my kids when they weren’t able to eat any of the candy they found in their eggs – we just traded it out and gave them a new basket of eggs to open with toys.
Also, as a public service announcement….Amazon sells pre-filled eggs with toys inside. Here are some with animal figurines, and some with stuffed animals, and some with small cars. These may be better for older kids though because they are pretty small.
You could also just have them trade in their candy for one larger toy or prize after the egg hunt so that you aren’t stuffing tiny eggs with prizes (because, seriously, what mom has time for that?).
Update: I wrote this before all of the COVID-19 stuff hit, so now…I guess many moms have time for stuffing eggs at home and less desire to go to the store to get stuff to put in them! Crazy how things change so fast, right? Anyway – as my PSA, if you buy from Amazon or from the store, be sure to let the eggs or candy sit for a few days to let all the potential germs die, or sanitize the packages as you get them out of the box.
Allergy friendly Easter food-based candies and treats
**As always, labels change over time, so double check before giving these to your kids**
- Dum Dum suckers (be careful with these if you are sensitive to soy)
- Marshmallow Peeps – there are also sometimes white peeps if you have trouble with food dyes. Be careful with these if you can’t do dairy. Some have a may contain warning on them for dairy).
- Cotton Candy
- Safe chips or popcorn in snack sized baggies.
- Enjoy Life chocolate chips (I like the snack sized bags they have)
- YumEarth Brand – They have suckers that my kids LOVE, as well as gummy bears, jellybeans, and even candy canes and licorice that are allergy friendly.
- Fruit Snacks
My best tip of all is just to have fun and enjoy it, without putting too much pressure on yourself. Kids will enjoy almost anything, so just make it fun and don’t worry too much about what foods or candies they can’t do.
If you come up with some ideas to add, I’d love to see them! Leave me a comment and let me know what you guys are planning to do this Easter!