Fun and safe ideas for your little one’s gluten-free Easter basket
Knowing your child has celiac disease, especially this time of year, can feel overwhelming. As your child waits patiently for the Easter Bunny to bring a basket of goodies, you may feel hesitant because you have to be careful with gluten and cross-contamination. Luckily, there are several options to create a perfect gluten-free Easter basket for your child.
Keep small toys in mind
Regardless of celiac disease, you likely won’t want your child to get hopped up on sugary chocolate bars anyway. As you create an Easter basket, consider small toys or something your child has asked for recently. For example, yo-yos are a popular Easter item. Other great toys include bubbles, sand toys, miniature cars, watercolor paints, Mad Libs or alphabet magnets for younger children. If your child is older, you could add an iTunes gift card, video game or books.
Themed Easter baskets
If your child is not a big candy or chocolate fan, you can still make them a special themed Easter basket. Whether they like Superman, Pokémon, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or another character, you can fill the Easter basket with small toys and decorations that fit the theme. If your child is older and not really into fictional characters anymore, put together a movie night Easter basket with movie passes or a DVD for your whole family to watch. Throw in some PJs and popcorn for some extra fun!
Safe candy ideas
Although you don’t want to overdo it with chocolate and candy, you know how happy your child will be upon spying candy in that special basket. Thankfully, you have plenty of safe, gluten-free options to choose from:
- Plain M&M’s
- Dove Chocolate
- Jelly Belly jelly beans
- Speck-tacular M&M eggs
- Hershey’s Kisses, Milk Chocolate Bar or Plain Nuggets
- Reese’s Pieces (but Reese’s Pieces Eggs are not)
- Snyder’s of Hanover gluten-free pretzel snacks
- Wrigley gum
- Tootsie Rolls
- Necco Wafers
A word of warning
Although some brands, such as Mars, offer gluten-free choices, all of their items aren’t gluten free. For example, only the plain M&M’s are gluten free, and it’s crucial to avoid the pretzel M&M’s because they contain wheat. Hershey’s specifically lists barley malt, wheat or rye on ingredient lists to indicate when the item is not safe. Finally, stay away from premade Easter baskets. You can’t be 100 percent sure there is no gluten-filled candy in the basket, unless you order a specifically gluten-free Easter basket from a trusted source.
Crafty parents can even make some of the items for the basket. Knowing the ingredients that go into items, such as play dough or even bubbles, allows you to stress less and know your child isn’t in danger of cross-contamination with gluten. Make your own play dough!
- ½ cup rice flour
- ½ cup salt
- ½ cup cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon cooking oil
- 1 cup water
- Food coloring, optional
Combine the ingredients and mix together. Stir on low heat for 3 minutes or until the ingredients form a ball. Make sure to let it completely cool before storing in a sealable bag.
Although bubbles are inexpensive and will rarely contain any gluten, it’s worth it to make your own, especially if your child is obsessed with bubbles. By making your own, you don’t have to worry about the bottle running out because you can make buckets of bubbles yourself. Here are a few ways to make DIY bubbles:
- 2 cups water
- ¼ cup liquid dish soap (check ingredients to be sure)
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup liquid dish soap
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ⅔ cup distilled water
- ¼ cup liquid dish soap
- ¼ cup glycerin
- Pinch of sugar
-By Heather Burdo