Friday, March 20, 2015

Tips for Creating a Food Allergy Friendly Easter Basket

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DisneyEaster  #CollectiveBias

According to the non-profit group FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) 1 in 13 children suffer from food allergies.  A statistic my daughter joined when she was 18 months old and went into life threatening anaphylactic shock after eating some peanut butter which resulted in her being rushed to the ER and a three day hospital stay.  Prior to that incident our family didn't know much about food allergies or understand how dangerous and severe of a medical condition it can be, now taking protective steps regarding food and products has become part of our daily routine. 

What is a food allergy? FARE describes it like this, "the job of the body’s immune system is to identify and destroy germs (such as bacteria or viruses) that make you sick. A food allergy results when the immune system mistakenly targets a harmless food protein – an allergen – as a threat and attacks it." What makes dealing with a food allergy especially challenging is that the trigger is microscopic (you can't see a protein) and even if a food or product like shampoo doesn't have the allergen as an ingredient if it is bakes, created, or processed with the same equipment or utensils that have handled those ingredients the contamination can cause a reaction.

Holidays like Easter can be very difficult for children with food allergies because many of the treats associated with it, like candy from the Easter Bunny, are off limits due to their ingredients or contamination issues.  To make it up to my daughter, we work to make these days extra special with non-food treats.  My daughter, like most 6 year old girls, is enamored with FROZEN so we went to our local Walmart and created a #DisneyEaster basket for her.  Here are some tips on making a food allergy friendly Easter Basket.

In addition to large assortments of candy on stock, Walmart has a nice selection of fun non-food related Disney FROZEN items that can be used to fill an Easter basket ranging from activity sets to clothing to toys.  Even if a child in your life doesn't have a food allergy you may want to check out some of these items if you're  looking to cut down on the sweets they are eating.  Here are some food allergy friendly categories of items to look out for and examples of products we purchased during our shopping trip.


My kids are often just as thrilled and excited to get some cool clothing items as they are to get candy.  Plus a fun t-shirt or hat lasts longer and is more useful compared to candy for a treat.  We picked up an adorable cap and a hair accessory set that included barrettes, terries, snap clips and elastics to put in my little girl's Olaf basket.


Art supplies, temporary tattoos, and stickers can be creative and imaginative treats to use as prizes for Easter egg or basket hunts instead of jelly beans and chocolates.  You'll never have to worry about putting a kid at risk at a family gathering, school function or community event by providing these types of items as a treat.  Walmart has available a #Disney FROZEN 3-in-1 Activity Set and sticker books that we picked up for our Food Allergy Friendly Easter Basket.


Toys are always a safe option to candy as a treat when it comes to food allergies.  They often times will be a more expensive option than candy but provide peace of mind when it comes to a child's safety for parents and of course always put a smile on a kid's face.  Walmart has a great selection of #FROZEN toys for budget conscious shoppers - keep an eye out for them rolling back those prices too!  We picked up a trio of Anna, Elsa and Olaf plush toys to fill our daughter's #DisneyEaster basket.


Whether it is filling Easter Baskets, hiding Easter Eggs for a hunt, or entertaining a party providing candy, snacks and food can be a touchy subject.  While the numbers of people suffering from food allergies is growing, it is still a relatively small percentage of the overall population which means that many people aren't aware of the seriousness of the problem and the difficulties associated with the medical condition because they don't have to deal with it on a daily basis so food allergies just isn't a top of mind issue.  The fact is though that most schools average two children per classroom with a severe food allergy that once triggered could cause them to go into life threatening anaphlyactic shock so it is likely that someone you know is impacted.  My daughter's class for example has two girls with peanut allergies and another girl with a milk allergy. That makes it important to be considerate of the problem when planning snack or treats for events and parties, especially ones where children are involved.  Please keep the following points in mind:

READ THE INGREDIENTS - In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires food manufacturers to list the eight most common ingredients that trigger food allergies: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat.  The label should include any specific allergen included in the food as well as any ingredient, coloring, flavoring or other additive that contains a protein from the eight major food allergens.  Carefully reading labels is a good way to be proactive in avoiding food allergy problems.

CONTAMINATION IS AS BIG AN ISSUE AS INGREDIENTS - Microscopic contamination of food or candy can make treats unsafe even if they don't have the allergen in their actual ingredients.  Don't just look at the ingredients on labels but also watch out for warningss that identify if a treat was processed, prepared or packaged in a facility with the allergens.  Note though that contamination warnings are voluntary and not mandated by the FDA so if something looks like it may be produced with other products that contain allergens but doesn't have a warning on the label it is best to still be cautious.

HOME BAKED & BAKERY MADE ITEMS ARE A NO NO - Unfortunately, even with washing, if the same bowls, pans, utensils and other kitchen tools are used to make and prepare items that contain allergens there is a significant risk of contamination though the food itself may not have the allergen as an ingredient.  That often makes most home baked goods from other people and items from bakeries off-limits for kids with food allergies.  If you bake or cook at home using any of the eight most common allergens in your kitchen, it is probably in every one's best interest not to include home made items as Easter treats unless you are certain no one has a food allergy.

For our daughter's food allergy friendly FROZEN Easter basket, after reviewing the label we picked up some movie themed Kellog's fruit snacks that are shaped in form of various Disney princesses including Anna and Elsa.  In the food/snack category we also picked up a 2-in-1 Snack & Drink cup so our daughter can conveniently enjoy her food allergy safe snacks at home while watching her favorite movie, FROZEN on the TV.

FARE cites on their website the stat "every 3 minutes, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the ER – that's more than 200,000 visits per year."  Nobody wants a holiday ruined by a trip to the hospital and by taking some precaution and consideration for this serious medical condition that outcome can very easily be avoided.  As we've demonstrated in this #CollectiveBias shop at Walmart there are numerous safe and fun items that can be used for Easter Baskets, egg hunts, and holiday celebrations that are food allergy friendly and don't put people's health and lives at risk.

Have a wonderful Easter everyone.  For more information on the products listed in this post, please visit and for more information about food allergies go to


  1. Those Frozen figurines are adorable ... I love the Olaf one. That is nice that you can make Easter special without including food-related treats, too.

  2. This is such a great idea! Food allergies are so scary and plus, what kid doesn't love frozen right now?

  3. What a cute basket! You can develop allergies even later in life. Lately, I've been taking it every single day.

  4. We have a granddaughter that is Frozen crazy! Now I know where to go for her Easter gifts. Thank you. These are adorable.

  5. Love it! I stray away from food as gifts just because its tough these days with food allergies. I'm lactose intolerant so I completely understand.


  6. These are some awesome non-candy and non-food ideas! Thanks for sharing.

  7. These are some SUPER great tips! My son doesn't have an anaphalyctic reaction to gluten, but he does become very, very ill if he ingests even a microscopic protein. He is actually currently in bed from day 2 of vomiting and diarrhea from being accidentally glutened on Monday. His worst symptom is rectal prolapse, which can be frightening and very dangerous. I can't imagine how terrified I would be if one of my kids had a peanut allergy. This is a GREAT post and I will most definitely be sharing! #client

  8. I've always tried going with a non-food easter basket.

    The boys get enough candy from the grandparents; so I use this as an opportunity to restock their outside toys and get a sand bucket/pail, instead of an easter basket, then fill it with outdoor toys. They always seem to break theirs by the end of the summer (the joys of raising boys I'm sure).