DISCLOSURE: Once a product passes ingredient standards evaluation followed by a blind Kid Kritics taste test, a company can opt-in to the Kid Kritics Approved marketing program. Though monetary compensation for marketing is involved, this does not affect the nutrition evaluation or taste test results.
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Whenever I read a nutrition label that includes artificial food dyes my first reaction is, “Who do they think they are fooling?” The addition of lab made colors is an old technique used by food companies to make their product more appealing in the cheapest way possible, regardless of their safety record.
A friend of mine was shocked recently when I pointed out the truth about the ingredient list of colors found on a box of a popular Mac and Cheese, one which is a staple in her house for her very picky toddler. Her first words were, “Why didn’t I know about this? I’ve been feeding my child a box of chemicals daily. This is just horrible!”
I believe in and support the idea of eating foods as they were made by nature. When an apple is not the perfect tint of red it doesn’t mean it won’t taste good. Because we “eat with our eyes” the industry has found it very profitable to add artificial enhancers to their products to boost sales.
So why should we avoid them? Because synthetic coloring additives have been proven unsafe in multiple ways as they contribute to conditions ranging from ADHD to carcinogenic toxic illnesses. Some fake colors have been completely banned in the US, but, several are still FDA approved even though other countries have prohibited them. These lab-made food dyes include Blue #1, Blue #2, Green #3, Red #3, Red #40, Yellow #5 and #6. Those last two even come with warning labels in some countries: “May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.” When you see a color and a number in an ingredient list, you can be assured they are made from derivatives of coal tar and petroleum.
The good news is that we can avoid them completely by simply reading ingredient labels. Eating “clean” by eliminating artificial dyes is not as hard as you may think. But it does require you to be informed. Those dyes are not only in bright colored sodas or candy, they are also found in cake batter, yogurts, breakfast cereals, and just about everywhere. Don’t you be fooled!
This is something we pay close attention to when evaluating products and recipes for our Kid Kritics Seal of Approval. We are happy to see that many companies are moving to using herbs, spices and natural ingredients such as paprika, annatto and beta carotene to enhance color in their products instead of dyes.
Take a look at this wonderful Kid Kritics Approved recipe full of natural colors! It has lots of eye appeal while keeping true to a “clean eating” way of life without any artificial dyes: Colorful and Crunchy Pasta with Vegetables
… for the health of your family,
A few years back, Brooke’s toddler was newly diagnosed with Diabetes Type 1. As she was desperately searching for healthier sugar free products and recipe ideas, she landed on the Kid Kritics site and signed up to be a Healthier Recipe Mom. That’s how I “met” her. I was immediately impressed with how proactive she was.
Brooke’s big challenge was just beginning; she had to pay total attention to every meal she prepared, reading labels of every product she purchased. Taking care of her son’s health became a full time job. Complicating this task was her limited food budget.
Eleven months later, another level was added to Brooke’s challenge. Her son was also diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Now she faced another dietary adjustment for her little guy and thus her family. Not only would she have to count her son’s carbohydrate intake, monitoring blood sugar, she would also have to study the source of his starch intake.
Recently Brooke described to me how much more difficult it was to adapt to the gluten free lifestyle versus the diabetes diagnosis. It seemed her son could no longer eat anything he liked – all wheat, rye, barley, oats were out of the question. Adding to this stress was the reality that family outings such as, church potlucks, eating at friend’s house and any restaurants would now be very limited. But again, she took charge and decided her family would all go gluten free to avoid any dangerous cross contamination in the house. And, she wanted to eliminate the struggle keeping her child from eating gluten foods stored in their home.
Digging through gluten free brands, Brooke discovered that a gluten free diet of processed foods can be very expensive; most gluten-free convenience items are “fluff”, processed and very low in nutritional value. Plus she learned that most gluten free products have higher carb content than regular versions, making it harder for her to manage her son’s insulin regimen.
There is a silver lining in this picture. Brooke noticed changes in herself when she transitioned to a gluten free diet as well: she had more energy! Plus, her family is definitely eating healthier morning, noon and night. She now relies on serving a lot of affordable fresh produce and home cooked meals. Without a doubt, Brooke now excels at creating and adapting delicious healthy recipes for her family!
More great news. Brook’s son has been a “champ” with the transition. Because he understands how much better he feels, at only 3 ½ years old he rarely puts up a fight if he can’t have something with gluten. Another plus – he has already become really good at asking people if something has gluten in it before he will take a bite.
Brooke is an amazing mother! She has so much on her plate and deals with it with strength, positive attitude and love. It is our honor to have Brooke as part of our “Healthier Recipe Mom” group. Using qualifying ingredients for restricted diets, she creates “good tasting” recipes the whole family enjoys!
To Brooke and all mothers out there we want to wish you a “Happy Mother’s Day!” You are all heroes in my eyes.
It is our joy to give you a couple recipes Brooke has created using
Kid Kritics Approved Products: