The more I read and learn about toxic ingredients in foods, the harder it is to purchase those foods and feed them to my family. Unless I have a major craving for candy, to my knowledge I don't buy any foods that contain artificial food dyes for the following reasons:
- they are made from chemicals derived from petroleum
- they increase hyperactivity in children and can negatively affect their ability to learn
- they can cause allergic reactions
- they are linked to health issues such as cancer, especially the 3 most widely used: Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6
- others to avoid: Blue 1, Red 3 (but really you should try to avoid them all)
(I found this info at 100daysofrealfood.com and foodbabe.com)
These dyes are in so many processed products on the supermarket shelves including Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (see here to sign a petition asking them to stop adding artificial dyes to their food sold in the US), gatorade, juices, and even most shelf-stable pickles.
I recently found India Tree Natural Decorating Colors at Whole Foods. They're made from concentrated vegetable colorants. I don't use food coloring much myself, but I bought this to have on hand the next time I want to make something for the kids with colorful icing. I have to admit that for my son's birthday party I planned to make a healthy, all-natural dessert, but at the last minute I worried that the 25 kids that were invited wouldn't like it and that I would spend hours making a cake that wouldn't get eaten. So I gave in, ordered a bunch of sugar cookies with icing loaded with artifiicial food dyes from a local bakery and vowed to never purchase the stuff again. (But they were really cute and the kids loved them!)
Since I can't control what my kids eat when they're at school, family or friends' houses, I must control what they eat when they're at home. I want their little growing bodies to get the very best nutrition they can at home in order to be as healthy as they can, but also to combat the negative effects of the treats they get when they're away from me.
If you're trying to find better Easter candy, check out Trader Joes! They have jelly beans, gummy bears, and another gummy bunny candy with NO artificial colors. I don't give my kids a lot of candy on Easter, but since society and Easter parties tell them they're supposed to get candy in the hidden eggs, I don't want them to be disappointed. This year I'll stuff them with coins, candy with no artificial colors, and some Annie's cheddar bunnies.