Here are some helpful tips about what foods to avoid and what to serve in their place:
* Substitute 100 percent fruit juice for soft drinks, fruit drinks, and fruit punches — all of which are typically artificially colored and flavored. If the child must have a soft drink, try 7-Up, Squirt, or Sprite. These brands are naturally flavored and free of dyes—though they all contain sodium benzoate. Even better, buy natural sodas or fruit spritzers sold at health food stores.
* If you have time to bake, make muffins, cakes, and cookies from scratch. Cake mixes contain red and yellow coloring. Use pure extracts instead of artificial vanilla (called vanillin), almond, peppermint, lemon, orange, and coconut flavors. Bonus: Pure extracts taste better, although they are more expensive. No time to bake? Try Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies, which are free of dyes and low in sugar.
* As you would expect, the more colorful the cereal, the more food dyes it contains. Cap’n Crunch, Trix, Fruit Loops, Lucky Charms, and Apple Jacks are full of food coloring. Look for breakfast cereals that are free of dyes — like Cheerios, which doesn’t contain artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
* If the kids love barbecue sauce, or if you use it to spice up everyday dishes, read the label before buying a bottle. Many brands are loaded with Red #40. Hunt’s Original, however, is free of food coloring. Does your child enjoy Popsicles? Buy Welch’s Fruit Juice Bars, one of the few brands without dyes or preservatives.
* Avoid Jell-O and other gelatin mixes are loaded with artificial coloring and flavors. Make your own gelatin salad or desserts by dissolving plain gelatin in 100 percent fruit juice for a pretty, and nutritious, dessert.
Click here to see the entire article.Tomorrow: Effects of dyes and preservatives in personal care products.
Have you ever cared for a child that was sensitive to food additives? What foods or chemicals created the sensitivity?