kids eating healthy

Eliminating Artifical Dyes From Your Family’s Diet

By | Behavior Change, Blog, Healthy Snacks, Kids nutrition, Uncategorized

Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1… read the labels on hundreds of foods and beverages sold in the United States and you are bound to see these and other artificial food colorings among the ingredients.  There are some studies that link these dyes to behavior problems in children.  Earlier this year, a Food and Drug Administration panel investigated a link between hyperactivity in children and artificial dyes.  Their findings were inconclusive, but the panel did recommend further investigation.

The possible link between food dyes and children’s behavior is just one area of concern.  Many people are concerned about the overall safety of these man-made artificial dyes, especially since they have no nutritional benefit and are mainly added for cosmetic reasons.

I made the decision to remove these products from my family’s diet about a year ago when I began reading food labels.  I was shocked to find how many items my family ate that included these dyes, everything from yogurt to cereal to jello!  You can view a complete list by clicking here.  I did notice a change in my children’s behavior, but I am not sure if it was linked to the elimination of the dyes, or just eating healthier.

It is fairly easy to avoid artificial dyes, just stick to eating foods that are as close to their natural state as possible.  When you do purchase a packaged item, always check the food label (the FDA requires that dyes be listed on all processed foods).  Popsicles are a great treat this time of year, but make sure you find one that is colored naturally, or make your own.  If you’re worried your children will be mad that you eliminated their favorite snack, don’t be!  Many dye-free alternatives can be found in the organic section of your supermarket.

Many of the dyes used in the US are banned in Europe.  This means many companies are all ready making a dye free version of their foods.  For example, NutriGrain bars in the US are colored with Red 40, Yellow 6, and Blue 1.  In the UK they are colored naturally with beetroot, annatto, and paprika extract.  Some companies are making changes.  I was thrilled to see Yoplait’s Go-Gurt Yogurt come out with a Simply Go-Gurt that eliminates the dyes.  There is still a fair amount of sugar in them, but if you treat them as a “treat” it’s not so bad.  Hopefully more companies will start using natural colorings as the public demands.

What are your thoughts on this issue?  Have you tried to eliminate dyes?

How To Get Your Kids To Eat Healthy Food

By | Behavior Change, Healthy Snacks, Kids nutrition, Mindset, Nutrition, Uncategorized


One area that I can’t say I have much expertise or authority in, is getting kids to eat healthy.  I always get criticized that my food recommendations and choices aren’t kid friendly.  Of course I read and study on the matter, but until I really have experienced and lived by example, I don’t have much to say on the topic.  I recently got a very passionate email from a woman who was tired of hearing moms blame their kids for not being able to eat healthy.  After reading her long email, I asked if she would be willing to write  a guest post, and she accepted.  So here is an-in-your-face challenge from one mom to another!


kids1“I have heard many times Moms say some version of “I know I need to change my eating habits to lose weight, but I can’t get my kids to eat healthy meals”.

As Moms, we pick many battles for the health & safety of our kids: wash your hands, buckle up, wear bike helmets, brush your teeth. We also get them regular health check ups and vaccinate them.

However, at one of the most basic needs of children-healthy eating-we draw the line and choose to lose the battle. Eating healthy is one of the most important keys to health and wellness for any age; it’s one of the most preventative measures for our immediate and life long health. Yet, time after time, Moms back down from the battle.

I’m not one of those moms that backs down from that battle. Even when embarked on my own battle to lose 30 lbs last year, my kids ate everything I ate from grilled veggies to salmon to ratatouille (all recipes from my Cooking Light magazine). What I’m about to tell you may seem too strict to some, but it’s worked for me.


My kids have never been made special meals. They eat what we eat, because we eat healthy, balanced meals at home. Because of an unhealthy addiction to processed food (which I blame on my pregnancy cravings for lunch meat, hot dogs and Cousins subs), my eldest fought us from day one of table food. Our rule was simple, he had to take a bite for every year he was old. He longer he fought and whined, the more of his helping he had to eat. He would sit for an hour. After that, his plate was removed, wrapped and served to him at the next meal. He did not get any snacks until that meal was gone. He’s 11 now and we still do this battle once and awhile. More often than not, however, he eats whatever is in front of him. Read More