What do juice boxes, fruit snacks, whole wheat bread, salad dressing, microwave popcorn, granola bars, yogurt, and cereal all have in common? No, this isn’t a healthy grocery list (although many people commonly mistake these foods as healthy).
All of these foods commonly have artificial food color as one of their ingredients. Don’t believe me? Check your labels! Many popular brands add food dye to make foods more visually appealing.
Although the FDA (and similar regulatory food boards in other countries) may have given the green light to added food coloring, these artificial dyes are anything but safe.
Research studies have linked artificial food dye to a worsening of symptoms in kids with ADHD, hyperactivity, asthma, and even cancer (1, 2, 3, 4). You can read more about the many dangers of eating foods with artificial food color and their effect on children’s behavior in this post.
Before our son was diagnosed with Autism, we knew that there was a distinct connection between his mood and some of the foods he ate…especially gluten and dairy.
But even after removing these foods, we still noticed a correlation between certain foods that he was eating and a worsening of his symptoms.
When we finally removed all artificial ingredients from his diet, including food dyes, we noticed that his moods became more stable, his skin rashes cleared up, his focus improved, and he started sleeping through the night. Coincidence? I don’t think so!
Although making your own homemade treats with whole food ingredients is the easiest way to ensure your kids are not consuming any harmful ingredients, not all parents have the time (or desire) to be baking all day long.
Thankfully, there are some pretty amazing companies that are starting to offer healthier versions of candy and other treats for children that are free from harmful additives such as artificial flavors, colors, high fructose corn syrup, GMO ingredients, and many others.
If you are looking for some healthy, allergen-free treats free from artificial ingredients, then check out these 25 candy options without artificial food dyes. These are perfect for birthday treat bags, Easter baskets, Christmas stocking stuffers, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, or just for a healthier treat!
Smart Sweets: These gummy bears recently became a favorite treat in our home, and for a good reason. The ENTIRE bag of gummies has only 3 grams of sugar!!! Naturally sweetened with stevia, these gummies are also free from artificial colors and flavors, gluten free, dairy free, peanut free, soy free, and non GMO.
Zollipops: For a sugar free option that is recommended by dentists and hygienists, check out zollipops! They contain xylitol which has been shown to be beneficial for oral health. I also love that these were invented by a kidpreneur from Michigan! Free from all the gross stuff, sweetened with stevia/xylitol/erythritol, and dentist approved…it can’t get much better!
Lovely Organics Chewy Candies: Looking for a natural alternative to Starburst candies? These organic chewies have all the amazing colors and fruity flavors but without the artificial stuff. They are completely free from high fructose corn syrup, soy, or artificial ingredients. Mom and kid approved!
Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups: Think Reece’s PB cups, but made with organic, fair trade dark chocolate and organic peanut butter. Enough said.
Yum Earth Organic Vitamin C Pops: These delicious treats are a great way to get immune boosting vitamin C in your littles without the artificial ingredients found in traditional lollipops. With only 20 calories each and just 4 grams of sugar, and no allergens, these make a good “swap” option at places like the doctor’s office.
Surf Sweets Gummy Worms: These allergy friendly gummy worms are free from the top ten allergens, and are free from artificial colors and flavors. Made with organic fruit juice and organic sweeteners, these gummy worms also contain 100% of your daily vitamin C.
PUR bubblegum: Most bubblegums are loaded with artificial colors, sugar, and and other harmful ingredients. PUR has a whole line of gum flavors that are vegan, non GMO, free from artificial colors or flavors, sugar free, and gluten free. Sweetened with xylitol, this gum actually promotes oral health by reducing cavities, preventing tooth decay, and naturally cleaning teeth.
Surf Sweets Organic Jelly Beans: Jelly beans are like a right of passage for most kids. The problem is that most are loaded with artificial colors and flavors. Thankfully, these organic jelly beans are bursting with fruity flavors like cherry, grapefruit, strawberry, and lemon but without the artificial stuff. Allergy friendly and vegetarian, these are a must for every Easter basket!
Nature’s Bandits Organic Fruit and Veggie Stix: Kids love these all natural fruit and veggie snacks, and parents will too when they see the ingredients! These snacks are full of healthy, organic ingredients like berries, apples, kale, pumpkin, and more. What they don’t have are any artificial colors, flavors, or ingredients.
Bare Baked Crunchy Coconut Chips: If you are looking for a low-carb, healthy, crunchy snack…coconut chips are the way to go! This variety pack by Bare are gluten free, non GMO, and come in flavors like toasted, honey, and chocolate!
Heavenly Organics Almond Chocolate Honey Patties: Have you ever seen candy with just three ingredients? Now you have! These organic chocolate patties are made with just 100% organic dark chocolate, raw white honey, and natural almond flavor. Delicious!
Lesser Evil Grain Free Paleo Puffs: I just about had a heart attack when I found these at the grocery store a few months ago! These organic, non-GMO puffs are gluten free, grain free, vegan, and made with wholesome ingredients like cassava root, sweet potato, coconut oil, and himalayan salt.
Alter Eco Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Truffles: Salted caramel is my favorite chocolate flavor! These silky, melty truffles are made with organic, fair trade ecuadorian chocolate, real coconut oil instead of palm oil, and are wrapped in a compostable wrapper.
Lillabee Grain Free Brownie Thins: These are the best tasting, paleo snack cookies around! Paleo-friendly and made with healthy ingredients that are low-glycemic like organic maple syrup and coconut sugar, hemp seeds, avocado oil, egg whites, pure nib cocoa, coconut and almond flours.
Buddha Bowl Himalayan Pink Organic Popcorn: These snacks packs by Lesser Evil are just 50 calories per bag and contain organic, non GMO popcorn with pure coconut oil and himalayan pink sea salt. No other artificial colors, flavors or ingredients.
What are some of your favorite, natural and allergen-free treats without artificial food dye? Leave a comment below and let us know!