Food Dyes and Kids
Every year, 15 million pounds of dye is put into food marketed toward children, but most people don't realize that these harmful additives have been linked to behavioral problems like ADHD and inflammatory problems such as allergies. The popular dye Red #3 has also been acknowledged by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a carcinogen, but is still found in some processed foods.
Many parents have stories about their child becoming hyperactive after eating a package of jelly beans or a neon-blue frosted cupcake at school. And while sugar is the usual suspect, it may not be the cause. New research in Europe suggests that artificial colors may have a bigger effect on children’s behavior than sugar.
“I actually really see a link,” pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears says. “There are some kids [who] are just sensitive to it for some reason, and luckily those parents, when they figure that out, whether the kids are having an activity problem, or attention problem or even a behavior like an autistic problem, sometimes if the parents eliminate food dyes from the diet, the child greatly improves. So we know, for those groups of kids, there is certainly a link.
“Pretty much all my kids in my practice, if they are asking me how to eat [healthily], I tell them, ‘Look at these ingredients,’” Dr. Sears continues. “I tell them to look for the high-fructose corn syrup and the hydrogenated [fats], but I also tell them to stay away from colors and numbers. Just look at the ingredients.”
Dangerous Food Dyes to Avoid •Red #40
• Red #3
• Yellow #5
• Yellow #6
• Blue #1
Food Label Tips
The first five ingredients listed on a nutrition label are the main components of the food you're eating. Choose your foods wisely by remembering these three label tricks:
• Any ingredient that ends with "ose," such as fructose, is another word for sugar and sweeteners, and should be avoided.
• Monosodium glutamate, popularly known as MSG, is an unhealthy preservative.
• Enriched means the product lost its nutrients through processing and they are restored artificially.
If your child is constipated, avoid feeding them these foods:
• High-fiber foods
Baby Food Recipes
Eat Your Greens Puree
Kiwi and Peach Puree
Natural Baby Food
Catherine McCord, founder of Weelicious.com, a Web site filled with baby food recipes that kids will actually eat, shares her quick and easy recipes for healthy, natural baby food.
“They’re really fun, exciting, tasty recipes,” Catherine says.
“Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season,” she advises. “It’s an economical way to spend less and get the best nutrients possible.”
Sarah, 27, says her daughter, 9-month-old Maytal, won’t eat any foods that aren’t the color orange! Catherine whips up some delectable baby meals and Maytal opens wide!
Get Them to Eat
Is mealtime stressful in your household? Amber and Jason are worried sick about their 20-month-old son, Josh, who refuses to eat. Dr. Sears suggests making mealtime a relaxed time. He tells the parents not to make a fuss over Josh. “It’s the oldest trick in the book,” Dr. Sears explains. “Ignore him while you enjoy your meal.” Dr. Sears encourages Amber and Jason to let Josh pick foods that look appealing to him. Dr. Sears shares his secrets for getting even the pickiest of eaters to try something new:
- Fill up on fluids
- Dip it! Peanut butter, hummus, guacamole and yogurt are great dips.
- Make it fun! Cut food into fun shapes and be creative in presentation.
Dr. Jim and Dr. Travis demonstrate how to get kids to eat healthily.
Healthy Lunch Solutions
With the school year well underway, parents face the daily challenge of getting their kids up out of bed, dressed, fed and out the door with a healthy lunch in hand.
Stacy, a busy mom, knows all too well how tough it can be to get the little ones to eat carrot sticks instead of chips!
She turns to Dr. Jim to help her with her daughter Zoe, a picky eater who doesn't like healthy food. When packing a school lunch, don't forget your ABC's!
A= Ask. Ask kids what they like - get them involved.
B= Balance. Make sure to include whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
C= Creativity. Have fun with food. Kids love colors and crunch. Use your imagination to make snacks such as banana logs, veggie kabobs, fruit pizza and turkey pinwheels.
More child safety tips.
1. Buy refrigerated foods last, and transport your goodies from fridge to fridge within 30 minutes.
2. Make sure items at the salad bar are fresh.
3. Check expiration dates.
4. Pack meat away from produce.
5. Look for tears in packaging.
6. Wipe off hand baskets and grocery cart handles.
7. Wash your hands immediately when you return home, and wash them again after putting the groceries away.
8. To protect your child from germs on the grocery cart seat, use machine washable fabric seat covers.
Money-Saving Grocery Shopping TipsStephanie Nelson, author of The Coupon Mom's Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half, explains that shopping for healthy food doesn't have to break the bank.
"It's about strategic shopping," Stephanie says. "Strategic shopping is not about changing the way you eat, it's about changing the way you buy the healthy food that you like."
Strategic Shopping Tips• Plan your meals around healthy food that's on sale
• Clip coupons for healthy foods
• Use store discount cards
• Look for special promotions
• Find healthy foods by using nutrition iQ, a nutrition-information tagging program that helps consumers make better-informed and healthier food choices while shopping.
On average, Stephanie saves $100 per week on groceries by following these simple tips. "I've done this for 16 years, and that adds up to $83,000!" she says. "That's real money."
Watch Stephanie teach one mom how to buy an entire week's worth of healthy groceries for only $50.
Saving money doesn't have to stop at the grocery store. Stephanie shows you how to save big while at the drugstore!
How the Savings Add Up
• Following Stephanie's coupon shopping can save you about $100 a week and $5,200 a year on groceries.
• The average price of a gym membership is $775 a year, while creating your own at-home gym costs about $50.
• The average price of a massage is $75, but performing one at home is free!.
• Beauty products can cost $700 a year, while the products used for Brooke's tips cost approximately $250 a year.
• Brand name drugs at the drugstore cost roughly $69 per visit. By following Stephanie's guidelines, they can cost less than $36. If you were to go to the drugstore twice a month, that is a yearly savings of $864.
Total yearly savings = $8,139