I can hardly believe that the end of April is here already! These past few weeks have flown by. I was reminded often during last week that April was almost at an end. Why? My oldest daughter: “Mom, only one more week of doing this no food coloring thing!”
I would love to tell you that the kids jumped in with both feet and embraced this concept of no artificial food colors during April. I would love to tell you that none of us ate any fake coloring. I would also love to tell you that the kids are so good with the concept that they are ready to give it up 99% of the time.
I would like to…but I would be lying! 🙂
Truth is, my oldest child felt like the world was ending some days. She didn’t get WHY we would do this, it was dumb, she didn’t like it. And for the record, I did explain to both of them some of the bad things that can result from eating these things. I also explained (again) the concepts of real, whole foods from nature – not man made. They get it, but they just don’t care enough yet.
I’m sharing this real life scenario so that you can see that despite the best efforts & education, kids will resist change – some more than others! You are not alone!
We did find that most of the artificial colors we ran into were not in our home. Sure there were a few candies we weeded out and my daughter’s favorite cereal, but most of the colors we ran across were away from home.
My daughters saw their biggest challenges when at school. Friends offering pop tarts from the school’s morning “nutrition” break bags (yeah…don’t get me started), school birthday celebrations with brightly colored frosting, shared candy, treats at after school events, etc. I gave the girls free choice on what they did at school. I told them what I would suggest they do, but in the end I said “you get to pick, and I’m fine either way”. Surprisingly, my oldest turned down pop tarts and fruit snacks (but had an oops day when she accepted a grape sucker without thinking about it). One of them received a baseball themed cupcake and scraped off the red lines on the white frosting. One passed up cheetos at someone’s house. I was so proud of them for giving this effort!
For me, the no color month meant limiting my options on our Starbucks runs! Its crazy how many of their syrups and flavors have caramel coloring in them! Especially since, in the end, it makes no color difference in the drink when mixed with coffee. Its so disappointing that companies feel they have to add this stuff so it looks more brown in the bottle. But anyway I was happy to find that some do not have anything, so I enjoyed those on our trips there.
So where do we stand now?
Of course their next question to me was “are we going back to normal now?” And I paused… I had never made a firm plan of where we would go from here. While it doesn’t appear that they are adversely affected by the colors mentally/physically/emotionally, I know they aren’t great choices. We are coming to a compromise that we are still hashing out.
- I have told my youngest that we will search for a healthier but just as delicious replacement for her beloved cereal. I REALLY hope we can find something! Though my goal, overall, is to have them eating less cereal and more of other homemade things instead. But sometimes you want a bowl of cereal or need something quick.
My Food Color Related Goals:
I have a few goals for myself regarding this – some directly related, some are to help encourage my family:
- Keep a good variety of homemade breakfast items in stock so there are lots of options for the morning.
- Watch the labels for sneaky food colorings like caramel coloring. It’s easy to overlook this one.
- Start doing more research on ways to naturally color foods like icing so we can incorporate those instead of artificial colors when doing treats.
- Find fun ways to encourage the kids to be involved in learning about whole & fake foods – and letting them help me experiment with trying new things.
Onto May! I’m not sure what this month will bring, but it will be busy with end of school things for sure! Have a great week!