That time is upon us! Every year I try to have instill some lovely family traditions around the holiday season. One big one in our house (and many others) is the making, baking and decorating of gingerbread cut out cookies. This is a long time family tradition, passed along on my mom’s side. My girls love the day when all we do from sun up to sun down is roll out cookies, bake them, and then, the fun begins. Decorating!
Trouble is, we like bright colors and many creative options for our cookies. The colors of the season, red green, silver, and white. And those sprinkles! Now we know that all that food coloring is likely harmful to child health. Specifically, food dyes and artificial coloring have been linked to behavior problems in children. The FDA considered putting warning labels on all food containing food dyes. In Europe, many synthetic food dyes have been banned. Food companies have different ingredients for different countries– they have a safer blend for European countries of many foods, such as M&Ms, NutriGrain bars, and other foods. Moms have made news lately about demanding the removal of these harmful dyes. Notably, an M&M petition, a Kraft Food petition, and plenty of news media coverage. As a result, Kraft is changing some of its formulations (unfortunately not all of them).
In the meantime, what is a holiday baker to do? Find and use a safer, non-toxic option. I’ve finally found it!
They are made with NO artificial food colorings or GMO ingredients. In fact, the pink sprinkles have these ingredients only: natural cane sugar, beets, and yam. Our friends at MightyNest carry Maggie’s Naturals– natural sugar sprinkles and food colorings. The natural food coloring ingredients? Here’s what’s in the blue bottle: vegetable glycerin, distilled water, blue gardenia extract, and citric acid.
Yes, I know I could probably make this. But see, I won’t. I work teach time. I write part time. I parent all the time. I barely have time to go to the bathroom. So no, right now I won’t be making my own brightly colored sprinkles and food coloring. That’s okay, because you can find a variety of colors and sprinkles at MightyNest. Everything you need to make wholesome, safer holiday treats. We’ll be using these from now on.
I’ll make my own icing from whole food ingredients and coloring them with the natural food coloring. I can feel good about my kids, my extended family, and my friends eating these cookies. No behavior altering other than happiness. I’ll take that.