12 Artificially Coloured Foods with Healthy Swaps

At some point, you’ve probably heard that you and especially your children should avoid artificial food coloring, and that there are many reasons why you should. Research has found that children consuming too many food dyes can result in adverse reactions such as: allergies, hyperactivity, and difficulty concentrating.

Many foods contain artificial food dyes so make sure you check ingredient labels even on foods that you might not think would contain dyes (pizza, macaroni and cheese) and foods that are marketed as “healthy” or “natural” (granola bars). Artificial food dyes are listed on the ingredient labels, so be sure to read the label closely looking for: Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Red 3, Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, FD&C Lakes (combination of colors), Citrus Red #2, and Artificial Color. You can also avoid artificial food coloring by choosing organic foods, because certified organic products cannot contain artificial colors.

As a parent, you want what is best for your children, so here is a list of common foods with food coloring and some healthier alternatives:


Instant flavored Oatmeal Packets and Cups

Example: Quaker Instant Oatmeal Maple and Brown Sugar

Healthier Swap: Plain oatmeal with fresh toppings (fruit, honey, cinnamon, vanilla)


Healthy breakfast Organic oat flakes in a wooden bowl Grey textile background Top view Copy space

Salad Dressings

Example: Kraft, Wishbone

Healthier Swap: Homemade salad dressings



Example: Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Trix, Kellogg’s Raisin Bran Crunch Cereal, Kellogg’s, Special K Fruit & Yogurt Cereal

Healthier Swap: Envirokidz Cereals



Example: Aunt Jemima Butter Rich Syrup, Mrs. Butterworth’s Syrup Original

Healthier Swap: Grade A pure maple syrup


maple syrup in glass bottle on wooden table

Flavored Applesauce

Healthier Swap: Homemade flavor applesauce and unflavored applesauce



Example: M&Ms, Skittles

Healthier Swap: Mott’s Medley’s fruit snacks, chocolate without any candy coating


Microwave Popcorn

Healthier Swap: Air-pop popcorn or popped in pot with olive oil and toppings added.


Artificially Flavored Drinks

Example: Soda, sports beverages, juice cocktails

Healthier Swap: Punch 100% fruit juice


Frozen Treats

Example: Popsicles and Ice Cream

Healthier Swap: Make your own popsicles using fresh fruit and 100% juices or smoothies

Boy in sunglasses and hat eating popsicle outdoors


Certain Flavored Yogurts

Healthier Swaps: Plain yogurt and add toppings such as smashed fruit, honey, granola, etc.


Baked Goods

Healthier Swap: Naturally color homemade baked goods (cupcakes, icing, etc.) with smashed and strained fruits


Chips (BBQ and other flavors)

Healthier Swap: Plain potato chips (Ruffles), tortilla chips (but not colored ones)

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