Christmas Bean Cookies with Homemade and Natural Food Dyes

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Christmas time can be brutal for kids with sensitivities to artificial food dyes. I’ve never noticed any behavior changes in my own kids when they eat food dyes, so I often dismissed reports speculating food dyes might be to blame for behavior problems in other kids.  However, my opinion of them has changed drastically over the last few years (and especially the last few months)

Our Story:

My niece is 8 years old.   The girl has been hyperactive most of her little life.  She is super smart, and wanted desperately to behave well at school, but she literally couldn’t keep her emotions under control or her hands to herself.  She would come home almost daily in Kindergarten and first grade with bad marks in her “behavior notebook”.  When I suggested to my sister that some people have had success with eliminating food dyes from a child’s diet, she told her daughter Maddie about it. Well, because Maddie wanted to be good in school so desperately, she was the one who decided to take on the challenge to the fullest.  And she has.  She now questions everyone and everything offered to her!  “Does this have artificial dyes?”  is her new slogan.

The result: Her behavior has literally taken a 180!  Her behavior notebook at school went from daily bad marks to good behavior marks (They call it “Ready to Learn”) for 3 straight months in a row. This is quite significant, and literally something my sister would not have believed if she didn’t see it with her own eyes.  In fact,  there was one day when her husband, unknowingly gave her a marshmallow. You wouldn’t think white marshmallow’s had food dye, would you?  But they do! And the next day- Bad behavior marks at school (for the first time in 3 months)!  She was so upset by this, but it confirmed to them that they are doing the right thing!

Now, because I love Christmas decorated cookies, and because I love my niece, I wanted to make some that she could eat.  So, I purchased those natural food dyes I had seen advertised (India Tree) from Amazon.  Then, you all told me on Facebook that they might not be as bright as we were hoping.  That’s when I decided to do a comparison- homemade food dye vs. store bought natural dyes.

Christmas Bean Cookies with Homemade and Natural Food Dyes. These Christmas cookies are festive and delicious!

The results:

I made some homemade red coloring by juicing 3 beets.  I did not pre-cook them, just placed the raw beets in a juicer, and saved the juice.

Then, to get the green color, I used spinach. I was a little nervous that both of these would have a taste to them, but was willing to take that chance.   The spinach (about 3 handfuls worth of baby spinach), gave me a teeny tiny bit of juice. Maybe only 1/8 of a cup. I left the juice out on the counter overnight, which I was glad I did, because by the next day, the spinach juice had evaporated a bit, leaving me with some concentrated green paste.  Perfect!

Christmas Bean Cookies with Homemade and Natural Food Dyes. These Christmas cookies are festive and delicious!

Then, I mixed the beets with our frosting. I could never get it red enough, just very pink.  However, the India Tree color gave me the exact same pink color. It wasn’t any redder than my homemade beets.

Then I mixed the spinach. I LOVED the green color I got from my spinach!  It was perfect for our Christmas tree cookies.  The India Tree- Blah!  The more blue and yellow I added, the browner it got!  I had to check and recheck google to make sure that blue and yellow actually made green, because I was NOT getting any green out of it.  So sad.

Christmas Bean Cookies with Homemade and Natural Food Dyes. These Christmas cookies are festive and delicious!

Then, we made some cookies (recipe below).

Christmas Bean Cookies with Homemade and Natural Food Dyes. These Christmas cookies are festive and delicious!

We frosted all the cookies, and invited my niece Maddie over for cookies!

Of course when she asked if the cookies were made with artificial dyes, I told her- NO!! These are safe for you. She was sooooo happy!

Christmas Bean Cookies with Homemade and Natural Food Dyes. These Christmas cookies are festive and delicious!

And, did she like them?  She loved them! All the kids did.  None of the kids tasted any beets or spinach, and I actually didn’t tell them that’s what was in them. (This is her brother Michael getting caught snatching a cookie) 🙂

Christmas Bean Cookies with Homemade and Natural Food Dyes. These Christmas cookies are festive and delicious!

So, what do I think about India Tree? Well, if I could get a green out of it, I’d be happier.  But for the price- $17, it’s probably a no-go for us to ever buy them again.  If it’s important for you to have some shelf stable colors to use in a pinch (If you want some pink for Valentines day), sure. But I thought it was just as easy to make our own, and much cheaper! And of course, there is always that problem with blue/green that doesn’t exactly do what you want it to.

This is Maddie, who approved of the cookies!

Christmas Bean Cookies with Homemade and Natural Food Dyes. These Christmas cookies are festive and delicious!

Part 2- Bean Cookies

My sister in law sent over this recipe last summer, and I’ve been hanging onto it this long!! So sorry.

Written by Beth

The difference between my recipe and the original is half of the butter or coconut oil is replaced by white bean puree.  The important thing to maintain in a pastry like a sugar cookie is the texture. These are still soft and the frosting is to die for. My sister, when she’d frosted hers and taken a bite, said “Man, these are good!”

Everyone at my daughter’s party ate them up! Bean puree holds moisture well so that the cookie stays soft. Notice, too, that the frosting is half coconut oil (it gives the frosting a really great flavor) and half bean puree. Do you dare to try? Here’s how it works:

Once again, cooking my own beans

Christmas Bean Cookies with Homemade and Natural Food Dyes. These Christmas cookies are festive and delicious!

Pureeing the beans in my blender (if it’s too thick, I slowly add enough water for beans to mix to a paste)

Christmas Bean Cookies with Homemade and Natural Food Dyes. These Christmas cookies are festive and delicious!

Here’s the consistency you want – thick enough to stay on the spatula

Christmas Bean Cookies with Homemade and Natural Food Dyes. These Christmas cookies are festive and delicious!

Half of my beans are pureed, half of them are not. This is extra, so it’s ready for the freezer.

Christmas Bean Cookies with Homemade and Natural Food Dyes. These Christmas cookies are festive and delicious!

I mixed my dough the regular way, then rolled it out on a well-floured tea towel.

Christmas Bean Cookies with Homemade and Natural Food Dyes. These Christmas cookies are festive and delicious!

Mmm! These cookies are ready for the oven.

Christmas Bean Cookies with Homemade and Natural Food Dyes. These Christmas cookies are festive and delicious!

While the cookies are baking, I mix up the frosting ingredients.  The bean frosting is not the frosting in the photos. It’s a soft frosting, if you like that.  In order for the frosting to harden up, I used a traditional royal icing.

Christmas Bean Cookies with Homemade and Natural Food Dyes. These Christmas cookies are festive and delicious!

And now these babies are ready to eat!

Christmas Bean Cookies with Homemade and Natural Food Dyes. These Christmas cookies are festive and delicious!

So, I’m curious now- have you had an experience with eliminating food dyes from your kids life? Please share your stories!

*Frosting tips- for sugar cookie frosting that hardens up and becomes stackable, follow a traditional royal icing recipe like this one.  You can still add your veggie puree’s.  This is the frosting in the photos.   My sister in law Beth uses the bean and coconut oil frosting which the kids loved, and will still give you delicious frosting, but won’t get firm like royal icing.  Chilling it though, does help it to firm up a bit.

Christmas Bean Cookies with Homemade and Natural Food Dyes

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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Christmas Bean Cookies with Homemade and Natural Food Dyes
Servings: 36

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, unsalted
  • 1/2 cup white beans, canned
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 1/2 cup flour, all-purpose
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Frosting

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup white beans, canned
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cup unsifted powdered sugar

Add ins

  • 3 medium beet
  • 3 cup spinach

Instructions

  • Rinse and puree beans. You will need 1/2 cup of puree. (You can cook your own white beans if you don’t prefer canned.)
  • Cream cold butter,  cold bean puree, and sugar together until well mixed. Add eggs and mix until well incorporated. Add vanilla and almond extract.
  • Add dry ingredients and mix just until dough comes together.
  • Place a large tea towel on counter and generously dust with additional flour. Turn dough out of bowl onto tea towel and turn dough over a few times, until it is coated with flour on all sides.
  • Using a rolling pin, roll dough out until it is uniformly about 1/3” thick. Cut out cookies using cookie cutters and place on large baking sheet.
  • Bake cookies in a 400 degree oven for 6 min. or until undersides of cookies start to turn golden.
  • Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet and frost with frosting (recipe follows). Serve.
  • Beat all ingredients together with a handheld mixer on low until sugar is well incorporated.
  • Then, turn mixer to high and beat until fluffy.
  • Red:  Juice 3 beets.  No need to pre-cook them, just place the raw beets in a juicer, and save the juice.
  • Green:  Juice about 3 cups of baby spinach.  It will produce about 1/8 cup of juice.
Tried this recipe?Mention @SuperHealthyKids or tag #SuperHealthyKids!
Christmas Bean Cookies with Homemade and Natural Food Dyes. These Christmas cookies are festive and delicious! https://www.superhealthykids.com/christmas-bean-cookies-with-natural-food-dyes/

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83 Comments

Is there a way to make the natural dye without having a juicer? I have beet puree (roasted beets, tiny bit water and blended smooth) but no juicer. Also, could the AP flour in the cookie recipe be substituted for white whole wheat? Thanks!!

Sarah- while I haven’t tried it, I think it would turn out fine. You may get more of a beet flavor than juicing it would give you. Another option could be some POM juice (it looked about the same color last time I noticed it in the grocery store).
And definitely a YES on the whole wheat flour.

100% for sure. In fact, I did this weekend. The pureed and cooked beans were from my sister in law Beth, but I was in a hurry, and had some canned beans, so I used those.

Thank you for sharing. I am going to try this recipe this week. I make a lot of things from scratch and I don’t use food colorings so we don’t get a lot of artificial coloring in our diet, but we are gluten free, and try to be most of the time dairy free. My oldest son (4) had eczema and have noticed since he was little he had a lot of energy and or would turn mean quickly. He is a great little boy and it made me think about the food he was eating. We eat well, he loves his veggies and we juice or do smoothies. What I started to look at was our gluten intake. We took out gluten and started seeing a difference. And once when he got gluten without me knowing it, he had turned into another person. I knew then gluten for him was not his friend. He is know a calmer person and smiles more. Again, we can’t wait to try these cookies.

I can vouch for the cookies. I ate them at the Barney Birthday party and literally had no idea they had anything different about them. They were SO delicious. I love healthy foods, but won’t compromise flavor in sweets for health – a dessert is a dessert for me – but in this case there was NO compromise! I now use the bean puree in my banana muffins as well – and like Beth said, they are more moist because the beans hold the moisture better.

Amy is there any way we could figure out a carb count on these cookies? I am thinking all that protein just might make it worth trying out for Hannah. I have worried so much about how she will feel different this holiday season with her new diagnosis, so if I made these cookies then maybe the protein would help to keep her sugars less crazy and more stable.

Thank you so much for sharing this. My daughter cannot have food dyes. We knew from when she was a toddler it made her behavior bad. My husband had the same problem when he was a child, so we knew it was a possibility with our daughter. This time of year is hard on her. So much has red dye that she can’t eat. We will be making these soon. Hope you have a blessed Christmas.

My son turns 7 tomorrow. He has been dye free for just shy of 2 years. To this day, he won’t touch anything unless he is certain it contains no dye. Before dye free, he would get angry very quickly and completely loose control of himself. He would scream for 45 minutes simply because he was hoping for different thing for dinner…or because he didn’t know where his pajamas were…not because he didn’t like what we were having or didn’t want to go to bed….After removing food dye he is COMPLETELY different. He knows he feels bad if he has stuff he shouldn’t and NEVER fights us on it. Most people don’t believe me until they witness him happily walk away from candy or cupcakes he is unsure about. Thanks for bringing to light this issue. I find it very sad that that US allows dyes and such in so many things that many other countries do not allow. ALSO….(because this post is not long enough) I feel that India Tree is a good “on hand” dye. But I will say that their sugar sprinkles are a must at our house for Christmas cookes and birthday cupcakes! We are very healthy eaters around here…but we do not skimp on birthdays!

I’ve used beet powder and spinach powder that I purchased from Amazon. The sugar cookies had deep, vibrant color and still tasted like a sugar cookie. I don’t have a juicer, so I tried the powder. Oh, I bought carrot powder in hopes of making orange pumpkin cookies – total failure! Thanks.

Oh my, YES!!! We had a homeopath tell us our daughter was intolerant to dyes which was causing behavior problems. I didn’t put much stock in it and just kind of forgot about it until Christmas a few years ago when she helped me make red jello with oranges. That night (Christmas Eve!), after eating the jello, she lay on her bed sobbing and saying, “I’m so sad. Mommy, why am I so sad?” I remembered what the homeopath said. We can always tell when she eats something with dyes. She gets very mean and defiant and acts like a different little girl. Her behavior is truly shocking. Thanks for sharing this recipe. She loves to decorate cookies, but hasn’t been able to because of the dyes. Merry Christmas!

Our little girl (almost 7) has been dye-free for around 3 years now. She would get hyperactive after sugar-free freezies and have night terrors almost every night, followed by vomiting. A friend told us about the artificial colours in food, medicines, toothpaste – and, yes, marshmallows – and its effects. A few days after we cut artificial dyes from her diet (and toothpaste), her night terrors stopped. Now it’s rare she ever has one and, if she does, we can track it to something that day that had colour in it. Tartrazine has a terrible effect on her, for sure! She’s really good about stepping away from foods with colour as she knows what it makes her feel like. I know European countries are a lot more strict about this sort of thing – hope North America will catch up soon. LOVE the cookies, by the way!!

Making these for my daughters’ school parties on Friday, so I did a test batch tonight. My frosting didn’t look good. I waited until it was white and fluffy, but it wasn’t spreadable at all–once i stopped beating it, it started to separate. I did melt the coconut oil, so maybe that was the problem? I don’t know how else to soften coconut oil. I used it as glaze over the cookies; we’ll see how it sets.

Oh no Carrie! I will try it again today and see how it goes. You could always use your favorite fool-proof frosting recipe and still dye it with the beets or spinach.

Hi Again Carrie- so, I just made some more, and the frosting turned out pretty good. I softened the coconut oil with just 15 seconds in the microwave. Then, after I spread the frosting, I put the cookies in the fridge to firm up the frosting. It spread pretty well. Make sure your beans are thoroughly pureed as well- no chunks!

I appreciate the feedback. I think for the purpose of the classroom cookies, I’ll just use a regular buttercream (that I know how to make) and will save this for when I make the cookies with my kids. 🙂 The cookies and frosting tasted good, even if my frosting looked imperfect!

Check out naturalcandystore.com for tons of dye-free holiday options (and cotton candy!!!) and diefooddye.com for tips on navigating dye-free holidays!
My daughter is happy to hand over the “fake candy” because she knows I have “safe” stuff always on-hand! I packed a bento box full of dye-free candies for a cookie decorating party at school, and not only was she thrilled, but SHE got a few jealous looks from the other kids!

okay, looks like I don’t have a rollilng pin either. can these be smoothed down with another parchment paper, or am I out of luck?

Do you know of good resources for families that want to learn more about the possible link between behavior and food additives? I met with a family this week for nutrition counseling and the young boy had huge behavior issues and a very poor diet. Cutting out artificial dyes would be a huge hurdle for them but if I had some resources to back it up, they might at least consider it. (I’m an RD)

The Feingold diet is what we used to eliminate food additives. It is
http://www.feingold.org. My oldest daughter had hyperactivity issues in kindergarten and 1st grade. We removed food coloring and it improved drastically. Then in 3rd grade she wasn’t having as much issues with hyperactivity anymore, so I let her have some food coloring at birthday parties or special occasions. Every night after ingesting it she would vomit. Ever since I removed it again from her diet, she has not vomited once. I am definitely looking into doing the natural food additives this holiday.

You can grate beets and carrots using the small holes on a box grater and then squeeze out the juice by wringing out the pulp in a square of cheesecloth. I make natural dyes all the time for my daughter who is allergic to food dyes and I find this is a quick way to make a small quantity. Blueberries makes a nice light purple colour (just squeeze the juice from a few berries using cheesecloth again) and if you put a little baking soda into the juice, it will turn it blue although that colour is not stable for long (it will turn blue/grey after a few hours). Saffron makes a beautiful sunny yellow (put a few threads in hot water and let it sit). We discovered my daughter’s allergy to dyes when we fed her organic marble cheddar for the first time vs. the usual organic white cheddar. Surprisingly, farmed salmon is also another one to watch out for as that can contain hidden food dyes – they feed the fish dyed food to give the flesh a bright orange colour and my daughter has reacted to farmed salmon as well.

You could try Garbanzo Bean flour, it’s not gritty. Bob’s Red Mill makes it, but you can make your own by just grinding up dried Garbanzo Beans. I’ve used it to make hummus that’s not gritty.

How long would you say it took for your niece’s behavior to turn around once eliminating dyes? My 4.5 year old daughter is also very smart, reads really well but I cannot keep her bottom in her chair for home-school. Would be interesting to try this theory…

Our 5 year old son has had some problems in school and is very energetic. We started changing his diet(high protein, almond/coconut milk, no dyes, no GMOs, no BHT, etc) and have seen a definite change. We can definitely tell when he has had something he shouldn’t have. I am going to be making these for sure!!! Thank you…love finding fun healthy recipes for my boys.

Great recipe 🙂 Can’t wait to give the cookies a try!
I will say, I have been using India Tree and Maggie’s Naturals for years (mainly because I’m lazy…lol) and I’ve had really great luck getting the colors to blend etc.. I think they make beautiful colors.

I had a similar experience with my Maddy. She had awful nightmares when we first moved here from the UK and it could only be the artificial colours she had on the birthday cake she ate as the rest of her diet was organic. Thank you for the idea, I had looked into the bottled dyes but was reluctant to pay big bucks got something I could reproduce with better results at home. Thank you for sharing.

Have you had any luck trying a recipe without the processed sugars which is equally as damaging as the dyes. I love these ideas, but wonder if they would still work with less sugar and natural sugars? Has anyone tried? Thank you!

Our granddaughter was tested at Michigan State University for the food dye “allergy” and the doctor told my daughter that it isn’t really an allergy. It’s a POISON TOXICITY reaction. That’s right. Poison. He said if you look at a puddle with oil in it you see a lovely rainbow. That is where food dyes come from… coal tar derivatives. We got our “ah-ha” moment when she climbed up in my lap at the end of her 4th birthday party and said, “Gramma, sometimes I just want to take my skin off!”

Hi there, re food colourings; my daughter was literally climbing the walls at bedtime, it was like she had drank 10 strong coffees! I suspected it was artificial colors because of what I’d heard about them and we were visiting my parents at the time and my father kept feeding her these incredibly bright, very cheap looking lollies! So I took her to my homeopath and he confirmed my suspicions and we began a color free diet. She can now have the odd food with colour and her behavior doesn’t seem to change. I try to keep the colors away though anyway for all my children so if the odd thing slips in its no biggie.

Thank you for the fantastic Ideas…will try the natural beet and spinach colours also the carrot suggestions. Good to know about the farmed Salmon even though no allergies, we sure don’t need all the artificial gunk.

I just love your site. I have made several recipes and my kids love them. How do you know to use the beans? Also I am trying to make my children’s diets better and am always wanting to swap ingredients but never know what to swap it for. Where did you learn how to do all that you go. Thank you and again your site is the best change my life.

We avoid artificial colouring and flavouring like the plague. My son has ADHD, and when he does get any of the artificial stuff his behaviour goes off the scale. We noticed that certain junk is worse than others: Skittles are seriously banned in our house. Those things are scary! I am looking forward to trying this recipe. I know when I’ve needed colours for icing, mashing frozen raspberries or strawberries for pink, and blueberries for mauve has worked really well for colour and flavour. We don’t have a juicer, so it’s whatever I can mash or puree!

My boys would sleep walk and have night terrors, as well as wet the bed, when they had food dye. Another one of my kids has correlated food dye to her problems sleeping. We just avoid it in general on the premise that, even if you don’t notice it’s effects, it still isn’t good for you. As for coloring things, the very best red coloring I’ve gotten came from raspberry juice. I bought frozen berries, thawed them (you could even just put a cup full in the microwave or something), and drained out the juice. Really nice color. There is a little flavor, but not too bad, and it’s raspberry – YUM! I have done spinach to get green and it worked really well, but it also flavored the frosting a little . Blueberry juice will give you a nice bluish/purple too. I haven’t tried anything else but I think there are other powders for yellows and oranges that are supposed to work well. Some companies are finally switching over to using carmine for red and that’s a natural dye made from beetle shells. Oh, and here’s a little trivia tidbit for you. In other countries, they don’t use artificial dyes. Once, we got a box of strawberry Pop Tarts from the food bank that was packaged to be sold in Australia. My kids were in heaven because, guess what? NO food dye!! If they can make it for other countries, they could make it for us too! We need to be more proactive and hold companies accountable. So glad your niece figured out what worked for her. :o)

When my oldest was 8, she started getting random aggressive and irrational behaviour. It wasn’t until I witnessed her ingest an Italian Ice right after some skittles that I realized it was a huge issue. We are a very low-sugar family, and rarely eat candy, but it was one of those extended family days where it was abundant. It was scary to watch my 8 year old out of control, and she cried because of her own behaviour and inability to control it.
We cut all dyes out of our diet for all five of my children. My children also ask now “Does it have dye in it?” We have learned to make our own dyes and we find much joy in it! The India dyes are great, as are beets, tumeric, spinach, even blueberries and raspberries (I usually grind up the freeze-dried version, so the color tends to be speckled but beautiful).

Can’t wait to try these! Wanted to add that a pinch or two of tumeric makes a beautiful yellow without changing the icing taste – especially if it’s older tumeric. We’re fans of pomegranate pink since it’s such a tasty icing. Another green icing we make is blending an avocado (instead of butter ) with “powdered sugar” and some mint extract – though I imagine there must be a way to use actual mint leaves. We’re also a sugar free family that regularly subs 60/40% powdered stevia and powdered xylitol for sugar. Neither taste great on their own, but mixed is an excellent sugar knock off in baking. (We run Bulk Barn’s granular xylitol through a coffee grinder so it’s like icing or confectioner’s sugar.) For icing though, we just stick to powdered xylitol, as powdered stevia has a strange texture. If icings are too runny, we add a bit of non GMO corn starch at a time while mixing and it helps improve the texture. Very occasionally I’ve added a pinch of xanthan or guar gum to help thicken as well.

My mother taught me as a young girl to use natural products to make eater egg dye. For those who want blue for your Christmas cookie dye use red cabbage;)

In the Kids Activity blog where they have listed 75 cookies to make, your bean cookie is listed under gluten free. I couldn’t find a comment page on that web page but I hope people will not think that these cookies are gluten free as your ingredients list flour in it. I am intrigued tho and will try to make this at our company cookie exchange day. Thanks for sharing your recipe! will let you know the outcome of it.

Cheryl- I’ve never refrigerated them, but I’ve also never refrigerated the brownies! We don’t keep them very long though, maybe just 1-3 days. If you keep them longer than that, it would be smart to refrigerate!

I can’t wait to try this recipe. I can completely relate to your niece’s food dye story. From the age of birth to 3, my son’s behavior was exceptional. He was sweet, loving, extremely intelligent, and acted more like a 40 year old than a baby/toddler. Suddenly, he wasn’t acting so sweet anymore. He had daily tantrums, his foot would tap all of the time, he became agitated easily, and he wasn’t acting like the sweet boy I once knew. This lasted until I eliminated food dye from his diet seven months ago. For three years, he consumed food dyes and his behavior was terrible. (He was not introduced to dyes until he was 3.) His behavior took a 180 degree turn seven months ago. He can concentrate again, and I notice a huge change with his friend choices. Loved relating and reading your article.

My daughter reacts to pink and red food colouring. Her reactions have gotten progressively worse each time she ingests it. It is in common antibiotics and kids medicines too so very difficult when she needs AB’s! She puffs up and goes bright red, and gets terrible stomach pains. It’s awful! The other night she ate a green jellybean at the school concert a friend gave her and for the rest of the night complained her tongue and cheeks were swollen, so we need to keep an eye now on what she eats. I actually can’t believe these dyes are allowed to be in food etc!

Thank you for sharing this we just stated the Feingold Diet, which is a dye free diet, mainly for my 5 year old who has been diagnosed with ADHD since he was 3. We have been told by several doctors and child psych that the only way to help his behavior was drug therapy. So about 4 weeks into a dye free diet I have a new child. His teachers, friends and family are amazed. My only issue has been the holiday party’s poor thing can’t enjoy it. I am so new to it I am having trouble finding substitutes thank you for giving me this so we can keep our traditional xmass cookies. I can’t wait to try these.

When my son was three, he was out of control with his emotions, always throwing tantrums and screaming and crying. I couldn’t even make it five minutes in a grocery store before he had a meltdown. I had read about the possibility of artificial food dyes altering behavior so I began eliminating them from his diet. Within two days, he was like a different person! His diet has been free of artificial dyes for about eight months now & I can’t imagine ever going back. I used blueberries to make a purple frosting for his birthday cake & I’ll definitely try the beets & spinach for next Christmas. Also, thank goodness for Trader Joes & their naturally dyed gummies & jelly beans!

@Robyn…my daughter is the same way! She can tolerate in very small doses..but she comes from her dad’s a different person because they do not eat the same as she and I do at our home despite having the means to do so. I have studied the effects of dyes and sugar and artificial nonsense with her and it is unbelievable.

I just wanted to let you know that I tried these as a tester. To compare a couple of weeks later I made a whole wheat flour instead of white beans out of curiosity. We had to use canned white beans (drained) but short of that taste, the texture of the white beans was FANTASTIC!!! I was sorely disappointed when I use the wheat flour instead because it was so crumbly. We will be sticking to white bean dough from this point on! Thank you for your blog. It is wonderful for parents like myself!

I made these yesterday, and they are amazing. The dough is extremely soft and pliable, no cracking whatsoever. They are so delicious. I made the bean based frosting, and it was great. Thanks for the tips about using other veggies and fruits for natural dyes. We don’t have allergies here, but I’m all for making our food better and healthier by substituting ingredients.

Oh my goodness, I know this is an old article, but THANK YOU for reposting it on FB. I’m pretty much a scratch cook, and suspected a while ago my daughter had behavior problems related to food dye. We did well at Easter and I got her candy from Whole Foods, but this summer we moved across the country and I’ve totally forgotten. Well, long story short we’ve had that stupid Halloween candy around and she gets one piece a day, but ALWAYS goes for sour patch kids or starbursts, junky junk. Her behavior at home has been atrocious, and this article was my ah ha moment. Even though I knew this about her, all of our transition has left me with a blank on why she’s so contentious. Thank you again for the reminder!

Thank you! I always thought that pomegranate would make a beautiful colour for icing too! I will be using the spinach this year for sure!

Thank you for sharing your experiment! I was hesitant to purchase the natural food colorings because of the cost. I will stick to homemade. Thanks.