If there’s one time to relax about sugary foods with your kids, birthday parties may be that time. Birthday parties are the time for ‘sometimes food’. If you want to prepare lolly bags or serve lollies at your child’s party but also want to minimise the mental here’s some tips to keep the kids from bouncing off the walls.
Colour me crazy
Sugar has a bad rep for causing hyperactivity and a bad case of the naughties in kids but in actual fact it’s not just the sugar causing the bad behaviour it’s the artificial colourings and in some cases the flavours that do the damage.
Australian based Food Intolerance Network has a fact sheet about food chemicals including artificial colours and behaviour and birthdays parties. The good news is that you can still create lolly bags without having to make anything yourself from scratch.
The 6 worst offenders
Many companies are listening to consumers concerns about the effects of food colouring on their kid’s behaviour and removing the top 6 offenders. In fact, within the EU, foods that contain these bad behaviour inducing food colours must now carry a mandatory warning “may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children”.
There are currently no labelling regulations regarding these artificial colours in Australia. They’re primarily used in cordials, lollies, cakes and softdrinks so it’s no wonder our kids have a bad case of cray cray after the average birthday.
The top 6 offenders and their E numbers to look out for on labels are:
- Tartrazine (102)
- Quinoline yellow (104)
- Sunset yellow FCF (110)
- Carmoisine (122)
- Ponceau 4R (124)
- Allura red AC (129)
Aldi has removed the top 6 food colours from its own brand of food products along with a further 8 artificial colours. Their Choceur range of chocolates include mini chocolate bars in milk chocolate or white chocolate with rice crispies that are the perfect size for lolly bags
Natural Confectionary Company
Natural Confectionary Company produce a huge range of lollies and sweets that are free from artificial colours. Just using their range alone will give you scope to create well stocked kid friendly lolly bags. From dinosaurs, snakes, sour squirms, jelly babies and fruity chews, Natural Confectionary Company lollies are the go to sweet treat for party food and lolly bags.
Artificial colours can also cause allergic reactions as well as crazy behaviour but by far the biggest concern regarding allergies at birthday parties are food allergies like peanut and egg. It’s good form to check with parents of kids attending your child’s birthday party about any life threatening allergies beforehand. Most parents of highly allergic kids are used to working around their child’s allergy at parties and are usually prepared with their own party food, treats and in some cases a slice of cake. So don’t be offended if one of your party guests arrives with an esky bag full of safe food for them.
Avoiding tantrums and tears with artificial colour free lolly bags
No one pretends that lolly bags are remotely healthy but by consciously avoiding lollies loaded with artificial colours we can at least avoid the after party tantrums and tears.
Check out some sugar-free party bag ideas here.