What are other options? You have to be a little creative but we've found tons of fun alternatives so my kids never feel they are missing out. Here is a link that shows you how to make homemade grenadine. Beware before clicking that link; know that you are going to an amazing cupcake blog. Proceed with caution! :) I keep this delicious syrup in my fridge at all times and we use it for ton of things listed below. I have used the same recipe using POM tangerine juice as well. One thing I do change in the recipe is I sweeten the syrup with agave nectar instead of sugar (We also avoid refined sugar as much as possible.). It does not thicken like a traditional syrup but it is every bit as yummy and much healthier!
We use this syrup for snow cones (We actually bought our snow cone maker at Wal-Mart for $15 at the start of the summer but this will give you an idea.) on hot summer evenings. We also make homemade cherry "Sprite" which is simply a mix of seltzer water, a little white grape juice concentrate and a spoonful of the grenadine. Yum! Thatcher actually prefers a little of this syrup on his pancakes some mornings rather than the pure maple the rest of us adore.
Instead of popsicles that cost too much and are full of dyes and refined sugar we use an inexpensive popsicle maker I picked up for super cheap. We fill the cups with different diluted juices and my kids love it!
Also, you can make yummy jello with your child's favorite fruit juice and plain gelatin. The gelatin is less than $1 a box and you can use the juice you have at home. The recipe for Knox Blocks (the same idea as Jello Jigglers) is right on the back of the box and will take you five minutes to prepare. Again I use the agave nectar to sweeten rather than sugar if needed at all. Plain Jello has not one good thing in it; it's full of dyes and chemicals and artificial flavors. Ick! Try this instead. We cut ours out using cookie cutters in fun shapes to celebrate whatever season we are in for some extra fun, too!
These yummy Sundrop candies are great substitutes for M&M's and my kids love a few of them sprinkled in a bowl of freshly popped popcorn! My kids also love jelly beans or gummies we buy at our local health food store made with only natural dyes, too. The same company that make the gummies also makes a great candy sprinkle that is artificial dye free, too. My boys love these sprinkled on the occasional homemade ice cream, sugar cookie or cupcake.
For a special drink on the go my boys love 100% fruit juice boxes (avoiding ones with preseratives...and yes labels can and do say 100% juice but have yucky stuff added in) or Vitamin Water.
In the realm of breakfast cereal we stick with Cheerios, an organic version of Rice Krispies from Erewhon (to avoid the BHT in many breakfast cereals) or cereals from the Envirokidz line. No Froot Loops here! :) You would be surprised what cereals have dyes in them. At one time Life cereal had dye (Can't say if it still does because I haven't checked in over a year.). Why??? Life is a brown cereal; why dyes are needed is beyond me!
One last thought...the more you buy that is organic the more you are able to avoid artificial dyes. This is true for everything from breakfast cereal to granola bars to lunch treats. I know what my store carries and stock up on these items when they go on sale about once every three or four months. I don't pay full price for anything! :)
If you have your own favorites, please leave a comment. Or better yet write a blog post and link it here so we can all see what other great ideas are out there!