Fun for Kids: Safe Berry-Based Food Colors

The FDA has estimated that between 47,000 and 94,000 Americans are sensitive to food dye Yellow No. 5. It can cause asthma, hives, headache, and is linked to behavioral changes.

In a double-blind study reported in the Journal of Pediatrics, the study clearly demonstrated a relation between ingestion of Yellow No. 5 and behavioral changes in children who are allergic to it. At the moment there are seven dyes on the market. The rest have been taken off the market because they have been found to be toxic or carcinogenic.

You can make fun children’s food–cookies, cakes, and candies–using juice dyes instead of store bought artificial food colors. Here is how to make your own juice dyes:

One or more of the following: frozen berries, canned beets, or 1/2 cup plant material (blueberries, cranberries, strawberry).
Water as needed.

Use the juice straight from thawed berries, or juice drained from canned beets. Mix colors for hue variations.

If using fresh berries, or fruit, combine the plant material with 1 cup of water in a pan and simmer over low heat for 1/2 hour or so, adding more water as it evaporates.

Plant suggestions include blueberries, purple grapes, cranberries, beets, and turmeric (for yellow)!

Parents: Do you have a favorite kids’ recipe with berries or a great dye alternative? Let us know in the comment field below.


j A4 years ago

good to know

Angela N.
Angela N5 years ago


Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton5 years ago

Thanks for the info.

Joe R.
Joe R5 years ago


Carole L.
Carole L6 years ago

Don't forget vegetables, spinach for green, carrots for orange.

Gordana Roljic
Gordana Roljic6 years ago

nice article

Robert O.
Robert O6 years ago


Monica M.
Past Member 7 years ago

I try to watch what I eat all the time but it's hard. One good thing has arisen out of this and that is I watch what my son eats now and try to restrict artificial dyes as much as I can.Spelling Games

Maryam Afshar
Maryam A7 years ago

I know it is deliciouse .Thanks.