Goldfish Colors are now…

…made from all-natural colors!!! Beet juice, paprika, turmeric, huito juice, and watermelon are now the coloring agents for one of the nation’s most popular snack foods. This is huge! Additionally, Pepperidge Farm has added an extra 7 grams of whole grains to each serving of the whole grain variety (12g vs. 5g). This means that enough Americans have voted with their food dollar (by buying alternative, dye-free products), that the snack food found in church nurseries, day cares, and preschools nationwide was forced to step up to the plate and change their ingredient list. The tipping point has officially begun. How can you help drive the momentum? First, continue to refuse to buy products that contain synthetic food dyes (red no. __, yellow no.__, blue no. __). Next, take a moment to thank and support the companies that are taking steps to improve their products. (You can send a thank you email to Pepperidge Farm here.) Finally, continue to educate your friends and family on why you avoid certain ingredients.

Remember, knowledge is power. Here are some facts that you can share with your friends and family to help encourage them to make the switch to a dye-free way of eating. First off, did you know that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recently admitted they were wrong about artificial colors? They have discovered that artificial colors, including red no. 40, yellow 5 and 6, and blue no 1, are directly related to ADD/ADHD, behavior issues, and increased cancer risk. This is a great eye-opener! After all, the AAP has long been considered one of the top authorities when it comes to our children’s health. To illustrate this point even further, check out this British study published in the Lancet: In a blind study, 25% of parents (1 in 4) noticed behavioral issues and/or hyperactivity in their school aged children after they consumed just 20 mg of artificial colors. To put that in perspective, 20 mg equals the amount of food dye in 2 tsp of cake frosting, 8 skittles, or 6 fruit snacks. One theory on this is that their little bodies don’t know how to handle the toxins in the dyes. The hyperactivity is the only option their body can come up with for getting them out.

Even in adults, consuming synthetic food dyes has been linked to anxiety, panic attacks, gastrointestinal issues, birth defects, unexplained infertility, metabolic issues, and cancer. That’s a pretty scary list for something that offers absolutely no health benefit whatsoever. We should also remember that at one time, there were 13 FDA approved food dyes, all derived from coal tar. Seven of them have already been taken off the market. Enough families reported severe enough side effects that the FDA was forced to take action. By avoiding synthetically produced food dyes, you will ensure that your family doesn’t become one of the future driving statistics.

So, are goldfish crackers to be considered a healthy snack food for your family? Yes and no. In no way are goldfish crackers are a pure, healthy food. After all, they are still made with vegetable oils and autolyzed yeast. However, in our society, goldfish are a popular snack food that is hard to avoid. Goldfish have been a staple in day cares, nurseries, and preschools for decades. When compared to other popular toddler snacks (Ritz crackers, Fruit Loops, etc.), goldfish are definitely one of the better choices. When eaten in moderation with friends, a handful (or two) of goldfish a week are unlikely to do any long term damage to your family’s health.

On a side not, I’ve tried making homemade goldfish crackers… twice. Both attempts failed. If you have a good recipe, please let me know!

Does this leave you hungry for more?!?  Check out the following real food recipes…perfect for snow days!

French Onion Soup
Maple-Carrot Souffle Cups
Loaded Baked Potato Mash
Healthy(er) Rotel Dip

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Truestar Health


  1. Hey Katie, I tried the recipe below before. I got it from Country Living and then changed it up a little bit until I found something that worked for me. It turned out okay. Flavorful enough but I think while it was fun to make with the kids, I would still probably purchase my goldfish crackers instead.

    •1 C all-purpose flour (I tried it with whole wheat flour but it didn't come out right)

    •4 T cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

    •8 oz cheddar cheese (I used extra sharp cheddar for extra flavor but you could really use any kind of cheese your family enjoys)

    •1/2 t salt
    •1/2 t fresh-ground pepper

    1.Mix the flour, butter, cheese, salt, and pepper together using a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse meal. ( I would pulse it slowly a few seconds at a time until I got the consistency I wanted)

    2.Mix in 3 tablespoons of water, one tablespoon at a time, and only enough so that the dough forms a ball and rides the blade.

    3.Remove, wrap in plastic or wax paper, and chill for 20 minutes.

    4.Line 2 baking pans with parchment paper and set aside.

    5.Roll the dough out to 1/8-inch thickness.

    6.Cut out as many crackers as possible. We used a goldfish cookie cutter, but then also made stars and hearts. You could really do any shape you wanted.

    7.Place them 1 inch apart on the prepared baking pans.

    8.Bake at 350 F until golden and crisp – 15 to 20 minutes

  2. Thanks Jen! The two times I've tried it, I played around with the Country Living version as well. The first time, I don't think I baked them long enough; they didn't get crispy. The second time, I think I used too much whole wheat flour. They were really heavy. Did yours get “pillow-y” like goldfish? If so, I'm in!

  3. Wow, this is right on! I always thought Danica had behavioral issues when she ate things with artifical colors. Now I will be much more aware of what she gets.

  4. Glad I could help Christa! All but one of the families I suggested this too noticed a difference in the behavioral issues after removing the fake colors. Have you noticed an improvement with Danica?

  5. Pepperidge Farms Goldfish have preservatives that affect behavior. You won't find it the label.

    A Feingolder

  6. Here are two options from one of my favorite sites, Weelicious:

    Whole Wheat Cheddar Crackers

    Cheddar Wafers

  7. mmortal03 says:

    Unfortunately, they still use annatto, which is natural, and which I am allergic to.

    • I agree, bummer on the annatto. It is still not a food that I would personally buy, but I think it’s awesome that consumer demands are starting to create a dye-free demand!


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