This year for St. Patrick’s Day I volunteered to bring in green cupcakes to my daughter’s class. I love making fun food for kids, but I don’t love the negative side effects of food dye on children’s behavior. Many studies have shown that children are particularly susceptible to the effects of food dyes, especially those with ADHD and ADD. Add white sugar, white flour and food dye to the mix and you have a recipe for disaster.It seems that the United States is behind on the issue of elminating artificial food dye in packaged foods. The Center for Science in the Public Interest group recently posted an article about the actions that the British and European government have taken on ending the use of food dyes throughout Europe. Evident to this change is the difference between the Kellog’s Nutri-Grain Cereal Bars made in the United States compared to the same exact product in Britain. The bars made in United States contain red number 40, yellow number 6 and blue number 1 dyes. The bars produced in Britain use beetroot red, annatto and paprika extract to color the bars.
The Food and Drug Administration is trying to implement a ban on several food dyes. Review this list from NPR to see the food dyes under scrutiny.
I love my daughter’s teachers too much to subject them to a room full of hyper kids for the day, so I made natural green cupcakes, using spinach to dye the cupcakes green. By using whole-wheat flour, applesauce and spinach to make these cupcakes, I transformed a recipe for diaster into a fairly healthy mid-day treat.
I asked the teachers to let me know how the kids liked them, and everyone of the kids gobbled them up! They had no clue that they were getting a serving of healthy veggies in their treat. Make these for your kids and let me know if they like them. If you would like more guilt-free, vegan, low-calorie or healthy cupcakes, check out my NEW book, Guilt-Free Cupcakes: Indulge without the bulge that is available now! It just hit Amazon today and it is available in print or on the Kindle.
Top of the morning to ya Spinach Cupcakes
- 2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
- 3/4 cups Splenda Sugar Blend
- 1/2 cup nonfat dried milk
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 1 small package neufchatel cheese
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. King Arthur Green Natural Food Color
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line mini-muffin tin with mini liners.
2.Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
3.Puree the applesauce and spinach in a food processor and pulse until combined. Make in batches to ensure the spinach is completely pureed.
4. Mix spinach mixture and vanilla into the flour mixture by hand. Place spoonful of batter in each muffin tin.
5.Bake for 10 minutes.
6. Meanwhile make frosting by combining neufchatel cheese with powdered sugar, natural food color and vanilla extract in a food processor.
7. Let them cool completely, then frost.