Kid-Friendlier Sweetsuser rating
If you want to treat the kids in your life without giving in to their pleas for sugary candy, take a look at these organic and natural treats made with alternative sweeteners such as brown rice syrup or fortified with juice. Kids-and adults-will love them.
Check out the growing number of products that address health concerns or dietary intolerances. Toronto's Pure Fun, offers a line of confections that don't contain artificial dyes or flavors; are gluten- and dairy-free; and are all certified organic, kosher and vegan. Another manufacturer who has focused on the more-healthful confections market is Elizabeth Begosh, founder of Betty's Tasty Buttons, located in Philadelphia. Begosh's line of artisan fudge is all natural and uses organic sugar and Fair-Trade chocolate.
Sunflower Food and Spice Company has added to the healthful treats category with its newest item: Sunny Seed Drops. The chocolate-covered sunflower seeds with candy coatings, have recently been approved by schools' wellness programs throughout the country as a healthy snack for kids. Among other healthful ingredients, the line uses natural colorings: green comes from spinach juice, paprika is used for orange, turmeric for yellow, purple cabbage for grape and beets for pink.
Long-standing favorite Jelly Belly, too, is offering new jellybeans made with natural flavors and earth-toned colors derived from natural sources such as red cabbage juice and grape skins.
Seeking Sweetening Alternatives
Interested in avoiding artificial sweeteners such as Splenda and sorbitol? Whether you're skipping them for personal reasons or because of food allergies and other health conditions, progressive candy companies are making it easy. Take Glee Gum, which is sweetened with cane sugar and rice syrup and contains no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners or preservatives.
Or enjoy Pure Fun's candies-hard candy drops, pinwheels, citrus slices, cotton candy and lollipops-sweetened primarily with brown rice syrup and evaporated cane sugar that don't have the same so-called rush as refined sugar. In 2009, Pure Fun will introduce organic freeze pops sweetened with lemon, lime and cherry juices.
YummyEarth's candies are sweetened with organic raw brown sugar, tapioca or rice sugar. The organic lollipops and drops are also gluten-, egg-, dairy-, peanut-, wheat- and soy-free, and flavored with real fruit extracts. Innovative Candy Concepts in Atlanta has revamped its entire product line to be healthier for children, offering no refined sugars and a 50-percent to 60-percent reduction in calories from the original line, especially appealing as childhood obesity increases. Its Too Tarts® SmartChoiceTM line includes Sour Blast and Super Sweet spray candies, Xtra Sour Goo and Suck Ups, and contains fruit juice concentrates.