It’s easy to avoid harmful food additives once you learn the basics. Take some time to educate yourself and familiarise yourself with what additives are not good to provide your children with the best nutrition possible. You might think that if a food is allowed to be sold in Australia that it’s totally safe and the additives in it are fine to consume in any amount. Unfortunately, just because ingredients are allowed to be put into food, it doesn’t always mean they are okay to eat. Some food additives can cause a range of symptoms including behavioural problems, asthma, learning difficulties, migraines and hay fever.

I’ve been feeding my family additive free for quite a while now. I hadn’t given it any thought at all until eleven years ago when one of the mums at my oldest daughter’s ballet class was telling me about a book she was reading. She said her friend went to her house, looked in her pantry and told her that almost everything had to go! I thought my family had a very healthy diet, and we mostly did, but when I took a closer look at some of the ingredients in what we were eating I was pretty shocked!!

I started the process of changing the way we ate fairly slowly so I wasn’t overwhelmed. I read a book by Julie Eady called Additive Alert. It came with a small book mark that I could take to the supermarket so I could easily check an ingredient list and make the decision to buy something or not. I’d suggest if you want to avoid additives in the diet of your children that you read a book or look at some of the websites on this topic. I’d also suggest that you make the change slowly. Every time you go shopping have a good look at the ingredients of what you need to buy and if the ingredients are not safe in what you normally get look for an alternative. In no time at all you will have replaced your pantry staples with additive free options and it won’t be overwhelming or stressful to do. It’s also really important to read the ingredients list on a packet rather than just look at the marketing hype on the front. It often says ‘all natural’ or ‘no artificial colours and flavours’ but it isn’t always necessarily true. Be smarter than that and take a couple of seconds to check if this is true.

You might wonder what do when we go to parties or eat out? We don’t eat out much – we can’t because of my son’s food allergies. When we do eat out though we all order what we want and enjoy the treat. It’s the same at parties. I do encourage my kids to choose healthier options but I don’t ruin the moment by telling my kids what they can and can’t eat. I let them choose and enjoy it (I do take my son’s own food due to his food allergies though). When I prepare party food at my home however I always make sure that it is additive free – and yummy of course!! Remember that additive free doesn’t have to mean lots of hard work and flavour free!

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Planning, it makes life easier.