Dye Filled · Dye Free

Snowcone Meltdown: The Kona Ice Conundrum





Snowcone. Sno ball. Shaved ice. Whatever you call it where you’re from, it still strikes fear in the heart of dye free moms everywhere.

Why in the world am I talking about snowcones in late October? Here at my kids’ new school, the Kona Ice truck comes once a month. Yes, once a dreaded month. Not to sound like a Debbie Downer, but for the past 6 years, every time my kids saw a snowcone stand (and in Texas, they were plentiful), I died a little inside. I am NOT exaggerating. As a dye free mom, there’s not much worse than a cupful of shaved ice drenched in artificially dyed syrups.

I get hives just looking at the syrup bottles all lined up in a row.

In fact, I don’t even get the dyed one for myself. I seriously cringe when I see everyone around me eating them.

Thankfully, we found a way around all of this.

Or so I thought.

We had long since discovered that at some of the stands, the “white ones” SEEMED to be perfectly safe. Until last week. Everytime my kids are faced with a situation at school or otherwise where they’ll likely encounter dyes, I always tell them the “safer” colors they can have. By “safer” I mean we choose the colors least likely to cause a reaction, for us it’s usually yellow or green.

This time wasn’t any different, this was the second time the Kona Ice truck had been at the school and the first time around, my 8 yr old Paige, was sick so she didn’t get a snowcone that week. When it was time to go to school that day, I handed her the money and told her she could get the white one since we were pretty sure it had no dyes in it. (In hindsight, I should have known better since I’ve been doing this dye free thing for so long, I even wrote an article a while back on how food companies use blue to make white). She was totally fine with that and off to school they went.

You might also be interested in   Why so blue? The surprising ingredient that's sometimes hidden in marshmallows.

Fast forward to 2:30 pm and the kids come home. I fed them a snack and they went off to play. Pretty soon Paige came back and things just deteriorated quickly. She sometimes develops this “pest mode” and after all of this I totally see the connection, but we’ll get to that in a second. When she’s in this pestering mood, there’s no stopping her. She likes to touch you, aggravate you and get in your face. Repeatedly. She’ll drive you up one wall and completely down the other until you’ve reached your limit and then some.

After a couple of hours, it all turned into a mini meltdown. By bedtime they were all little zombies, but Paige was especially tired. She was ready to go to bed half an hour before it was even time.

I already knew that the next morning was going to be extra tough. I can tell at this point in the game how she’s going to react after she’s been exposed to dyes and about 30 minutes after she came home that previous afternoon, I had a pretty good idea what was going on.

That morning was a full blown nightmare. She was extra hard to wake up and extremely obstinant about what she wanted for breakfast. By the time she had eaten, we were running late and my fuse was running short. This is when things got hairy. After thrashing around for 5 minutes and crying because she didn’t like any of her clothes, we finally found clothes she would tolerate.

Getting her dressed when she’s like this is downright exhausting. I mean, over the top, bone tiring. Her favorite move is to pretend she can’t get her head or her arms in the shirt, kicking and crying the entire time. And when she’s finally done with her shirt, it’s the same way with her pants. By the time we all got out the door, we were mentally exhausted.

As soon as I dropped the kids off, I immediately came home and emailed Kona Ice to see if they could send me a list of ingredients since their website didn’t have much information. Thankfully they were able to send me a list of each and every flavor and their ingredients. And guess what? The white wedding cake snowcone that sweet Paige got had YELLOW #5 in it. Who would have thought? I know now that Yellow is one of her triggers and is now removed from her “safe color list”.

Kona Ice was extremely helpful and graciously sent the list below. The customer service rep even emailed me back and apologized and asked if my daughter was ok.

While they do have several dye free flavors, you have to be specific when you order. And thankfully there are several yummy flavors without artificial dyes, so next Kona Ice day, my kids will get a list in their money baggie with the flavors they can have and the words DYE FREE written beside them just in case.

According to the list they sent me, the ones below are artificial dye free. It’s a pretty big list of dye free flavors, if you ask me. The ones with (dye free) beside them ALSO have a dye filled version, so you have to specifically ask for that one in DYE FREE.

  • Blue Raspberry (dye free)
  • Cappuccino
  • Caramel
  • Cheesecake
  • Coconut (dye free)
  • Cola
  • Groovy Grape (dye free)
  • Horchata
  • Island Rush (dye free)
  • Lemonade
  • Ninja Cherry (dye free)
  • Pina Colada
  • Root Beer
  • Strawberry’d Treasure (dye free)
  • Wedding Cake (dye free)

Click the graphic below for a complete list of flavors and ingredients. 




The next time the Kona Ice truck comes to my kids’ school, we’ll be better prepared. Thanks Kona Ice for being so transparent!






One thought on “Snowcone Meltdown: The Kona Ice Conundrum

  1. Very interesting! We’ve been trying to keep processed food from Tate. I notice an increase in bad or tough behavior when she’s had processed sugar. She hasn’t had much exposure to food dye yet to know a reaction but knowing its bad for you I just simply keep it away as much as possible.

Leave a Reply