Food coloring is fun with Easter eggs, but can also be added to a toddler's food.

Food Coloring and Toddlers

by Michael Brent

Kids love to use food coloring to dye Easter eggs into a variety of bright colors. If you're having a tough time getting your toddler to try new foods, add a few drops of food coloring to certain foods to create a colorful dish that might make her curious enough to give it a try.

1. Picky Eaters

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, and mothers often find it challenging getting children of this age to eat the healthy, nutritious foods their growing young bodies need. Mothers who run into this problem can try a variety of different tactics. Toddlers will respond to bright colors and silly names, so put some fun in a toddler's food adding food coloring to certain types of foods, turning a drab meal into a brightly colored plate full of fun.

2. Involving Toddlers

To keep a toddler engaged, have her prepare the food with you so she can choose her favorite color and watch as the food changes with just a few drops of food coloring. By helping with the food preparation, your child will be more likely to want to taste the food she's helped to prepare, especially if you add a wacky color to it and give it a silly name. This is especially helpful when trying to encourage a toddler to eat something new that she would otherwise be disinclined to sample.

3. Fun Ideas

If your little girl doesn't want to drink her milk, add a few drops of red food coloring until it turns pink, and declare it's special milk, fit for a princess. A toddler will be more likely to try healthy whole-grain toast for breakfast if she helps you turn it into painted toast. Simply mix a small amount of milk with different colors of food coloring and use paintbrushes to paint designs such as hearts and stars on the bread. When toasted, the designs you painted will be colorfully vibrant.

4. Green Eggs and Ham

If your toddler is a fan of the Dr. Seuss classic "Green Eggs and Ham," have your toddler help you prepare a batch with you. Show your child how to break some eggs into a bowl, and then help her whip the eggs with a whisk. Then, have her add a few drops of food coloring into the beaten eggs until they reach the desired shade of green. In addition, you can also add green food coloring to a piece of fried ham, although it may not absorb the green food coloring as well as the eggs.

5. Healthy Alternatives

Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has ruled there is no proven link between artificial food coloring and hyperactivity in children, there has been enough anecdotal evidence over the years that many parents are understandably wary. If you want to err on the side of safety, look for natural ways to add color to food. Adding some beet juice, for example, can give plain, white yogurt a pinkish hue without changing the taste. Turmeric mixed with lemon juice can create a bright yellow, while red cabbage can be boiled in a small amount of water to produce a purple coloring; add a bit of baking soda to this, and it will become blue. For a natural -- and healthier -- take on the "Green Eggs and Ham" recipe, add chopped, steamed spinach to the scrambled eggs, which will turn the eggs bright green.

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