Wednesday, May 25, 2011

When is my child ready for artificial colors?

There is a great deal of information out there to help parents know when to transition their child to solid foods. We also generally know that baby's first foods should be wholesome, natural, and free of artificial colors.

So how do you know when your child is ready to take the next step, to artificially-colored food? Here's a few guiding principles that can help you identify artificial coloring readiness:

  • Has your child begun refusing all foods that aren't screaming red, neon green, or electric blue? If so, it may be time to make the switch to foods that are colors never found in nature.
  • If your child is excessively calm or lethargic, the stimulant effect that artificial colors have on many children may be just the pick-me-up they need.
  • Is your child the victim of taunting or bullying from other kids because they won't drink the Kool-Aid? Introducing them to artificial colors may help their social life.
  • Talk to your doctor about whether your child is getting enough petroleum products in their diet. Added colorings may boost their intake of fossil fuels.
  • If your child needs to take medicine, they may accept it better if it is bright pink or blood red.
  • Once artificial flavors have been introduced, colors may be necessary to distinguish "the green flavor" from "the purple flavor."
Adding artificial colors doesn't have to be difficult. You can find them in many mundane products, from marshmallows to hummus. There are thousands of artificially colored products readily available in your neighborhood supermarket, and many of them are targeted directly at children.

If you're reading from the European Union, you may find it more difficult to get your child their daily dose of artificial colors. Try ordering groceries from US-based companies online, or ask friends to stock up on artificially colored foods when on vacation in the States.

[mandatory "this is satire" disclaimer for those who need it. I do not actually think any child ever needs artificial colors in their diet.]