It has been known for a long time that immature eye development causes young children to be attracted to bright things.Born color blind and up until the age of three, children see a diluted version of the colors that an adult sees. Toy manufactures learned early on that young children prefer primary colors and that bright toys equal sales revenue. The same concept holds true for food.
The Atlas Abscura reflects back to the ‘70s when Franken Berry Cereal was sending frantic parents to emergency rooms worried about their children’s bright pink bowel movements. The culprit was not a life threatening disease but red dyes number two and three. Dating back even earlier, Fairy Bread started in the 1920s. This white bread smothered in butter and adorned with sprinkles is making a comeback in trendy eateries and is sure to please the visual senses (even if it is a nutritional nightmare.) We must admit that five decades brought a lot of positive research and fortunately safer dye alternatives became readily available.
Healthy cooking doesn’t have to be unattractive, unhealthy or boring. We can still tap the eye-appealing colors that a child is attracted to in a much safer way. A quick Pintrest search entitled “healthy rainbow recipes for kids” returns information on how to make everything from Rainbow Cauliflower Crust Pizza to Rainbow Waffles.
Throw in a gadget like egg molds shaped like animals and toast that can brand the words, “I Love You” centered between the crusts. How about a food plate in the shape of a face where you can add food features like spaghetti hair or googly-eyed tooth picks that can be inserted to give their sandwich some personality? The options are only as limited as the imagination.
We know children can be finicky eaters. There are easy ways to play on their senses and make food fun and eye appealing. We can only hope it gets them reaching for the broccoli and kale.