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Food Dyes

Once in a while I’ll add food coloring to the food I serve to my kids in an effort to make things a little more interesting and maybe to compel my son – who I like to call Mr. Picky Eater – to actually nibble a little on the food I make for him. My daughter flips out for pink pancakes and my son giggles when I draw little designs on sandwiches. It’s just something I do to try to make mealtime more amusing.

Recently I read an article that says that certain food dyes may actually be harmful to children and influence the way they behave. According to one woman quoted in the article, her son appeared to have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) until she took all the artificial dyes out of his diet and suddenly his symptoms were gone. I don’t know if I buy the idea that artificial dyes are the reason for every kid’s temperament problems, but it did get me thinking about my liberal use of food dyes. Is it really bad for my kids?

Not only do I use food dyes once in a while in the foods I prepare, but I’ve been known to put a few drops into the bathtub to try to entice my kids into the bath while also teaching them about how different colors mix together to form different combinations. It was an effective solution for babies who hated bath time. My son and daughter really love when I add the colors, but I never stopped to think that it might be doing bad things to their skin or seeping into their bodies and actually doing some harm.

So does this mean I’m going to rummage through my cabinets and toss out all the food dyes I have? Probably not. I am going to think a little more carefully before lacing their food with dye just for the entertainment value. I may look into buying some dye made from all natural ingredients. We have a health food store in town and I’m pretty sure I saw food dye made out of organic ingredients there, so I’ll probably head over there and pick some up. I would hate to think that pink pancakes might actually be harming my kids!

Then again, my kids don’t really have behavioral problems. I suppose it may be different when there is a real issue present.

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