Strategies for Countering Color Issues

There will be a few struggles at the table with your child that have nothing to do with food. These often include; random refusals of longtime favorites, holding out for dessert or other foods instead of dinner, the macaroni and cheese strike where all other foods are refused except the one your child wants.

There are also genuine issues that kids develop toward some foods. One bitter taste of broccoli may sour your child on trying other green foods. The “strings” on a banana still send chills up my spouse’s spine. We can all name one experience that made us think we hated lima beans. These are real food issues, many of which can be solved in time with a bit of persistence, creativity and compromise.

The tricky part is trying to figure out the source of the issue — color, taste or texture — when your child is too young to express it herself.

Color Issues

Around our house, the flag of battle was orange. For others, green signifies a fight. If you notice your child consistently refuses foods of a certain color, here are some fun tips to try:

  • Switch up the flavors. Try serving green fruits like kiwi or honeydew instead of green vegetables to help your child realize that green is just a color, not a taste. For my child, Mandarin oranges were the breakthrough switch-up.
  • Celebrate with food. Use a holiday like St. Pat’s or Halloween to create a special color-themed menu with fun names for the dishes. The creative play with food may be all your child needs to give green (or orange, yellow, or red) a new try.
  • Presentation counts. I was styling a food shot of a recipe for my blog and decided to have some fun with the carrot soufflé by putting a smiley face of raisins on top. Later when I placed the dish on our family table, you can imagine my shock when my child ate three helpings of the same dish she had refused probably 20 times before.
  • Eat a Rainbow. Try hosting a family project to “eat a rainbow” of foods in a week. Make a special outing or activity the prize for success. The emphasis on all colors not just the problem one can help de-emphasize that one color issue as well as the challenge and goal.


Published on: September 27, 2011
About the Author
Photo of Beth Bader

Beth Bader is the coauthor with Ali Benjamin of the acclaimed book, The Cleaner Plate Club, designed to help parents understand picky eating behaviors; where they originate, and how to deal with them creatively to get kids to eat better.

Get Dr. Greene's Wellness RecommendationsSignup now to get Dr. Greene's healing philosophy, insight into medical trends, parenting tips, seasonal highlights, and health news delivered to your inbox every month.
No comments yet. Start the conversation!
Add your comment