If you’re looking for ways to get more fresh veggies into your kid’s diets, serving up salads can be a convenient option. Getting the kids to eat what you serve, on the other hand, can be an entirely different story. With a little creativity and willingness, though, you can dress up a salad that will leave even the most finicky eater willing and wanting to try it.
Before serving up your next tossed salad, try giving it a twist. By simply adding some of the things your kids already like to a basic salad, you can up the eatability factor threefold. While you can add virtually anything you’d like to any green salad, some things may be more appealing to your kids than others.
Here’s a list of six kid-friendly ways you can dress up a salad that may just help get your kids hooked.
- Add in fresh fruits. Strawberries, blueberries, apples and pears can make any bowl of greens more appealing. Since kids are more likely to eat foods that they are familiar with, pairing foods they aren’t as eager to eat with ones they eat regularly and like can entice them into eating what’s in front of them. Try lightly grilling the veggies prior to tossing them into the salad for an added twist. Doing so may just spark the kid’s interest.
- Top it off with dried fruits. Raisins, dried cranberries and dried apple slices can add both flavor and texture to an ordinary green salad. Sprinkle a handful of berries or a few slices of dried apple over the top of the greens before serving. While your child may be eager to pick these tasty treats off, encourage him to give the veggies a turn too. If you’re feeling adventurous, dehydrate your own fruits for a make your own salad topping bar.
- Sprinkle on nuts and seeds. Older children may enjoy a little crunch as they munch, so adding nuts and seeds can bring a new dimension to a basic salad. From walnuts to pine nuts, pumpkin seeds to sunflower seeds, experiment with introducing a variety of nuts to your children on their salads. You can roast seeds and nuts or gulp, even candy them. Candied pecans will be a welcomed addition to most any kid’s salad.
- Crumble on cheeses. From soft cheese to hard, shredded to sliced, there are tons of options when it comes to adding cheese to salads. Sprinkled parmesan, shredded Mexican blend, cubed cheddar and crumbled feta and blue cheese will add a burst of flavor the kids may love. Start out with mild cheese like mozzarella, then work your way up to more daring flavors.
- Dish up dips. If you’re having trouble getting your child to eat traditional salads, serve a deconstructed one. Add an assortment of fresh veggies to several small bowls, along with some dressing for dipping, and let the kids go to town. Try a variety of dressings, including both creamy and vinaigrette. Don’t forget to try plain old oil and vinegar too.
- Pile on some protein. Does your child love chicken, turkey or ham? Instead of serving a sandwich, take the sandwich contents and toss them on a salad. Try topping off your tossed creation with a sliced hardboiled egg or egg or tuna salad. You may be surprised how eager your child is to try your bread free creation.
If you’ve tried these tricks once or twice with no avail, don’t lose hope. It can take a child seven or more interactions with a food before he’ll even try it. Keep presenting different salad options, encouraging your child to just take one bite, and be a good role model by eating the salads with gusto. When you do your child will eventually come around and salads will be welcomed to make an appearance in his mealtime menus.