I love eating salads. I would probably eat a salad every day, but sometimes it seems like such a hassle to get everything out and prepped for just one salad. I decided I am going to try a new method. Get everything out once, prep for multiple salads and then store things so they are easy to access for a salad anytime.
With all this salad on my brain, I started thinking about how I can get my kids to eat salad. They love vegetables, but don’t really love salad. These are the barriers I came up with:
- Not easy to eat. If the lettuce pieces are too big, or carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc are in too big of pieces they are less likely to want to eat it.
- Unfamiliar items on the salad. If they don’t really know what something is or haven’t had a lot of experience eating that particular food, then the salad goes untouched.
- Sometimes kids don’t like their food mixed. A salad is the epitome of mixed foods. Here are my solutions and tips for getting your kids to not only eat salad, but love it!
Step #1: First thing is making it easy for yourself. Get out everything you love on a salad all at once and prep each item for easy access the next time you want to make one.
Step #2: Cut things into very small pieces so that they are easy for your kids to get in their mouths and chew. This picture would be ‘adult-size’ lettuce.
Take it 1 step further and chop it up into ‘child’-size’ lettuce.
Raw carrots can be hard for little kids to chew, and also can be a choking hazard. Try shredding carrots for a softer texture and a much easier to chew carrot! I used the fine-grate on my grater, but I have also used my food processor for a little bit bigger shred.
Peel and dice cucumbers into tiny pieces. By removing the skin, you decrease any bitter flavor and also make it easier to bite into and chew for little mouths.
Step #3: Provide them with options they are familiar with and enjoy. You can also have a few options that they aren’t familiar with as long as there are some available that they know and like.
Step #4: Let them choose and build their own salad. Maybe they won’t choose every topping that you hope they would, but you have to start somewhere! If you provide enough healthy options, they will choose the things they like and eventually will branch out to trying new things. Maybe they won’t pile all of the toppings on, but will eat them separate. That is totally ok in my book because the point is that they are eating a variety of fruits and vegetables!
Step #5: Have a few yummy dressings for them to try. Instead of pouring them on top of the salad, let them dip their salad into the dressing. Kids love to dip things and if it tastes good they will eat it. If they love ranch, let them have ranch!