Salad for kids? You betcha ya. This salad is scrumptious and adaptable to suit your family’s taste preferences.
* This post is in partnership and sponsored by Half Your Plate Canada. All opinions remain my own (because I truly do love vegetables).
How to Build a Kid-Friendly Salad is the salad we enjoy 2-4 times per week. It’s the salad my kids ask for (yes, all 3), it’s quick and easy to loaded up at least half your plate with vegetables, and above all else, it tastes really freaking good. Since Half Your Plate Canada is partnering with me for this post it’s easy to see why I’m sharing what is my “secret family recipe”. Only, no longer a secret obviously. You might remember my Celery Lentil Salad that I previously partnered up with Half Your Plate Canada for. As you may have guessed, Half Your Plate is all about filling up at least half your plate with fruits and vegetables, which makes me a very happy momma.
A few weeks ago, I attended the Canadian Produce Association Marketing Trade Show (aka #CPMA2017) to scope out … well, produce. I got to see produce growers making fruits and vegetables more appealing to kids and families (think handy veggie snack pack designed to entice kids), new products and innovations (Arctic Apple anyone?) as well as lots of sampling (can you guess what my favourite part was?). I returned home tired, full, and feeling more excited about fruits and vegetables than I have in a while. Throughout the trade show I kept thinking about this salad. If there’s a dish that gets my kids excited about vegetables, this salad was the start of it.
There’s deep satisfaction in filling at least half your kid’s plate (and your own!) with salad. Bursting with nutrients, these salads are customizable to a certain extend making them an ideal alternative to the usual steamed vegetable. The ingredients shown above are included in all our salads. One child adores tomatoes so we load up her salad with those, another bell peppers, and finally my toddler who gets a bit of extra cheese (because she’s a toddler and since she’s eating a salad she can have as much cheese with it as she wants in my opinion). We customize each salad to taste, but only within the parameters above, ensuring I’m not a short-order cook.
A couple of pro-tips for introducing salad to babies, toddlers, and kids:
- serve salad first before any other food hits the table (and don’t serve anything else till it’s gone, hardcore but effective);
- cut down on snacking between meals to make sure kids are hungry;
- don’t include any vegetable they detest (especially at first);
- cut all pieces into age appropriate sizes (very small for babies and toddlers);
- use Romain, Bibb, or Green/Red Leaf Lettuce in much smaller bites than what seems normal, almost shred the lettuce. I know this comes off as weird, but ice berg lettuce isn’t substantial enough and spinach or arugula can come off as too strong;
- use softer vegetables with peel removed for babies/toddlers (e.g. cucumber); and
- garnish with kid-favourites such as cheese or fresh herbs, and favourite vinaigrette.
When my older kids originally became interested (they were 2 years old), I would make myself this salad and relish over how amazing it was to them. They of course wanted in on the delicious dish I was enjoying … and voilà. Kids addicted to salad.
Yields 4-6 servings as a side dish
Salad for kids? You betcha ya. This salad is scrumptious and adaptable to suit your family's taste preferences.
10 minPrep Time
10 minTotal Time
- 1 head of romain lettuce, trimmed and cut into 1/4" wide stripes (or chopped smaller for babies/toddlers)
- 1 bell peppers (preferably red, orange, or yellow), cut into thin stripes
- 1/2 long English cucumber, quartered and chopped into 1/4" wide pieces (remove skin for younger babies and kids)
- 1 celery stalk, sliced into 1/4" wide pieces
- 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes (or other smaller tomatoes), halved or cut smaller for younger babies and kids)
- 100 grams feta or other cheese, crumble over salad (optional)
- Vinaigrette of choice
- Combine ingredients in one large bowl or into personal sized bowls/plates. Drizzle lightly with dressing.
Be sure to check out the pro-tips for building salads for kids in the post above. The bullet on cutting down the vegetables to age appropriate size is probably of the upmost importance.