by donR September 9, 2015
Like green salads? The USDA recommends that we eat lots of fruit and veggies, to include leafy greens. They are great for families wanting to save money, eat healthy, and make cooking easier.
We’ve always said, “Start dinners with a glass of water, cup of home-made soup and a bowl of green salad.” But the response from parents is mixed. they’ll say, “If leafy greens are so good for kids to eat, why is hard to get kids to like them in salad?” Or more bluntly said; “No way!”
Perhaps it’s the texture, light flavor, or just the thought of eating grass. But over the years we have seen changes in our four girls to the point that their families now eat leafy greens every day. Here are some tips and tricks that we used when our children were young and some new ideas. Some may work for you:
You may like the idea of hiding green vegetables in smoothies or juice. In fact I read a book devoted to ‘tricking’ kids into getting more veggies. But we prefer to be up front and teach kids how to include many different veggies in salads for health purposes rather than hidden or for comfort. So, here are some ‘Tips & Tricks:
- Let your children help plan, plant and harvest salad ingredients in the family garden. Make each step fun and educational so they enjoy gardening with the family,
- Show them how to tell when the veggies are ready to pick (peak flavor) and eat some in the garden. My daughter’s boys ate her green beans right off the vine.. .but… the said they hated them when cooked for dinner…go figure
Have a tasting party where the kids judge different ‘adornments” to go with their leafy greens. Have them sample soft veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds, dried fruit. Listing their favorites gives them ideas for meal planning. It’s all nutritious and makes each dinner salad unique.
Have each family member choose their own colorful bowl from a thrift store. They can decide to use them daily or for special occasions. The important idea is to have fun with salad, and then you can start a meaningful conversation about how they nourish their body.
- make a collage with greens, fruit and vegetables. A face is lots of fun especially when sprouts are added for top hair and beards.
- Make gelatin with unflavored Knox packets and fruit juice. When it starts to gel add grated carrots or cabbage.
- Use Romaine lettuce for a crunchy salad. for even more crunch, sprinkle with crushed noodles from a package of Ramen noodle soup. Discard the salty spice packet.
- Slice cucumbers, pickles, or celery into 5″ lengths, Roll up with a covering of Swiss chard and secure it with rice paper or a rubber band. Now kids can dip it into a flavorful sauce.
- Whenever kids make a unique salad creation, take a photo of it and use them in a recipe booklet. Self-publishing is an easy activity and kids will forever remember that experience.
- Serve a salad to feature cultural awareness. Taco salad, Oriental salad, pineapple luau, Greek salad come to mind but there are many others, Celebrate with festive hats or music Kids can color their national flag as place mats.
Kids will enjoy these activities and leave positive memories of their time with leafy greens.