The family salad changes constantly in our house. Sometimes it is served for lunch. Other times, for dinner. Choices of toppings are seasonal at times and "whatever we have" other times. But the family salad happens which is all that really matters.
Some of my children eat plain romaine or spinach by the handfuls. Others need dressing or vinaigrette. But the most exciting part is choosing toppings.
Some of our favorite toppings:
- turkey strips
- feta cheese
- flank steak, grilled and sliced
- kalamata olives
- dried fruit-- cherries are the best
- sunflower seeds
- cherry tomatoes
- hard boiled eggs
- sweet onion
- fresh mushrooms
- marinated artichokes
- sun dried tomatoes
- croutons (Since I limit my grains, I skip croutons and make sure my salad has plenty of fats--meat, cheese, egg, avocado-- on it to fill my stomach comparable to a grainy carbohydrate)
For a mexican salad:
- black beans
- tortilla strips
- green enchilada sauce
- mexican cheese
- green chiles
Salads weren't always exciting for my young children. It has taken some time for certain children to see how fun--and delicious--they can be. The most attractive way to present salads to kids is through a salad bar. Pretty obvious, right? Kids an pick and choose what they love instead of seeing a heap of green and other colors and textures piled on top of each other. (We do serve traditional salads this way, but salad bars definitely helped our kids to love all salads.)
Salad bars for kids are also wonderful because your children can help:
- initially choose the toppings to set out for that particular day's bar
- fill mini bowls with toppings-- a perfect skill for young children of pouring
- pick and choose toppings to create their own personal salad which means they will be more likely to eat it
For our size family, we buy romaine lettuce or spinach in bulk so always have it on hand. It takes a minute to wash and dry, but once the lettuce is cut, it can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator to use within days.
What do you love on a salad?