Monday, March 24

SNACK TIME salads for kids

Going Beyond Green - Salads for Kids
Mention the word "salad" and most of us imagine a bowl of leafy greens. But salads go way beyond green, venturing into a carnival of colors, textures and flavors. Think fruit salad, veggie-salad, pasta salad, tuna macaroni salad, and three-bean salad just to name a few.
 
Getting children to eat salad requires a bit of strategic planning and preparation. Salads for kids need some basic elements to entice children to eat them.  When planning a salad think about color, flavor, fun, familiar foods and bite-size pieces. For example, children are attracted to bright colors, especially red.  Try tomatoes, watermelon, red peppers, grapes, strawberries and carrots.
 
Familiar flavors will also enhance success. Kids prefer plain foods so too many ingredients might be a turn off, especially if none of the ingredients are recognizable. Keep it simple by limiting the number of ingredients to a familiar few and slowly increase from there.
 
Creative, enticing shapes are a draw as well as easy-to-eat, bite-size pieces. Alphabet, elbow macaroni and wagon wheel pastas create visual interest and help make a fun salad.  Combine with edamame or diced cheddar cheese to add color, nutrition and flavor.
 
Color plus creative shapes equals fun! Use a melon baller or cookie cutters to create interesting shapes in bite-size pieces.
 
Remember that children enjoy preparing meals as well as eating them. Have them participate in selecting the ingredients from the grocery store, farmers market or garden. Encouraging children to mix in their favorite colors and shapes will increase the likelihood of a successful salad experience! 

Submitted by Leslie Kay-Getzinger, MS RD

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