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How to make Kid Friendly Salad

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Dinner salads are the perfect summer meal – refreshing, filling, and they don’t heat up the kitchen. But how do you serve them to kids so you don’t spend the evening fighting with and bribing them to just take a bite? These easy tips will help you serve Kid Friendly Salad the whole family will enjoy!
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I think almost everyone will agree with me that one of the best things about summer is the vast quantity (and quality!) of awesome summer produce! And one of the best ways to use up all this produce is in a big delicious salad! Dinner salads have become one of our favorite things! Not only can you pack tons of fruits and veggies into your diet, but they are also quick to pull together and require minimal cooking time. Which is always good when its blazingly hot outside! But how do you get kids on board?

How do you get kids to eat salads?

YES, kids CAN love salad! Serving a big dinner salad doesn’t have to result in tears and bribery, either. Your kids can totally learn to love salad! With some simple tips, your kid will be a salad-lover in no time!

Top Tips for Kid Friendly Salads

  1. Make sure there are plenty of  ingredients that your kids already like. Leave out any ingredient they downright don’t like – or serve it on the side for those who like it. Fruit is a great addition because kids generally already really like fruit! Read this post on how to add more fruit to your dinners.
  2. Chop all the ingredients into kid bite sized – its easier for them to eat if they don’t have to wrestle with each piece of giant romaine.
  3. Serve the salad as a “salad bar” so everyone gets to add their own ingredients to their plate OR serve the salad “deconstructed” for younger kids who don’t like their food mixed or touching.
  4. Serve the dressing on the side as a “dipping sauce”. Kids LOVE to dip, so giving them a small container of the dressing will allow them to dip all the ingredients in. Its ok if they each more ranch than lettuce, because they are still learning to love salad, and ranch is a great gateway to help them do that!
  5. Talk about your dinner together. Discuss the textures of the ingredients – what is crunchy, what is creamy, what is juicy, etc? Discuss the flavors of the salad – what is sweet, what is salty, etc? Ask your child what their favorite part of the salad is.

Can a toddler eat salad?

Yes! A toddler can eat salad. Make sure all the ingredients are cut to the appropriate size. I would even serve this salad “deconstructed” where all the ingredients are in their own individual piles and nothing touches. This takes what could be seen as an overwhelming mix of food into ingredients they are already familiar with.

cutting mango

Ways to get kids involved in dinner salads:

Get the kids involved! The more involved a kid is in the preparation of a food, the more ownership they will take, the more interest they will show, and the more likely they are to want to eat it!

  1. Ask your kids help you find the ingredients at the store. Show them how to pick a ripe tomato, ask them to smell the mint, and get their curiosity working! 
  2. Have your kids help you prepare the ingredients – washing and drying the produce, tearing the lettuce, cutting the softer ingredients, mixing the salad dressing.
  3. Invite your helpers to help you plate the salad, adding each ingredient onto everyone’s plates.

Read more about how to have your children help you in the kitchen.

four plates showing how to serve salad to kids

How to serve dinner salad recipes to kids:

There are two easy ways to serve salad to kids so that they will eat them.

  1. Deconstructed. Often, big dinner salads can seem overwhelming to kids – 50 different foods all mixed together and touching everything else? No. Way. Instead, serve the salad as little piles of each ingredient, or ingredients that go together. 
  2. Salad Bar. Kids love choices, and they love the feeling that they are in charge. Serving your dinner salad like a salad bar, with all the ingredients laid out for them to choose between works great to get your kids to eat salad. Allowing them to choose which ingredients they want and how much of each ingredient gives them ownership of their dinner – meaning they will eat it! This is the perfect way to customize a meal so every family member i happy – without you being a short order cook!


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What tips and tricks do you use to serve diner salads to your kids? Leave a comment below!

One Comment

  1. Amy (Savory Moments) says:

    These are such great tips and ideas! My twins (just turned 3) love any meal where they can pick out their toppings, etc.

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