How to get kids to eat salad and actually like it
How to get kids to eat salad is a question I am asked often. It is not easy if your child has not been eating salads from day one. Most kids are not too thrilled about trying new foods especially the healthy ones. The following is how I converted Kiara into a side salad girl.
Kids and Salad An Unnatural Combo
The first step was convincing her of the health benefits. I explained the nutritional value of vegetables and how salad is a great substitute for French fries. This did not go too well and was a complete waste of words. As my words of wisdom were going in one ear and out the other I realized this was going to require some trickery. I decided to take a slow step by step approach.
I began simple with lettuce and fruit. Kiara eats cherry tomatoes as a snack but for some odd reason would not eat them as part of a salad. I chalked them up as odd kid logic. Whenever we were out to eat she would ask for my croutons and dip them in Caesar dressing. I decided this was my starting point. The first day I used just iceberg lettuce which I cut up into tiny pieces like they do at sub shops. I found a yogurt based Caesar dressing and lightly drizzled it over the lettuce. I didn’t want her to get used to a lot of dressing. The only thing I added was a few sliced strawberries. This went over well so I stuck with it until it was comfortably part of her routine.
Building The Relationship
The next step was simply adding another fruit favorite of Kiara’s. The blueberries were a success and encouraging. The addition made Kiara feel like it was cool that her salad was expanding. It was not long before I took a chance on carrots. I did not think cut up carrots that were uncooked would work but she does eat cooked ones. I decided to shred them at first she was wary but did enjoy. We were now expanding into vegetables!
Vegetables Are Cool
After some time I decided to add cherry tomatoes cut in halves. Kiara’s first reaction was strangely too not want to eat them. I explained she eats them throughout the day and now they would be mixed with her favorite dressing. Once this seemingly obvious logic kicked in she was all aboard. Slowly I added more tomatoes and carrots and a little less fruit. The logic there was that Kiara eats a lot of fruit throughout the day. Her typical dinner has vegetables as a side normally broccoli, corn and cauliflower but I wanted more to be incorporated.
The most recent addition has been cucumbers. She was very resistant at first but I was relentless in convincing her they were basically fruit. After weeks of explaining they were almost tasteless but a little juicy she was still refusing. I did what every good dad would do I cut them up so small she would not notice them. Then of course I laughed at her for eating without realizing it. Cucumbers are now a staple! Not only that but she now requests sliced cucumbers as her school snack. As of now I have not pushed it any further and I doubt onions will make an appearance anytime soon.
Only If You Do
It does make me happy that now when we go out to eat Kiara orders broccoli instead of fries. She now also adds a side salad to start. It is important to remember that getting your child to be healthy whether it is eating or exercise is pointless. Yes pointless IF YOU DON’T PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH. The worst saying ever is “do as I say not as I say not as I do”. What is fact is that kids learn from what they see and not what they are told. Practice what you preach! This is true in every life lesson you try to pass down.
**This is another great activity to share with your kids but please always teach kitchen safety!