By making healthy dishes like healthy salads for kids, you can encourage good eating habits that will last for life. Eating a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables adds to the nutrient quotient of the meal. Read on for some tips and recipes to help your kids enjoy these colourful vegetables and fruits.
Why add salads to your kid’s diet?
Salads have a low glycemic index (which means they do not increase blood glucose) and are, therefore, preferred to manage excessive weight gain in kids. Eating vegetables and fruits every day gives you the vitamins and minerals you need for healthy growth, and it also lowers your risk of getting cancer and heart disease.
Commonly used salad ingredients and their benefits:
- Vegetable salads can prove extremely beneficial to a child's development. Green leafy vegetables like cabbage and spinach are rich in vitamin B6 and antioxidants.
- Salad greens provide vitamin A, vitamin C, beta-carotene, calcium, folate, fibre, and phytonutrients. For example, lettuce provides iron, potassium, vitamin B (niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B6), vitamin K, lutein, and zeaxanthin (good for the eyes).
- Tomatoes provide nutrients like vitamin C and K.
- Green beans are a rich source of folate.
- Cabbage provides vitamin K.
- Carrots have carotenoids (provitamin A).
- Chicken and eggs provide vitamin B12 and protein.
- Add antioxidant-rich fruits like berries, grapes, kiwifruit, and oranges to make the salads colourful.
How to make your child eat salads?
Here are a few tips you may use to encourage your child to eat salads:
- Involve your child in shopping for fruit and vegetables and preparing the salads.
- Use colourful and crunchy veggies and fruits to make the food enjoyable and serve them whenever they are hungry.
- Get creative and toss the salads with herbs and spices.
- Allow them to follow your example. If your child sees that their family enjoys eating salads too, he/she is more likely to join in.
- Presentation is everything. Chop differently coloured vegetables and fruits into fun and interesting shapes and serve them in a special bowl.
- Make your own salad dressings with vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, pepper, or oregano. Avoid store-bought dressings with high sugar, salt, and saturated fat content.
Salad recipes that your kids will love
Here are a few different healthy salad ideas:
a. Rainbow-layered salad:
Ingredients: papaya, watermelon, grapes, apples, strawberries, lettuce, and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Layer the following in a bowl: 1 cup papaya scoops, 3/4 cup watermelon scoops, 1/2 cup lettuce, 3/4 cup grapes, 3/4 cup apple cubes, and 1/2 cup strawberries chopped
- Prepare a salad dressing with three tablespoons of honey, 1-1/4 tablespoons of ginger juice, 1-1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice, salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
- Before serving, add the dressing to the salad, mix well, and serve.
Instead of fruits, you can also make this salad with sliced or chopped vegetables like tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, and corn.
b. Waldorf salad:
Ingredients: curd, orange juice, apples, raisins, and walnuts.
To prepare salad dressing, mix 3/4 cup of curd and one tablespoon of orange juice.
- Mix two cups of diced apples, 1/2 cup of raisins and chopped walnuts, one teaspoon of sugar and salt to taste in a bowl.
- Mix the ingredients with the dressing and serve.
c. Coleslaw salad:
Ingredients: mayonnaise, lemon juice, sugar, cabbage, carrot, onions, and bell pepper.
For the dressing, mix 1/4 cup of mayonnaise, one tablespoon of lemon juice, and some sugar.
- Add one cup each of shredded cabbage, carrot, sliced onions, and bell pepper. You can also add one chopped apple.
- Mix all the veggies with the dressing and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to enhance the flavour.
d. Boiled egg salad:
Ingredients: Boiled eggs, onions, garlic, curd, mustard, and salt.
- Boil 2 eggs by cooking them in hot water for 15 minutes. Remove the shells when the eggs are at room temperature.
In a mixing bowl, add chopped boiled eggs, 1/4 cup chopped onions, and garlic. Add two tablespoons of curd, mustard, and salt. Mix all the ingredients and serve in a roti wrap or on toasted bread.
e. Grilled chicken salad:
Ingredients: grilled or cooked and diced chicken, tomato, onion, carrot, radish, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper.
- Mix the chicken, tomato, onion, carrot, bell pepper, and radish in a medium-sized serving bowl.
Add the juice of half a lemon, salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Make sure you always wash fruits and vegetables before using them to remove any traces of pesticides and germs. To keep your child from choking, make sure to only feed them when they are sitting up straight and cut up the vegetables into small pieces. By making easy salads for kids, they will eventually develop a taste for salads—and discover a few favourites!
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- HealthyChildren. How to Get Your Child to Eat More Fruits & Veggies.
- Eatright. Tips to Help Kids Enjoy Fruits and Veggies.
- BetterHealth. Children's diet - fruit and vegetables.
- Colorado State University Extension. Health Benefits and Safe Handling of Salad Greens.
- Harvard Health Publishing. Bottled dressings.
- Eatright. Rainbow Layered Salad Recipe.
Reallifegoodfood. Apple Waldorf salad.
- Tarla Dalal. Waldorf Salad.
- University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Mighty Quick Coleslaw.
- The University of Arizona. Egg Salad Sandwich.
- Eatright. Healthy Grilled Chicken Salad Recipe.