Small Children vs Salad

Prep Time:5 mins, Cook Time: -, Total Time: 5 mins

July 3, 2014

Eat Your Veg | Making Salad with KidsWhat is it about small (and big) children and salad?. They just don’t do it do they. Don’t get it, don’t like it, won’t even try it.  I believe they do grow out of their salad probia at some point, but at what age? Once they have a mortgage and kids of their own probably. Parents of older offspring feel free to enlighten me.

I have to confess that trying to get my own monsters to eat salad is something I generally didn’t bother much with until recently. Tried and failed too many times, and at the end of the day I take heart from that they do get a pretty varied diet of veggies anyway. And plenty of fruit of course. They’ll also eat a limited amount of raw goodies in a pasta, rice or couscous salad occasionally. But if I want to inject some lots of raw stuff into little tums, a quickie homemade dip and salad dip sticks are my friend and effortlessly do the job. Think carrot, cucumber, peppers, celery, raw courgette, little gem leaves, cherry tomatoes, a whole smogisboard of goodliness if you can. As for the dips, faves with my own two are my Minted Pea & Feta, Tuna & Cream Cheese, Smoked Salmon & Red Pepper, Hummus and Guacamole. Not convinced on the raw consumption? Then try putting a pot of made-in-minutes homemade dip in front of them after school with an assortment of dipping receptacles and just see if they get stuck in. You might be surprised.

But back on to salad proper which this post is about. And I mean the leafy green stuff. In it’s most chastised form, for most children anyway.  I do have a couple of tricks up my sleeve that have varying degree of success.

The first is to grow your own. Mine will happily munch of a piece or two of green leafage they’ve helped nurture, though typically when the plants are barely more than tender shoots and thereby destroying all future growth potential. Unintentionally I’m sure. Though I do also catch them regularly swiping a fully grown leaf from the garden. The downside of this method is it’s usually only in teeny and probably nutritionally invalid quantities.

The second is get them to make it themselves. Prepping the lettuce, chopping their fave salad extras (if indeed they have any) then making up there own dressing. As we all know kids are so much more likely to eat something they’ve made themselves, and that goes for salad too. Unless you’re called Francesca Foti that is, one stubborn mare that gal. There’s absolutely no way she’d eat a green salad, however much she took part and whatever tasty morsels you add. Jacques however is such a sucker for this trick, particularly if there’s an audience involved. He loves nothing more than showing off his homemade wares, and will greedily gobble away to prove the point. On his own however the salad making trick can be less effective. He really likes the whisking of the dressing and running it through the leaves, tasting all along the way. Next time you make a salad how about getting the kids in the kitchen, some safe knives (I use plastic ‘lettuce’ knives, but table knives work equally well for younger children) and get them busy with the chopping.

As for a salad dressing Jacques particularly likes a simple Honey & Mustard dressing, as do lots of kids. A slosh of good olive oil (extra virgin if you have it), runny honey, Dijon mustard and a pinch of salt and pepper (no salt for the under 3s). Lightly whisked together and run through the salad. The recipe’s below, but there’s really nothing to do it and absolutely no need for any exactment here, in fact it’s much more fun to get kids tasting along the way and adding more honey or mustard to suit their personal tastes. Older kids might like the challenge of developing entirely their own dressing. Try placing all your vinegars, oils, mustards, honey and various herbs on a table, give them a bowl and a whisk (or a jar with a lid to shake) and see what they come up with.  It may even be edible!.

As my second foray into the world of (extremely) amateur video, bordering shameful, here’s a short clip of the terrible twosome at the end of their salad and dressing making sess earlier this week. And before you shout me down I KNOW it’s stupidly in portrait, I realised just as I was coming to the end of filming. And the lighting’s shoddy too. Though I feel it’s good to have lots of room for improvement. I am however rather pleased with my 1.30am this morning find of The Salad Song though, quite a tune.

51P1Ok0sufL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_SX385_SY500_CR,0,0,385,500_SH20_OU02_I’d love to hear how you get your own monsters to eat salad, even to enjoy it? What tricks or techniques do you employ? I probably don’t want to hear if they’re natural born salad eaters and can’t get enough of the stuff.

A big thanks to Florette for supplying our pack of ‘Classic Crispy’ leaves used in the vid. And for all the other wee goodies they sent, including Harry Eastwood’s beautiful book A Salad for All Seasons, of which I’ve been having a good gawp at lately. A bible of year round tempting and exciting salad recipes, of which I shall be trying several of very soon. And I’ll certainly be getting the monsters to help me. Do check out the Florette Salad Recipes, a veritable feast of salad-tastic ideas!.


The Good Stuff:

Salad! All of it. Plus olive oil in the dressing.

Great For:

Toddlers, Pre-Schoolers, Grown Ups, The Salad Adverse,

Special Equipment:


Small Children vs Salad

Ingredients Prep Time:5 mins, Cook Time: -, Total Time: 5 mins

For a Honey & Mustard Dressing:
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons runny honey
a pinch each of salt & pepper (no salt for under 3s)

1) Lightly whisk all the ingredients together, taste and add more of any of the ingredients to suit.
2) Run through your salad ingredients.

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10 thoughts on “Small Children vs Salad

  1. Janice

    What a great little video and a fun way to get kids to eat salad. I had one boy who ate everything and the other who ate potato waffles and spaghetti hoops! Both eat pretty much everything now they are grown up, somewhere around 14 years old boys develop hollow legs. You are right though, the crudites and dips approach is a good one, salad bits with fajitas was a way in for my two.

  2. Louisa

    Thanks Janice, they are funny wee things these small people aren’t they. And all have such funny likes and dislikes, I’m very fortunate that salad is their biggest nemesis and they do eat quite a varied diet. Good suggestion on fajitas with a few (hidden) salady bits, shall be employing!.



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