Whenever we post about favorite salad toppings we get questions about how/when kids can eat salads, too - this post is very long overdue!
The biggest issue with salad is the safety of the greens. If we give a toddler soft leafy greens before they have a good rotary chew pattern established and a lot of teeth they may just swallow it whole. Lettuce leaves may be soft, but they do require lots of great chewing with teeth to break down (unlike many other foods that can be chewed successfully with gums).
Here are some simple guidelines:
A few additional tips:
We talk often about feeding our kids, but feeding yourself is important as well!
Every time I post about my lunch salads I get tons of questions about how to make a salad tasty and satisfying. Y’all say that your salads aren’t interesting, but with a few tweaks I bet they could be something you really enjoy!
I love salads. They’re what I crave for lunch. I don’t eat them because I “should” or because I’m trying to be “good.” I eat them because I love how they taste and I love how they make me feel. If I’m not craving a salad one day I don’t eat one! Yup, sometimes that means a sandwich or a burger. But most days when lunch rolls around, salad usually sounds tasty.
However, I rarely eat the same salad two days in a row. Adding variety in flavor and ingredients keeps them interesting and satisfying.
I also love trying salads at restaurants - there are always so many creative ways to make them!
When making a salad, consider adding one component from each category so there’s enough flavor, satisfying nutrition, and texture in your salad. (Many of us miss out on protein or filling fat when we make a salad and are hungry 1-2 hours later.) Let’s face it - plain chicken on lettuce is oftentimes not that interesting, but once you add some avocado, chopped almonds and fresh strawberries it becomes a little more tasty! Dress it with tangy vinaigrette and suddenly you have a winning lunch.
New to this? Want to get more salads in your life? Don’t overwhelm yourself, just pick one thing from each category to try to have on hand when you build your next salad. Use a pre-cut base so you can wash and pour it in a bowl.
Oh, and one more thing - some people just aren’t satisfied by a salad alone. Try pairing it with a whole grain bread, some fruit or some soup and see if that helps round out the meal for you.
Megan and Judy, co-owners of Feeding Littles, bring you helpful info on food, nutrition, picky eating, and feeding young children. Megan McNamee MPH, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Judy Delaware, OTR/L is an Occupational Therapist specializing in feeding therapy with children 3 and under in Boulder, Colorado. Megan and Judy are both moms of two and love helping families develop a healthy appetite for all foods!