Sunday, 16 June 2013

Tasting the Rainbow

My son has never been a fussy eater (thank goodness!) but one thing I've always struggled to get him to eat is salad. Most of the year it's not a problem as he gets a good variety of vegetables, but now the days are getting warmer and summer is sashaying ever closer we don't always want a big cooked dinner. But if I put a salad on his plate it results in sulks, arguments, and eventually retching as he tries to choke down a leaf or two. Luckily I have discovered that I can get him to eat a great big pile of salad by putting a little extra prep into it, and it's such a simple trick . . .

. . . just chop it all up small and toss it in a couple of tablespoons of salad cream!
You can use whatever you like in your salad, but to give you an idea, here's what I put in mine:
1 carrot
1/2 a baby gem lettuce
1/2 a red pepper
1/2 a stick of celery
4 inches of cucumber
2 spring onions
2 or 3 tablespoons sweetcorn
2 or 3 tablespoons peas
3 sprigs of fresh mint
Couple of tablespoons of pine nuts
Salad cream
Take a large bowl and grate the carrot into it. Chop the lettuce up small (I aim for approx. 1-2cm pieces). Dice the pepper and celery into 5mm chunks. Finely slice the spring onions. Add the peas and sweetcorn (I just defrosted some from the freezeer) and sprinkle the finely chopped mint over it all. Lastly, add salad cream a little at a time, just enough to coat everything, and toss it all together.
You can of course use whatever ingredients you like, I used what I had to hand. Nutritionists always recommend we try to eat the rainbow, so go for as many different colours as you can. Out of all the ingredients I used, my son would normally only eat peas, sweetcorn, carrot and cucumber, but because he didn't know any of the other stuff was in there he ate the lot and enjoyed every mouthful. We had ours with salmon and buttery new potatoes ~ lush!
It's an age-old trick, but 'hidden veg' is a great way to get a great variety of food into your kids. Try grating carrot into spaghetti Bolognese, or pureeing some in with your mashed potatoes. Celery and onions can be diced so finely they all but dissolve in stews, but the goodness is still there.
What other ways do you know for getting your kids to eat things they think they don't like?

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