Recently, I have been receiving a lot of email from people who have a picky eater in their house. I’m not sure why, but most of my readers seem to be very shy, and email me: firstname.lastname@example.org, rather than post comments. That’s fine, but I thought I would mention a few things to everyone that have worked for me, with my picky little eater.
Some people like to refer to their child as a “selective eater” and that’s just fine! My son isn’t really selective, he’s just down right picky. My particular picky eater, is extremely choosy on what he likes and what he doesn’t like, and he seems to have no difficulty expressing himself!
The part I find so baffling is he will eat many foods a lot of children won’t, yet the simplest foods seem to be the biggest battles. I think that’s true of many picky eaters, so we’re going to talk about this issue from my humble Megamommy point-of-view.
Today’s topic: Getting Your Kids to Eat More Salad/Greens
I want to be clear, these ideas are only my Megamommy thoughts! You can take them, or leave them. I’m simply trying to help any parent out there currently struggling with their child/children! Not that I’m smarter, or better, but because I have had almost every battle known to man with my picky eater.
Idea 1: Dressing your salad. Dressing can make all the difference in the world with kids! If you really want your “picky eater” to eat more salad, find a dressing he/she likes. Maybe this means a simple vinaigrette dressing you make for your special little eater.
Normally, I’m not a fan of making something special for a picky eater, but in this case I think it’s worth it. You’re talking about a minimal amount of time, for a very healthy choice! Plus, someone else in the family just might like it too. 🙂
Keep in mind, no dressing is an option too. If your child enjoys salad without dressing, let them enjoy!
MM TIP: Please don’t pour Ranch or Honey Mustard all over some iceberg lettuce and call it a salad. That may be a starting point in the world of salad, but don’t let your kids stay there. It’s okay for them to like Honey Mustard or Ranch, but you don’t want everything they eat covered in it.
Idea 2: Getting beyond Iceberg! Iceberg Lettuce is great for certain things, but keep in mind it has NO nutritional value whatsoever. Try a fresh salad blend or fresh spinach instead, it goes on sale all the time! If you’re going to use spinach in a salad make sure it’s fresh, not frozen.
Idea 3: Let kids pick them. When kids are involved in picking what they’re going to eat, they’re much more likely to actually eat it. If at all possible, try going to your local Farmer’s Market and have your kids pick something new they’re willing to try.
For example, give them each a dollar amount they can spend (make sure it fits your budget) and have them try a new fruit or vegetable, or give them the option of buying a fruit or vegetable they’ve already had, but you know they will eat. Have fun with it, turn it into an experience rather than something they have to do. 🙂
Idea 4: Give them a little wiggle room. Kids are kids after all. If you start serving more salads, and they don’t jump up & down with joy, that’s okay!
For salads my rule of thumb is, give them most of what they like, a little of what they don’t, and whenever possible, just the right amount of something new.
How does this work? Say your child loves fresh spinach, give them a salad with plenty of spinach (when it’s affordable). But maybe she/he isn’t crazy about fresh summer squash, put just a little in their salad; my rule of thumb is two bites. They must try two bites. Why? Because it expands their palate without being too daunting. Add your other ingredients, and finish it off with something new whenever possible. Maybe it’s a little bit of a new vegetable, or just a sprinkle of a new cheese, the possibilities are endless.
Of course there are are going to be nights you just want to go with one of your family favorite’s, and that’s fine too. We all do at times. 🙂
Idea 5: Roll with it. My fella’s all seem to love Romaine! I have no problem with Romaine, it just isn’t nearly as exciting for me, but that’s fine. They love it and they eat it like crazy! When the large leaves of romaine or Boston lettuce go on sale, pick up a bag.
Let them roll their own fillings into large leaves of romaine, or Boston lettuce, it’s much easier for me to find romaine around here. But do whatever works for you. If you have lean meats and vegetables for everyone to work with, they can pick their own combos. Kids always love that! Just make sure you have a choices that each person likes and can work with. At our house, one choice must be a veggie.
I just kind of stumbled across this one recently and it works great! My kids love, love, love rolling their own lettuce rolls, and having choices. Give it a try maybe your family will enjoy it as a nice change of pace too. 🙂
Let me know what you guys think of this. I would love to hear what works for your family!