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Summer Salad Recipes and Ideas

Getting children to eat a bit healthier can be a struggle – and salad? Well, that's even tougher. Here, we've got eight ideas to get kids to become salad lovers.

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Content brought to you by Excellent Schools Detroit

Do your kids turn up their noses at their greens? If you've been trying to get your kids to eat more salad with limited success, there's hope.

Kids often need to be introduced to a food several times before they'll even give it a try – researchers say as many as 10 times! Around your house, it may be more. The key? Don't get discouraged and have fun helping your child learn to love veggies and fruits.

To guide your child toward his or her greens, consider these ideas around your dinner table.

Think out of the bowl

Salads don't have to be made of iceberg lettuce neatly tucked into a bowl. Instead, try putting a little bit on their dinner plate each night. No bowls needed! The more times they see greens on their plates, the more they'll get used to the idea. Even better, they'll be more likely to give their salad a try. Keep the portions small, so it doesn't seem overwhelming to your child.

Mix 'n' match

You can make salads out of all sorts of ingredients. You can start with lettuce and let your child add in toppings like chopped nuts, dried fruit, seeds or even crushed crackers.

Cut it out!

Here's a way to start helping your kids enjoy their veggies: Use cookie cutters to make shapes out of produce like thin-sliced carrots, cucumbers and even fruits like apples and cantaloupe. Have them decorate their dinner plates with stars, hearts and whatever shapes you've made together.

Go bun-less

Help your child rethink salad by using it in unusual ways. For example, wrap hamburgers in Boston lettuce leaves. Or what about using Romaine lettuce leaves in place of corn shells when you make tacos? Challenge your child to come up with more ways you can use lettuce at the dinner table. Your child is more likely to eat it if he came up with the "recipe."

Call it like it is

Your child may be more convinced to eat her greens if she knows they're good for her. Let her know that salad gives her body the nutrients she needs to grow strong. Or tell him that his salad will give him energy (it's true!). For some kids, having a reason to eat something is all they need.

Let your child choose

Take your child with you to the grocery store or a fun shopping place like Eastern Market (link to article on this) to buy your produce. This will also help him see the varieties of lettuce and other salad ingredients that are available.

Make it a meal

Serve salad as your main meal. You can top lettuce with ingredients you might normally include in casseroles like chopped chicken or ham, cubed cheese and more.

Set an example

Your kids are watching you – really! They notice when you enjoy your greens. The more they see you eating salad, the more apt they are to go for it, too.

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