It can be difficult enough to introduce whole foods into your family’s diet without disarray, let alone serve up a salad filled with veggies and greens. To be completely honest, if your family isn’t on board with better health, it can make your journey feel almost impossible.
The good news is, with a little trial and error you can get your family on board by incorporating our six tips for getting your kids and spouse to eat, and enjoy, salad!
Trick 1. Choose greens based on your family’s flavor preference.
It may take a little trial and error, but try to figure out which greens your family likes versus dislikes. Greens can have an array of distinct flavors from mild to more pronounced. If you make a salad and your family isn’t wild about it, switch to a different type of lettuce or mix two together. If this is your first roughage rodeo consider de-stemming your greens so they’re not quite as bitter or stick to one with a mild flavor.
- Butterhead or bibb: delicate, subtle and buttery sweet
- Iceberg: crunchy and mild
- Romaine: crisp, mildly sweet and earthy
- Spinach: mildly sweet
- Arugula: mildly bitter and peppery
- Kale: hearty, complex, bitter and earthy
If you want to try something outside the box but absolutely delicious, you can grill your kale or romaine on a griddle top or outdoor grill. We have a great recipe for Grilled Romaine that breaks it down into six simple steps.
Trick 2. Add fresh fruit.
One of the best ways to get your family on board with eating salad is by topping it with fresh fruit. Adding fresh fruit to your salad not only makes it fun (it’s not just a bunch of veggies), it adds the perfect amount of sweetness and can even minimize the amount of salad dressing you use. Our personal favorites are berries and apples.
Trick 3. Grab leftover grilled vegetables.
Leftover grilled and seasoned vegetables are another amazing way to top a salad. Your family may not wrinkle their noses as much at the idea of grilled veggies mixed in with their leafy greens compared to raw vegetables. We often raid the fridge for leftovers to throw on our salads and grab anything from roasted sweet potatoes to grilled green beans.
Trick 4. Top with nuts for an added crunch.
Unless someone in your family has an allergy, you’d be nutty (no pun intended) not to top your salad with nuts. Nuts add an AMAZING crunch to your salad and are packed with flavor and healthy fats. If your family is resistant to gobbling down a salad, the flavor, and texture of roasted nuts might just change their mind. Three types of nuts that have become staples in our pantry are roasted pistachios, almond slivers and pine nuts. If there’s a nut allergy in the house, try another crunchy texture, such as pepitas (pumpkin seeds), broccoli slaw or raw finely chopped Brussels sprouts.
If you want to put a fancy spin on your salad, check out our recipe for Cinnamon Maple Candied Nuts. You can make these ahead and keep them in an airtight container for future use.
Nuts can be extremely expensive. If you’re looking for a more cost-effective option, try pepitas (pumpkin seeds).
Trick 5. Try different cheeses.
Cheese can also make a huge difference when it comes to eating a salad. The best part is that there are so many varieties to choose from that you and your family will never get bored. Ask your spouse and kids what kind of cheese they’d like to try on a salad and then personalize it to their tastes. It’s funny, because what may start out as you trying to help your family enjoy eating salads could actually turn into them becoming a major source of inspiration!
We often buy a big block of cheese to save money. Because cheese expires quickly, we break the block apart and freeze what we won’t be using in a week’s time. If you take a peek in our freezer, you’ll find an entire gallon-sized bag dedicated to a variety of portioned out cheeses for us to choose from. Just remember, when serving up your salad, moderation is key!
Combos to try:
- Feta cheese pairs well with: cucumbers, tomatoes and onions (think Greek)
- Goat cheese pairs well with: strawberries, blueberries, peaches, beets, walnuts and balsamic vinegar (think sweet)
- Blue and Gorgonzola cheese pair well with: steak, grilled onions, strawberries, apples, pears, pecans, and walnuts (think sweet and savory)
- Parmesan cheese pairs well with: tomatoes, roasted veggies and raw veggies, such as raw chopped asparagus (think Italian)
Trick 6. Stir up some homemade salad dressing.
Rather than buying a HUGE bottle of store-bought dressing and being stuck with the same-old flavor for weeks to come, consider making a homemade dressing that you think your family will LOVE!
Homemade dressings not only allow you to control the flavor and the amount you make, they’re often WAY HEALTHIER than their store bought counterparts. A tip from one busy woman to another… consider doubling the recipe, so you’ll have enough on hand for the entire week. Then, try something new the next week!
- Pumpkin Maple Salad Dressing
- Dijon Maple Dressing
- Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing
- High quality 100% EVOO and Balsamic Vinegar
While you’re trying to incorporate more salads into your family’s diet, keep a list of their favorites.
There are TONS of different salads for you to choose from. Pinterest and food blogs (AHEM, haha!) are incredible resources with some delicious ideas. Just like anything, it’ll take a bit of trial and error, but with these simple tips, you’ll have your family loving salads in no time!
Let’s get our family to eat and enjoy salads — together!
Picky eater pushback? It doesn’t have to be this way. We’re here to help! Simple Secrets to Getting Your Family to Eat Healthy Food will help you put an end to the dinnertime drama once and for all.