Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wednesday: Salad Bar

This recipe is a combination of a couple of ideas I found in magazines. It's really just a salad, but served differently than usual. In my All You magazine I saw a picture for a Chef's salad and thought, ya know, my kids might actually eat that. Then, a couple of weeks prior, I saw a picture of another salad idea...compartmentalizing the parts of the salad, and letting your kiddos pick what they want for their salad. (GREAT IDEA, I thought) I will share with you the reasons I thought this was a good idea and the reasons, I thought, it was a not-so-good idea.

First, our ingredients, although the possibilities are truly endless:Romaine lettuce
Feta cheese
Cubed cheddar cheese
hard boiled egg
ham cooked and cubed
cherry tomatoes
cooked and shredded chicken
bacon pieces
Salad dressings

1. Wash all produce and chop into pieces your kids would eat. Separate each food into its own compartment in a muffin pan.2. Give each person a bowl with just the romaine lettuce in it and allow them to pick what they want on their salad. What I loved about this idea is that it highlighted all these possible healthy foods and got our kids really excited about eating a salad, which they typically would have frowned on. Both our 4 year old and our 2 year old requested that they have some of EVERY food! :) We were happy to oblige. They were so excited about the whole thing, but then when it came to eating the food...well, let's just say they had a lot left in their bowl, and my bowl looked like this:I still considered it a win, though, because they did try some things that they would not have tried if I had just put them on their plate and set it in front of them. So, the good thing: the kids get excited about healthy foods, and it feels so good to see them squeeling over vegetables. The down side: some food is wasted in the process.

Another thing I loved is that I used 1 piece of leftover bacon from breakfast, and set aside some ham and chicken from another recipe, and avocado from another recipe...and my thinking was that I could pull this idea out when you are trying to use up some leftovers and it would not feel like such a waste if your kids didn't eat everything in their bowl, or when there is just a little salad dressing left in 5 different bottles in your fridge, as was the case with us. :)

One other thought: Theme salads...items for a taco salad one week, and items for a Caesar salad the next, and so on. Might be a new tradition? Maybe Salad Saturday, or Salad Sunday and you could surprise your family with new choices each week? Just a thought.

Okay, so the reason I was not completely wild about this idea: Could potentially be wasteful, considering that you are washing and chopping many things and you may find that your family won't touch, let alone eat any of them. According to nutrition experts, though, you just keep putting the good stuff in front of them even if they don't touch it and eventually they probably will eat it.

My favorite kind of salad is one that includes slivered almonds and dried cranberries with feta cheese and vinaigrette of some kind. We had a little of the romaine lettuce left over, so I made this salad for lunch the next day. Mmmmmmmmmm....this picture is making my mouth water as I type this.

What are your favorite foods in a salad?


Ethiopianmomma said...

Hey, I love this! How fun and kid friendly. This reminds me of the dipping dinner that we make over here in SuBRABia! Cute idea!!

zookeeper said...

We did a "baked potato bar" one night. Had large potatoes for everyone with lots of toppings to choose from: from chicken, to chili, to broccoli, salsa, cheese, sour cream, bacon, etc. It was a great way to get rid of a lot of things in the fridge!