For many adults, a salad is cheerful, fresh, colorful and rich in flavor. For a child, it is the unknown. The adult must therefore gently accompany the child in the discovery.
A little reminder
One serving of vegetables is equal to 250 ml (1 cup) of raw leafy vegetables. The question to ask is: "Is a 2 or 3 year old child able to consume that much?" " Probably not! You have to respect his appetite… To make sure you offer enough vegetables to meet the child's nutritional needs, other chopped vegetables, raw or cooked, can be offered at the same meal or snack.
From pale to bright colors
Some kids will love the bright, crisp colors on their plate. Others will like beige or white; these are, for them, reassuring colors. This must therefore be taken into account when discovering new foods. You have to observe the child, see what he prefers and how he reacts. If the child is afraid of a dish rich in colors, there are certain foods that can go together perfectly and that allow a discovery of leafy vegetables. A salad of Boston lettuce, cucumber,honeydew melon and fresh mint drizzled with a mild vinaigrette made from olive oil is a good example. Subsequently, the addition of red leaf lettuce or romaine lettuce or another vegetable of a darker or brighter color can be added.
A mixture of knowns and unknowns
Boston lettuce, romaine lettuce, iceberg lettuce and green leaf lettuce are usually featured in salads. Children usually recognize and accept them quite easily. We must take advantage of this opportunity to discover unknown lettuces. A few arugula leaves could be introduced to a green leaf lettuce salad. Chunks of Provolone cheese and walnut oil dressing could be added.
The dressing, salad dressing and mayonnaise
Some children will reject salads even though they love the vegetables in them. Why? It may be because of the dressing, salad dressing or mayonnaise. That being said, you shouldn't refrain from offering salads to children. You may need to reduce the amount of sauce added; sweeten the vinaigrette with a little maple syrup; decrease the amount of vinegar or mustard in the vinaigrette; replace some of the mayonnaise with plain yogurt, etc. You have to give your taste buds time to get used to all its new flavors and textures.
Making a salad is a fun way to introduce a child to the various lettuces andeven certain grain products, legumes, fresh fruits, dried fruits, vegetables, cheeses, oils, spices, herbs, etc. Perhaps by participating in its making, the temptation to taste it will be stronger? Spinach, strawberry and cantaloupe salad is an easy recipe to make with him.
For a sensitive child to try new foods, give them the chance to look at foods, describe them, taste them, smell them and touch them. You have to make it a pleasant experience!