Getting enough veggies into my little man has always been a challenge. Andrew is almost 4 and seems to be getting pickier every day! Up until a few weeks ago he would eat cucumber, red peppers and carrots and could occasionally be
bribed convinced to eat cooked broccoli and asparagus. I know this is pretty common at his age, and was pretty happy that we had a few reliable veggie options. However, we were recently enjoying dinner with friends and I couldn't get over how quickly their little guy devoured his salad. My friend assured me that this was a new phenomena and gave me a few ideas for how to introduce salad to Andrew. I followed her advice and sure enough, within a couple of weeks Andrew was emptying his bowl and asking for more!
Here are her tips along with a few I found to be successful!
1. Introduce one new ingredient at a time - The first few times I made a salad for Andrew it was simply lettuce and red peppers. I made sure to hide some of the peppers under the lettuce so he would have to dig around to find them all.
2. Keep the dressing coming! - As adults we worry about using too much salad dressing, but for kids it may be necessary to entice them to try something new. Even if they are simply using a carrot to get the dressing into their mouths, if they eat that one carrot once the dressing is gone they have taken a step in the right direction.
3. Ditch the fork - encourage your child to eat their salad with their fingers, it's much easier and fully exploring the new foods might be necessary before they pop it in their mouth.
4. Don't chop the veggies - kids lose interest fast and if their veggies are sliced, rather than chopped, they will hopefully take larger bites before they call it quits.
5. Add some cheese - this is really a no brainer, cheese makes most things a bit tastier!
To get started, I presented Andrew with some salad a few times a week. At first he picked out what he liked, leaving the lettuce behind. I slowly added some other veggies and he didn't seem to mind that they were mixed together (previously a serious offence). After three or four days, I watched as he held a large piece of lettuce, licked off the dressing and then took a big bite (I didn't say a word but celebrated my small victory on the inside!). Now that he has become more comfortable with salads I have stopped adding the dressing and cheese. Some days he will request it, but more often than not he doesn't even notice that it's missing!
Maybe I need to get out more, but right now watching this little man eat a whole
salad gives me a huge sense of satisfaction!