Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Salad Night

When I was a kid, my mom would do salad night quite often. One of the things I liked best about dinner on those nights were the choices. Providing a child with lots of choice at mealtime isn't always realistic, but on salad night, it can be a treat...a very nutritious one. Little kids love to be in control and want to make their own choices, but unfortunately being able to choose is not always an option. On salad night, however, the options/choices can be limitless and encourage your child to make healthy food choices without a fight. For example, they may not "choose" to add crunchy green broccoli to their salad, but may "choose" ripe red tomatoes instead. Gradually, this trick will broaden your child's tastes for veggies without the dinner time hassles of offering only one choice that is easy to shoot down. Salad night is a great opportunity to cook with your children and spend extra quality time with them. Even young toddlers can help wash and tear lettuce and older children can help cut up hard boiled eggs with a plastic knife. You can also do most of the preparation in advance for those nights when dinner needs to happen in a flash. It's fun, healthy and easy! No heating up the house, leftovers can be thrown into another meal later, and it opens up lots of conversation. Make salad night a regular in your home and watch your children's taste buds blossom!

Recipe for a Salad Night

Greens: You can select one or many. Rotate varieties or mix for the greatest health benefit!
-spring mix
-cabbage(green or purple)

-hard boiled eggs, sliced
-cottage cheese
-shredded cheese
-beans and legumes:black/white/kidney/chick peas/lentils
-nuts and seeds: LOVE sunflower seeds, but you can also use walnuts, pecans, almonds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
-chunks of chicken, salmon, tuna, shrimp, etc.

-shredded carrots
-green peas
-mushrooms, sliced
-corn kernels
-olives, sliced
-variety of bell peppers

Use your imagination because nearly anything makes a great salad topping. Just make sure you use as many different colors as possible to fulfill your family's health requirements! Serve with a variety of low sugar salad dressings. Keep in mind, those made with canola and olive oils are the healthiest varieties. Add some whole grain ak mak crackers and you have a healthy meal!

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