Teach Your Kids How to Make a Green Salad
For most of us who cook dinner every day, throwing a green salad together is something we can do with our eyes closed. However, people aren't born instinctively knowing how to make a salad. When I was about ten years old, my mother decided to delegate the job of making the salad for dinner to me. I was proud and excited to be deemed worthy of such an important job, but I froze. I didn't know how to make a salad, even though I had seen plenty (and even eaten a few, though not as many as my mother would have liked). My mother eventually walked me through the steps, and now it is my turn to do the same for my kids. Why not teach yours, too, so they can get a start on healthy eating for life?
Gather the salad ingredients
It may sound silly to you, but start with the absolute basics. Explain to your kids that the base of a salad is usually some kind of lettuce (the green in green salad), and that the other ingredients can vary according to taste and what's available. Some common green salad ingredients are:
- bell peppers
For a fancier salad, you can add more exotic ingredients:
- dried cranberries
- walnuts or almonds
- mandarin orange slices
But be sure to let your kids know that the recipe for a basic green salad isn't set in stone. If you're out of olives, skip them! If you don't like onions, skip those, too! Have a jar of roasted red peppers in the fridge? You can add them for a pop of color and flavor. Tell them to have fun with it, be creative, and don't stress over "missing" ingredients.
Prepare the salad ingredients
Show your kids how to wash the vegetables. Rinse the tomatoes under running water, wash the seeds out from the inside of the green pepper, and wash the lettuce carefully to remove pathogens, dirt, and tiny bugs. (Kids love to use salad spinners, so if you have one, dig it out and let your kids go wild spinning your lettuce clean.)
If you buy whole carrots, show your kids how to use a peeler safely. Demonstrate proper knife usage for older kids. Supervise closely the first few times as your kids get used to the kitchen equipment.
Toss it all in!
Here comes the fun part: they get to toss it all in a bowl and mix it up! (Remind them to wash their hands again before sticking them in the salad bowl, especially if they've done other tasks in between prepping the veggies and putting them in.) Your child may enjoy getting creative and arranging every green pepper ring just so, or she may just give the bowl a shake and call it good enough. Don't fret if the salad isn't beautiful, or if it isn't exactly the way you would have done it. Let your child take ownership of the salad and be proud of the grown-up job she's done.