I have been blessed with children who are not very picky. At least, they are not picky about foods that kids tend to be picky about. Even before switching to mostly plant-based whole food, they definitely lived on more than macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, and pizza.
Sometimes the kids do balk at some of the foods I make. My 6-year-old doesn’t like salad dressings or sweet potatoes as a rule, my 10-year-old doesn’t care for seitan, and my 3-year-old usually leaves leafy greens and olives on the plate when they’re part of the meal.
But I know I’ve done something right when they gobble up something that typical children would turn their noses up at. As I was getting ingredients prepped for this salad lunch, my kids were truly excited to see each new fruit and vegetable I added to the lineup. They went back for seconds, and even kept snitching little bites of fruit, vegetable, or dressing after the meal was over.
We often serve meals buffet-style. I place everything in bowls on the kitchen island, and everybody takes whatever toppings they would like. I’ll stipulate they have to have at least two vegetables, or something like that, but each child is in charge of building their own plate. They often surprise me with what they choose, like the time my toddler loaded his plate with mushrooms and actually ate almost all of them.
Anyway, this is a system that we have found works well for us when we have meals like salad, power bowls, or other dishes where you just pile a variety of food on your plate.
Fruitful Salad with Balsamic Poppy Seed Vinaigrette
Green leaf lettuce
Cooked lentils, seasoned with salt and pepper
Diced bell pepper
Oranges, peeled and sectioned or chopped
Fresh pineapple, chopped
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp poppy seeds
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste
For vinaigrette, whisk together all ingredients.
Serve buffet-style – layer salad ingredients on individual plates and drizzle with vinaigrette.