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A Healthier Salad: Make a MyPlate Salad Bar
An easy, healthy way to include your child in dinner prep is to let them create their own salads. Here are 4 themed salad ideas to make dinner into a creative adventure!


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Create your own adventure one vegetable at a time.


Creating a salad bar as a family meal is an easy and fun way to allow each member of your family to have creative control over their meal.”
Children take pride in what they create, whether it’s a picture colored with crayons or a meal they helped prepare for themselves and their family. When encouraging healthy eating, participation is a key to success.

Creating a salad bar as a family meal is an easy and fun way to allow each member of your family to have creative control over their meal, while encouraging exploration and adventure of their taste buds. In addition, children can help in multiple ways to prepare the meal and take pride in the variety and choices they’ve helped to make for the family.

Your salad bar can have many ingredients, but to ensure you are preparing a balanced meal, you can use MyPlate as your guide. It is a simple way to think about choosing ingredients from each of the food groups including: vegetables, fruits, proteins, grains and dairy.

When creating your salad bar feast remember:
* Make half your plates vegetables and fruits
* Take time to enjoy eating the meal you’ve prepared
* Eat low-fat dairy
* Make half your grains, whole grains
* Choose lean proteins
* Use a smaller plate to help with portion control

Themed Salad Bars

Creating a theme for your salad bar will make it fun! It will also encourage your children to try new flavors and foods, while allowing them to explore at their own pace.

Once you have chosen a theme, select foods from the list of ingredients in each column. We suggest 4 vegetables, 2 fruits, 1 protein, 1 grain, 1 dairy and 1-2 salad dressing (store-bought or homemade). Set up foods on the table in bowls or small plates. At meal time, each person can choose foods to build their own personal salad! Enjoy a wonderful and healthy family meal!

Asian

Vegetables Fruits Proteins Grains Dairy
Bamboo Shoots
Bean Sprouts
Bean Sprouts Edamame
Bok Choy
Celery
Cilantro
Napa or Green Cabbage
Scallions
Snow Peas
Water Chestnuts
Asian Pear
Lychees
Mandarin Oranges
Melon
Pineapple
Cashews
Firm Tofu Cubes
Stir-fried chicken,
beef or pork (thin sliced)
Cooked or Fried rice
Crushed Ramen noodles (dry)
Soba Noodles
Asian Cuisine doesn't often include dairy, so try green tea ice cream for a special treat as your desert.


Sesame Ginger Dressing

Ingredients:
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tbsp. sesame oil
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
2 tbsp. brown sugar

Directions:
Make the dressing by combining all ingredients in an air-tight container.  Cover and shake well.

Mediterranean

Vegetables Fruits Proteins Grains Dairy
Artichoke Hearts
Cucumbers
Hearts of Palm
Kalamata/Green Olives
Mushrooms
Red Onions
Red Peppers
Romaine Lettuce
Spinach
Tomatoes
Yellow Peppers
Cranberries
Dates
Figs
Pears
Pomegranate
Raisins
Shredded Coconut
Chicken
Garbanzo Beans
Hard-cooked eggs
Pistachio
Sardines
Tuna
White Beans
Couscous
Crispy pita chips
Quinoa
Feta Cheese
Parmesan Cheese


Lemon Dressing:

Ingredients:
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
3 tbsp. lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced or crushed
Pinch of salt & pepper

Directions:
Make the dressing by combining all ingredients in an air-tight container.  Cover and shake well.

Creamy Dill Dressing

Ingredients:
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp. chives or scallions, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
1 tbsp. lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well until smooth and creamy. Chill until ready to serve.

Mexican

Vegetables Fruits Proteins Grains Dairy
Avocado
Carrots
Chiles
Cilantro
Corn
Green Peppers
Olives
Onions
Romaine Lettuce
Tomatoes
Guava
Mango
Oranges
Papaya

Chicken
Ground Beef
Pinto, Kidney or Black Beans
Shredded Pork

Tip: cook meat or beans with taco-seasoning.

Brown Rice
Crushed Corn Tortillas Chips
Whole Wheat Tortillas
Shredded Cheese (Cheddar, Colby, Monterey Jack
Sour Cream


Cilantro Lime Dressing

Ingredients:
1 cup cilantro
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup lime juice
1 garlic clove
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt

Directions:
Place all ingredients in a blender and whirl until smooth.

Simple dressing Idea:
Use store-bought salsa for your Mexican themed salad bar.

Fruit & Nut

Vegetables Fruits Proteins Grains Dairy
Mixed Greens
Romaine Lettuce
Spinach
Arugula
Purple Cabbage
Sugar Snap Peas
Shredded Carrots
Sliced Apples
Sliced Pears
Strawberries
Blueberries
Raspberries
Raisins
Dried Cranberries
Oranges
Shredded Coconut

Pecans
Walnuts
Almonds
Pistachios

Granola Yogurt Dressing (recipe below)


Yogurt Dressing:

Ingredients:
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
1 tbsp. honey
Dash of cinnamon or nutmeg
1/4 cup milk

Directions:
Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well until smooth and creamy. Chill until ready to serve.

Cheryl Tallman is the founder of Fresh Baby (www.FreshBaby.com). For more than 10 years, Fresh Baby helped has helped parents foster their children’s healthy eating habits and proactively respond to the childhood obesity epidemic that plagues our nation. Cheryl is the author and designer of the company’s award-winning cookbooks and nutrition education products that support many stages of family life including: pregnancy, breastfeeding, introducing solid foods, and feeding toddlers, preschoolers and school-aged children.

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Over 1 million couples turn to Hitched for expert marital advice every year. Sign up now for our newsletter & get exclusive weekly content that will entertain, educate and inspire your marriage.



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