36 Ingredients to Get Your Kids Excited About Salad

Poke salad bowl
Todd Beltz/Stocksy United
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We’ve all been there with a bowl full of greens, the traditional toppings, and inevitably… boredom. Many of us try to eat more veggies, and salads are a no-cook way to add leafy greens and other vegetables to our diet. But if salads don't appeal to you or excite you, remember there are other ways to enjoy veggies. And salads don't have to be boring!

So, how can we add some pizzazz to our salads and get our kids excited about them too? The key is variety. So, grab a pencil and start a list of your favorite toppings.

Leafy Greens

Greens
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

First up, the foundation of our salads. One of the best ways to add nutrition and crunchy texture to your salads is by starting with leafy greens as the foundation of your salad. It's important to create a salad that you love, so use the type of green that appeals to you the most. Dark green, leafy veggies are full of vitamins (A, C, and K predominately) as well as antioxidants and other phytochemicals (plant nutrients that aren’t required in the body, but have positive health benefits). So if you enjoy them, they're a great choice for a salad base.

Here are the most nutrient-rich leafy greens to add to your salads:

  1. Spinach
  2. Kale
  3. Romaine lettuce
  4. Arugula
  5. Baby beet greens

Great Grains

You may not have tried grains in salads, but adding in these cooked grains can create a satisfying texture, contribute flavors that pair well with other ingredients in the salad, and offer nutrients like fiber, protein, and B vitamins. These five whole grains make delicious additions to your leafy greens.

Grains to add to your salad:

  1. Quinoa
  2. Brown rice
  3. Bulgur
  4. Barley
  5. Farro

Protein Punch

Don’t let your salad sit on the side; make it the main event! Adding a lean protein source to your salad is a great way to take this side dish to the center of the plate. These protein sources are sure to make your salad a satisfying, healthy experience.

Lean protein to add to your salad:

  1. Salmon
  2. Chicken (grilled or baked, seasoned)
  3. Shrimp
  4. Boiled eggs
  5. Chick peas
  6. Almonds (sliced, slivered, or whole)
  7. Sunflower seeds
  8. Black beans

Veggie Variety

The veggie additions don't have to stop at the greens. The possibilities for additional veggies are really endless, but here are a few more ideas that create unique and delicious flavor and texture combinations. Raw or cooked, diced or sliced, these veggies pack in flavor and nutrition.

Vegetables to add to your salad:

  1. Avocados
  2. Tomatoes
  3. Corn
  4. Sweet potatoes
  5. Broccoli
  6. Red onions
  7. Cucumbers
  8. Rainbow carrots
  9. Bell peppers
  10. Mushrooms
  11. Olives
  12. Cauliflower

Fun Fruits

Don’t forget the fruit! Fruit is a great addition to a salad to provide a sweet and savory flavor balance. Sometimes adding fruit seems like an odd combination, but it’s really a great way to elevate flavor complexity while also adding an even bigger variety of nutrients.

Fruit to add to your salad:

  1. Citrus
  2. Apples
  3. Pears
  4. Pomegranates arils
  5. Berries
  6. Dried fruits (craisins, raisins, mangoes)

Dressings

And what about the dressing? Diet culture would lead us to believe we should skip it or go fat-free, but our bodies actually need fat in order to absorb certain nutrients. Plus dressings add flavor and moisture to help make meals more enjoyable. From fruity vinaigrettes to savory herbed versions of oil and citrus juices, the possibilities are just as endless as the salad toppings.

Let’s Review

  • Start with some nutrient-packed leafy greens
  • Add in some grains for variety
  • Next pack in the protein
  • Pile on the veggies
  • Add some fruit
  • And last but not least, don't forget the dressing!

So, pick a few of your favorites off the list and let your creative juices flow! Your palate will thank you and so will your kids!

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