Friday, October 22, 2010

Salad Bar at Home

We love having "salad bar" at home.
(editor's note: This pic is from a party, not a normal food day for us.)

My oldest child loves it so much that he has requested a salad bar (plus baked potato bar) for his birthday the past two years. He loves having the smorgasboard to choose from. He's not picky; that's the problem. He loves it all and wants it all. I always say that if we build another house, I need to just have a long salad bar with a cooler built in, just like at a restaurant or Whole Foods. Then at meal time, or when they want a snack, I can just lift the lids off the top and there ya go.

At least once a week, I try to make a meal (then we have leftovers for the next day, as well) that looks something like this: mixed greens, chickpeas, hearts of palm, carrots, avocado, celery diced, squash, cucumbers, broccoli, croutons, olives, cauliflower, etc.

It's amazing how much more my children prefer this. If I make a big salad for everyone to share, they might eat it (the two little ones will pick through it as they are choosing what to eat), but they aren't necessarily excited. But when they sit down to the above, they ARE excited. Partly, it is the young child aversion to mixing foods. Also, they are as stubborn as their mother and like to make their own choices. They end up spooning almost everything onto their plates, even the foods they would have picked out from my prepared salad, just because it's "fun" for them to spoon something out. They are even told ahead of time that if they put it on their plate, they have to eat it. (If they are full, we save it for them.)

one child's dish (in progress)

another child's dish

Even my pickiest middle child seems to make good choices when the choice is his to make.

preparing croutons, shaking the pieces of bread
in a bag with olive oil and spices before baking

And what's better than croutons? Daiya-covered croutons.
Here's the very decadent thing we have done a few times. So good.

Have a great weekend, everyone! We're headed north for a little road trip to see my husband's family and watch our favorite college basketball team. I look forward to catching up on everyone's blogs while in the car.

Even if this is what my phone has looked like the past few weeks. I've dropped phones dozens of times so I was a little surprised this was possible with one light drop to the driveway.


  1. I love this idea and love that your kids enjoy it too. That's awesome. Hope you have a safe trip!

  2. ooh that phone pic made me cringe. it still works?

    i used to love having salad bars at home!! one of our fav restaurants growing up was souplantation.a huge sald bar and hot bar place.that is so cool that your boy wanted a salad bar for his bday! i bet a lot of his friends were floored:) have fun on your trip!

  3. oh and there is something for you at my blog!!

  4. Looking forward to hearing what you discover on your journey.

  5. That salad spread is quite impressive! It's also a really good idea to get kids to eat more vegetables. Even purple ones!
    Plus...those croutons look great.

  6. That is an awesome concept...I can imagine how fun it must be for the kids. I'm sure they love being able to make their own choices! It just goes to show that kids can learn and love to eat healthy w/o being pandered to. I have a family member with kids that are very fussy; so to avoid the hassle, they give the kids choc milk and pizza for dinner...not that that's bad sometimes, but not all the time...they could really learn a lot from how you do things.

    I like that crouton/daiya idea, sounds delicious. Have a fun trip!

  7. What a great idea! I've never thought of an at-home salad bar. Yours is so pretty! I like the shiny plates, too; I bet the kids love them.

  8. We love doing this, too! I think it's just fun for the kids to have some choice in their meals at home. Great ingredients. Bummer about the phone.

  9. i like those serving platters with the separate compartments. hooray for non-picky kids who like salad!

  10. What an amazing idea! I wish I'd thought of serving salad this way when our kids were young. I think I'm going to invite all the kids to come to our house for a family salad potluck and turn the kitchen table into a salad bar like yours. Maybe I'll make some soup, too. And bread. And potatoes!

  11. I love the idea of your home salad fun.
    Yum...homemade croutons. I need to do that. :o)

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