Remember back in middle school when your mom would pack you a salad for lunch, and you'd sit there with your stomach grumbling at the very thought of a piece of lettuce touching your tongue? If you were to give any kid carte blanche to pick whatever they want for lunch, the leafy green stuff likely wouldn't make the cut. It's a common parenting conundrum: How do you get kids to eat salad?
Even you, as an adult, might only have one or two salads you genuinely crave. But you also know salads pack a ton of nutrition. They're loaded with vitamins and nutrients from raw vegetables. Thus enters the question of how to get kids with unrefined palates, sensory or texture issues, or just picky eating tendencies to scarf down all the wonderfully nutritious ingredients in the veggie-laden bowl before them.
Many child-feeding experts will tell you that the key lies in exposure, and they're not wrong. But one mama recently took to TikTok to share how she moves things along a little bit faster. And, no: There's no trickery involved. She simply serves her kids' salad like it's an easy and amazing dip — with chips.
"You wanna get your kids to eat salad and raw vegetables? This is what you need," promises Marlie Rosenberg.
In her salad bowl, she has carrots, tomatoes, onions, and celery; all diced super, super thin. She mixes those with romaine lettuce and cabbage. Next, she stabs and cuts away at her mixture with kitchen shears.
“We want to get it in super, super small, bite-sized pieces,” she explains.
All of that is well and good and might be enough to make your kids try a salad. But for Rosenberg, one more thing guarantees her kids will devour any salad.
“This is the secret,” Rosenberg says, pointing to a can of sour cream and onion chips. “You serve it with chips.”
This isn’t exactly revolutionary. You already know you need a bit of crunch or texture in your salad. That’s why when you buy salad kits, they come with things like crispy wontons and dried pineapple. It just adds another level of yum to the healthy stuff.
“My kids won’t eat this salad,” Rosenberg admits. “But if I give them chips, they treat it like dip, and they eat it.”
What Rosenberg is capitalizing on here is that most kids will eat anything if chips are involved. Instead of crumbling up some chips to dust over the salad, she lets the chips be the focal point, and the salad serves as a “dip.” She didn’t reinvent the wheel; she just found a better way to use it.
And if you’re worrying about how “healthy” it is if your kid eats a crap ton of chips while pushing salad/dip into their mouths? Rosenberg has a pretty solid answer for that, too.
“I know there’s somebody out there right now who needs to hear this,” Rosenberg says. “But something that’s bad (chips) doesn’t negate something that’s good (salad)... The chips aren’t going to take all the healthy nutrients. In fact, they’re helping them get them inside [their bodies]!”
Think about how you or your parents built your first salads. You probably started with a ratio heavy on croutons or chicken and slowly eased off the familiar foods until you were eating a normally ratioed salad. The process is the same here. Your child might start by eating a whole sleeve of chips as they take tiny dips into their salad. Over time (and exposure), though, they’ll take bigger scoops of salad and require fewer chips to finish the bowl.
And if they’re still not interested in salad dip? Just a gentle reminder that dips like guacamole and salsa also come loaded with veggies... and they probably already love those!