Sneaky Nutrition: Salad Toppers Your Charges Will Actually Eat

Photo courtesy Katarina Gasic
Photo courtesy Katarina Gasic

by katarina gasic, MS, RD

Trying to get your charges to eat vegetables can be a real struggle. Put a salad in front of your NannyKids and you may as well be asking for a temper tantrum. But hold the press! These salad toppers pack a lot of flavor and offer a whole lot of nutrition, making veggie time more fun for your littles. Feel free to mix and match these toppers for a nutritiously rich and tasty salad that both you and your charges will enjoy.

Clementine: This small citrus fruit is low in calories and rich in vitamin C. It has a delicious sweet flavor that makes it a perfect compliment to any salad. Boost your charge’s immunity while increasing their desire to eat healthy. Score!

Edamame: Edamame may be small and green but it packs a great nutritional punch. Edamame is a great source of fiber, protein, folate, and vitamin K, which helps build strong bones. The best part about this topper is that it tastes great on any salad and also makes a wonderful snack for later.

Sunflower Seeds: If you are looking to boost the satiety factor of your salad then sunflower seeds are a great choice. They will take away your hunger while subsequently providing generous amounts of vitamin E, magnesium, and selenium. Vitamin E is often praised for its anti-inflammatory properties while magnesium has been linked to reducing the severity of asthma, making it a spring salad essential.

Avocado: Fresh avocado is rich in antioxidants, omega 3-fatty acids, and offers a wide array of anti-inflammatory health benefits. Avocados sometimes get a bad reputation for being rich in calories but this is the perfect topper for picky eaters who may be in need of some extra calories.

Fresh Red Peppers: If you are in need of a topper that is sweet and crunchy, then look no further. Red peppers are known for their vibrant color but they are also loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C, antioxidants, and fiber.

Blueberries: These berries often play second best to strawberries. Their unique health benefits are frequently overshadowed. Blueberries offer a plethora of phytonutrients that have shown to provide cognitive, cardiovascular, and eye health benefits among many more. Try swapping out strawberries for blueberries on your next salad; your taste buds will appreciate the change.

Baked Chickpeas: If you are tired of croutons on your salad but are looking for a little extra crunch, then baked chickpeas are the perfect pick! Their mild flavor allows you to build upon them with any seasoning of your choice. Baked chickpeas are quick and easy to make and can double as a snack for later.

Chicken: This topper can quickly take your boring side salad and make it into an exciting entrée. Chicken is a great source of protein, which is essential for building and maintaining muscles, tissues, organs, and the body’s immune system. Protein-rich foods have a lot to offer, but best of all is knowing that it will leave your charges feeling full for longer!

Dried Cranberries: They may be small but they sure have a lot to offer! Dried cranberries are rich in antioxidants and fiber, but make sure you choose ones without added sugar to maximize on the health benefits offered.

Cheese: This topper is rich in calcium and vitamin D, which are essentials for building strong bones in kids. But cheese isn’t only good for bone health; research suggests it may help protect teeth against cavities! Feel free to sprinkle a little extra on for your charges with a sweet tooth.

Say goodbye to boring and repetitive salads and say hello to new and creative salad toppers. Found a topper of your own? Share it in the comments!