Saadia’s Tomato, Pepper & Cucumber Salad Sticks
Serves: As many as you like!
Prep time: 5 mins
Cherry tomatoes (or tomatoes cut into bitesize pieces)
(Yellow) pepper, chopped into bitesize chunks
Cucumber, chopped into bitesize chunks or sliced
Baby spinach leaves
Veg Portions / Serving: 1
Recipe and photography from Saadia Noorani
Salad sticks are a fun, attractive and engaging way to get kids more excited about veg! Perfectly portable, they are great for summer campouts, travel, picnics, lunchboxes and BBQs. Get the kids making these salad sticks this summer – it’s as fun to make as it is to eat. Why not come up with your own favourite combinations and share them with us on social, tagging @VegPowerUK and #SaladSticks.
Thread prepped ingredients onto skewers to make salad sticks, alternating the ingredients whichever way you like.
Serve as is or better yet, with a favourite dip.
Still got ingredients leftover? Toss the remaining ingredients together with extra baby spinach leaves for a more ‘traditional’ salad and drizzle with dressing (and fresh chopped herbs if you like) just before serving. To keep it portable, make sure you keep the salad ingredients (and herbs, if using) in a separate container to the dressing and add at the last minute to keep everything fresh and crisp. Cubed cheese, cooked meat or fish or beans/lentils, croutons/torn bread or chopped apple or pear are all great additions if you have them.
Kids who engage regularly with veg through veg-themed activities, such as arts and crafts, sensory experiences, growing and cooking are shown to be more likely to eat the veg they engage with. Encouraging kids to engage and play with veg is the handy first step to them developing a good relationship with veg and life-long healthy eating.
Kids in the kitchen
Kids can really take charge here, which is part of why salad sticks are so popular with them! Make sure to prep any chopped ingredients for them, and keep an eye on their fingers around the sharp end of the skewer, but otherwise let them build it themselves. Help them with any harder ingredients.
While getting kids to interact with veggies for real and using their senses to explore them is best, encouraging hands off activities like arts & crafts, puzzles & games or at-home science experiments can be a great start, particularly for those who are fussier eaters or struggle with anything too sensory. Use these veg-themed activities as a stepping stone to interacting with the veg themselves. We have loads of crafty downloads here, puzzles here, and quirky science with veg here.
Once you feel your child is ready to engage a little more, you can show them how to explore the veg you have on hand with their senses, coming up with playful silly descriptions of how a veg smells, feels, looks, sounds and perhaps even tastes. Find ideas, videos and some simple sensory education session ideas to get you started here.
The moments before food is offered can be a perfect opportunity for engagement that can help make it more likely a child will eat it! Giving children a sense of ownership in the meal can make a big difference to their feelings going into it and the pride they take in it. You know your child best, but if you aren’t sure where to start, we have some fun and simple ideas for easy roles you can give them in the serving process over here.