Kid-friendly salad recipes

Apr 3, 2011 at 7:36 p.m. ET

Getting kids to eat their daily servings of fruits and veggies isn't easy. These colorful, fun, kid-friendly salad recipes are guaranteed to tempt even the pickiest eaters.

Mom and kids making salad

Follow the rainbow

Fruits and vegetables, of course, provide vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and many other essential nutrients, and people who eat their quota of fresh fruits and vegetables greatly reduce their risk for chronic illnesses including stroke, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Nutrients are best absorbed by the body when they are eaten in the form of whole foods, rather than supplements, so the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans now encourage both adults and children to fill at least half their plates with fresh fruits and veggies at every meal.

Kids love to eat things they've helped prepare, so make these colorful and kid-friendly salad recipes together.

Ladybug salad

Makes 4 ladybugs


  • 4 leaves of lettuce
  • 4 cored red apple halves
  • 8 toothpick-size slivers of celery
  • Handful of raisins
  • 2 grapes, cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter


  1. Have your kids place each apple half on a leaf of lettuce with the peel side up.
  2. Stick the raisins to the apple with peanut butter. (These are the ladybug's spots.)
  3. Place a grape half at the top of the apple. (This is the ladybug's head.)
  4. Place the celery slivers at the top as antennae.

Vegetable Flowers


  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 orange pepper
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 bunch celery
  • 1 basket cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup salad dressing


  1. Cut each of the peppers widthwise 1 inch from the bottom. You should now have 3 small pepper "bowls."
  2. Cut rest of the peppers into 2-inch-long wedges. Set aside.
  3. Slice cucumber into 1/2-inch rounds. Set aside.
  4. Cut celery stalks into 3-inch wedges. Set aside.
  5. Cut cherry tomatoes in half. Set aside.
  6. Place each pepper bowl in the center of a round plate. Fill with your kids' favorite salad dressing. Ranch and honey lime are good bets.
  7. Have the children use the colorful vegetables to design beautiful flowers. (Imagine the pepper bowls as the centers of the flowers and the veggie wedges as petals.)
  8. Give everyone a chance to show off their designs before you dig in.

Veggie Garden Cups


  • 2 cups multigrain cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup ranch salad dressing
  • Carrot stalks
  • Celery sticks
  • Colorful pepper wedges
  • Green beans
  • Edamame
  • Broccoli stalks
  • Cauliflower stalks


  1. In blender or food processor, pulverize the crackers into crumbs. (These crumbs will serve as the "dirt" in your garden cups.)
  2. Pour a layer of "dirt" into the bottom of 4 clear cups.
  3. Pour a layer of ranch dressing on top of the dirt.
  4. Follow with a second layer of dirt in all 4 cups.
  5. Have your children plant their own gardens with the veggie wedges.
  6. Harvest your gardens and enjoy all the treasures you planted.

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