Now, there’s a loaded question: CAN you trick your family into eating more raw food? Personally, I’m not into hiding spinach in the cupcakes. But I’m not above making sure that the raw vegan stuff I’m eating is as appealing to the rest of the family as possible.
Take, for instance, salad. I know what you’re thinking: Isn’t that about the most boring raw food one could conceive of? I beg to differ. A salad is something that can easily be added to the table as a side dish. But throw in unexpected goodies, and everyone will be digging in and asking for seconds.
For starters, don’t do the iceberg lettuce. Don’t. Do. It. There’s hardly any nutrition in the stuff, let alone taste. Instead, go for a nice mix of dark leafy greens, some of the healthiest, most nutrient dense food on the planet. They don’t have to be expensive. For instance, Costco carries large tubs of mixed salad greens at a great price, and if you’ve got a Trader Joe’s about, they have handy inexpensive bags of salad greens, as well.
Next, make sure there’s a protein in there. I’m not talking tired old chicken left over from Sunday’s dinner. I’m talking chickpeas, almonds, black beans, peanuts, sunflower seeds, etc. Pick one or two (or three) and toss them in.
Add something sweet. My son isn’t usually hip on salad, but the ones I’ve been setting on the table lately have him coming back for more. Adding some chopped apple, a handful of fresh blueberries, or some raisins turns the salad into a treasure hunt for kids.
Throw in several different colors and textures so the salad is interesting. Try colored bell pepper slices, carrot shavings (or matchsticks), radish slices, red onion, corn, tomatoes, anything with vibrant color.
Finally, make sure that salad dressing is not only tasty but healthy. Sure, bottled dressings taste good, but read the ingredients first. Many of them contain high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, and artificial flavorings. A quick mix of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, chopped garlic, a bit of honey, and some spices such as oregano and basil make for an amazing dressing that’s a fraction of the cost. You can make larger amounts up ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator. Or use your favorite salsa and make it taco salad night!
I’ve found a new love of salad by making them interesting and big, BIG, gigantic enough that I can feel like I’m indulging by eating as much as I want. And it’s been interesting to watch the family load up more and more of their plate with dark leafy greens and healthy veggies. Did I trick them? Of course not. I’d never trick my family into eating more raw food – not me.