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DSC_0001 2A peek into our lunch salad bowl. Look at all those gorgeous colors!

With a new baby – just over seven months already! – finding the time to cook has been one major challenge.  But, it’s one task that I cannot let fall to the wayside, especially when I have three other hungry people to feed (four, if you include me, and this nursing mama is always hungry!).  So, I am constantly tweaking (read:  simplifying) my food plan.  If I find something that works, like these delicious salads I’m about to show you, I keep making variations of them throughout the season.

I know it’s almost summer, but I’ll call these spring salads because I’ve been making them for the past month or more.  You can start with these salads as a base, then change out ingredients as you wish, based on what is in season or what your family likes.  The flavors are tangy and sweet, but not overly so.

The best part about these salads is that they are so appealing to kids!

When I make them for lunches, this is our lunch.

That’s it! Simple, and they love it.  If I could offer my best tip to get kids to eat salads like these:  make an irresistible dressing.  (A second tip would be to season along the way.  I like to sprinkle sea salt or Herbamare on my salad before I dress it…not necessary, but I find the flavors of each ingredient pop.)

The first salad is a green salad (there’s nothing better than fresh tender lettuce growing outside the back door) with a blueberry vinaigrette.  There are so many wonderful layers to this salad, from bottom to top:  garden lettuce, sliced cucumbers, farm fresh sugar snap peas, pecans, avocados, peaches and of course some more blueberries.

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The second salad is a quinoa salad with orange vinaigrette.  I have made so many variations of this salad, including using two different orange vinaigrettes.  One of the vinaigrettes is from my beloved Nourishing Meals.

This first take was made using red and white quinoa with cucumbers, peaches, red onions, scallions, red bell peppers, chopped basil and avocados.

DSC_0004The second take was with red and white quinoa, but this time with mangoes, grape tomatoes, scallions and white beans.

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And, the third take will give you an idea of one of my child’s plates.  The quinoa is on a bed of lettuce with peaches, cucumbers and avocados.  That’s a dollop of homemade hummus on the left.  This may not seem like a lot, but I always start out with a smaller portion of whatever I give them, then offer more.  I don’t feel comfortable forcing them to eat large portions of food, if I have overestimated how hungry they were.

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I have so many things to write about here, but not so much time lately! But, the last thing I will share today is how we are feeding our baby girl.  We’ve decided to do Baby Led Weaning with her, and it’s working out so well! I truly believe this is a great way to introduce her to many different textures and flavors of the delicious foods we eat, while allowing her to decide how much food to eat.

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Warning:  Baby Led Weaning is not for the faint of heart! It’s a messy endeavor! :)

We are slowly introducing various whole foods to her (breastmilk is still her main source of nutrition):  some cooked, some raw – all cut to size so she can pick them up and feed herself.  No purees necessary! With that said, I did just make a batch of my homemade applesauce and she did a fine job feeding herself with a small wooden spoon.  She loved the applesauce, almost as much as she loved chewing on the spoon!

I hope you enjoyed our salad ideas! For more excellent recipes and ideas on how to introduce meal-sized salads to your family, check out my friend Renee’s ebook Eat This:  Meal Salads and Whole Food Dressings.

From our kitchen to yours,

Happy Eating!

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