Apples and banana peanut butter bread

Children take pride in what they create, whether it’s a picture colored with crayons or a meal they helped prepare for themselves and their family. When encouraging healthy eating, participation is a key to success.

Creating a salad bar as a family meal is an easy and fun way to allow each member of your family to have creative control over their meal, while encouraging exploration and adventure of their taste buds. In addition, children can help in multiple ways to prepare the meal and take pride in the variety and choices they’ve helped to make for the family.

Your salad bar can have many ingredients, but to ensure you are preparing a balanced meal, you can use MyPlate as your guide. It is a simple way to think about choosing ingredients from each of the food groups including: Vegetables, Fruits, Proteins, Grains and Dairy.

When creating your salad bar feast remember:

· Make half your plates vegetables and fruits

· Take time to enjoy eating the meal you’ve prepared

· Eat low-fat dairy

· Make half your grains, whole grains

· Choose lean proteins

· Use a smaller plate to help with portion control

Themed Salad Bars

Creating a theme for your salad bar will make it fun! It will also encourage your children to try new flavors and foods, while allowing them to explore at their own pace.

Once you have chosen a theme, select foods from the list of ingredients in each column. We suggest 4 vegetables, 2 fruits, 1 protein, 1 grain, 1 dairy and 1-2 salad dressing (store-bought or homemade). Set up foods on the table in bowls or small plates. At meal time, each person can choose foods to build their own personal salad! Enjoy a wonderful and healthy family meal!


Asian Salad Bar

Sesame Ginger Dressing


  • ½ cup Olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp. Soy sauce
  • ¼ cup. Rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp. Fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. Brown sugar

Make the dressing by combining all ingredients in an air-tight container. Cover and shake well.


Mediterranian Salad bar

Lemon Dressing:

  • ½ cup Olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. White wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. Lemon juice
  • 1 Garlic clove, minced or crushed
  • Pinch of salt & pepper

Make the dressing by combining all ingredients in an air-tight container. Cover and shake well.

Creamy Dill Dressing:


  • ½ cup Plain yogurt
  • ½ cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. Chives or scallions, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. Fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. Lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well until smooth and creamy. Chill until ready to serve.


Mexican Salad Bar

Cilantro Lime Dressing


  • 1 cup Cilantro
  • ½ cup Canola oil
  • ¼ cup Lime juice
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • 2 tsp. Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Salt