While the majority of our customers are adults, kids also love The Olive Scene! Some enjoy the store experience, while some just love to eat our products. Dark balsamic vinegars are usually favorites, and we’ve been known to pour a little bit into a dish for our little ones to dip pork, chicken, or roasted veggies. And while ranch dressing is unlikely to be dethroned as a kid favorite salad dressing, our vinaigrettes are also a big hit! A sweeter, dark balsamic vinegar drizzled over fruit is a classic trick to get kids to eat more fruit, too.
If you’re looking for ways to encourage kids to eat a healthier lunch, try whole grain salads. They don’t have the green leaves that some kids won’t touch and the texture is similar to a pasta salad, making it more approachable for kids. They carry a mega-dose of fiber to keep kids feeling full longer as well as aid in digestive health. Whole grains also contain a solid dose of iron, b-vitamins, and magnesium (which is crucial for bone health and development).
Our favorite whole grains are nuttier and have a bigger grain, which makes them chewier. Farro, freekah, bulgar wheat, barley, and wheat berry can sound a little intimidating, but they're surprisingly easy to find (check the healthy foods aisles of your grocery store or look online) and you cook them just like pasta.
Quinoa is a classic whole wheat, but the flavor can be a tough sell for some kids. To make whole grains more appealing for little palates (and big ones, for that matter!), toss the grains in a vinaigrette while still slightly warm and they’ll absorb some of the liquid and have tons of flavor.
Add bite-sized pieces of your kids’ favorite proteins, cheese and vegetables to the grains to make a complete meal in one bowl. We love to add diced chicken, steak, or pork. There’s no limit when it comes to vegetables; try mushrooms, asparagus, sweet potatoes, roasted carrots, corn, peas, broccoli, and more! Little pieces of mozzarella are usually the safest bet, but more adventurous eaters might like goat cheese, feta, or blue cheese. If your kiddos aren’t turned off by green leaves, spinach and arugula are fantastic additions as well.
What kids eat for lunch can have a huge impact on their ability to learn and focus in school. If healthy eating is a priority for you this school year, check out EatRight.org. It’s a great resource from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics with recipes and information to help keep your kids (and adults!) healthy and happy.
We also have some lunchbox-friendly recipes for both kids and adults on our blog, and you can follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more recipes and ideas. As always, we encourage you to stop by The Olive Scene and let our sales associates help you put together delicious flavor combinations and come up with amazing dishes that your family will love!