Lettuce is great! It’s a vehicle to nutrition. Protein, calcium, Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, iron and many minerals are all in it. It’s packed with water, giving it a rigid texture that satisfies our want for crunch as we eat. And it can be a means to more nutrition. Dress up a salad with a sweet vinaigrette, and you can sneak in all sorts of veggies that your kids might not eat otherwise: peppers, celery, grated carrot, and green onion. Or dress it with a buttermilk ranch dressing, add a little-shredded cheese, and they’ll gobble up pinto beans, tomatoes and cucumber like it’s their favorite meal.
One important key to helping our kids into the habit of eating leafy greens on a regular basis is just that: eat it together with them on a regular basis. As it becomes a routine part of their diet, they’ll accept it more readily. Being creative with how lettuce is offered helps a lot, too. Lettuce is great for salads, but you can also use whole lettuce leaves as a taco shell, filling it up with taco meat, salsa, and cheese. Or use it in your morning smoothie to add vitamins and minerals and refreshing hydration without using a lot of additional calories.
Two tsp. Vegetable oil
Two cloves garlic, minced
Two tsp. Fresh ginger, minced
1.5 lb. cooked pinto beans, or 2- 15 oz. cans pinto beans, drained
1 c. button mushrooms, minced
1/2 c. grated fresh carrots, about two medium carrots
1/4 c. cilantro, chopped (optional)
One head bib, iceberg or romaine lettuce
Three green onions, chopped
4 tbsp. soy sauce
4 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar (or whatever vinegar you happen to have)
1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
In a large pan sauté beans, carrots, garlic, and ginger until heated through. Add onions and mushrooms and cook until mushrooms have started to steam. Add cilantro and sauté until well combined. In a bowl whisk together sauce components until sugar is dissolved. Pour sauce ingredients over bean mixture and remove from heat. Mix well. Scoop beans into lettuce leaves and enjoy!