Everyone has heard of the ‘5-a-day’ rule (although the truth is it should be nearer 9-a-day), but have you ever tried convincing a teenager that pizza is not a vegetable and that salads are really yummy?

Of course, there are a few teenagers that love salads – and if you eat a vegetarian diet your family probably eats more fruit and veg than most, but salads have a really bad rep.  Limp lettuce, soggy tomatoes and spongy cucumber – no thanks!

It’s time to jazz up your salads and add more interesting ingredients:

  • Sweet peppers come in a range of colours – yellow, orange, red and green – all with slightly different flavours. A few slivers of different coloured peppers will add interest to your salad.
  • Carrots are great – crisp and colourful.
  • Cauliflower florets need to be fresh so they’re nice and crunchy – or give them a quick blitz and mix them mayo and sesame oil as a dip.
  • Really fresh mushrooms are lovely raw.
  • If your family likes carrots, try adding parsnips – but make sure they’re super fresh. They’ve got a lovely nutty flavour.
  • Avocado is a great source of protein and ‘good’ fats so a few chunks in a salad are not only tasty, but healthy too. Add them last – and don’t leave them in a mixed salad or they’ll go mushy and brown.
  • Make your own red slaw with red onions, red cabbage and beetroot with chives and mayo.
  • If you like potato salad, try making it with sweet potatoes – but don’t overcook them or they’ll collapse and you’ll end up with a sloshy mess!
  • Add crisp apple chunks, slices of orange, cubes of melons and grapes.
  • Add fresh herbs – like coriander and basil – or a small amount of fresh grated ginger or slivers of garlic to a mixed salad or a dressing.
  • Throw in a handful of olives – green or black – but either stone them first or issue a warning to avoid accidental stone swallowing.

Take a new look at the staples of your salad:

  • There are so many different types of lettuce and other leaves – spinach, kale, cabbage – that it shouldn’t be difficult to find a combination the family actually likes.
  • If they don’t like cucumber slices, chop it in to cubes, add mint and yogurt and serve it as Tzatziki or pickle slices in vinegar.
  • Grow your own tomatoes in pots and everyone will be raiding the plants for fresh bites of sweetness. If you can’t do that, try tomatoes on the vine or buy big beef tomatoes and slice to serve them.  It depends what’s in season – and some of the flavour will vanish if you keep really fresh produce in the fridge.

There’s bound to be something your family like – make it a competition to find a new salad ingredient.  There’s no excuse for no salads!