Dressings and ketchups: Are these good for my child?

Ketchup is one of the most familiar condiments used by millions of people worldwide. It is a well-known fact that children like the taste of it and combine it with several other foods, as ketchup complements almost all savoury dishes. Ketchups help improve the appeal and taste of unfamiliar foods, and can enhance the flavour of bland or bitter vegetables like broccoli and potatoes. Moreover, ketchups have some health benefits too. They contain lycopene, an antioxidant that has cancer-fighting properties. Some scientists have observed that eating ketchup moderately is good for your child’s heart as well, as it fights bad cholesterol, which is also known as low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C).

As a mother, you might be worried about the amount of salt and sugar that store-bought ketchups might contain. Turns out that children between the ages of 5 and 10 years can have 4 grams of salt and 25 grams of sugar in a day. A generous single serve of ketchup contains only around 0.4 grams of salt and 4 grams of sugar, and so it’s okay to serve your child that amount. Also, ketchups can encourage picky eaters to consume healthier foods. As your child becomes more familiar and comfortable with the new foods, they will not need added flavours to entice their taste buds.

Ready- to-eat salad dressings

Salads are sweet, crunchy, and fresh, and can range from classic picnic salads to green salads and hearty salads. A bowl of fresh greens, full of vibrant colours and textures, can be a visual treat for your child. They have high nutritional value too. Salads can include greens, colourful vegetables, protein, and fresh fruits, based on your kid’s preference. And by adding dressings, you can make salads tastier and more attractive. Making a salad involves the following steps:

  • Start with a base of greens that are chopped into small pieces
  • Add some protein like shredded chicken, hard-boiled eggs, cooked salmon or fish sticks
  • Add cheese (shredded cheese, goat cheese etc.)
  • Add fruits (grapes, strawberries etc.)
  • Add the salad dressing

The best way to get your child to eat salads regularly is by improving the flavour. And this is where salad dressings can be handy. Mayonnaise and lemon juice are the most convenient choices, but there are plenty of other options available in the market today.

Ready-to-eat salad dressings are an effective way to improve the taste of a salad and appeal to your child’s palate. A good one can enhance the different flavours of the various ingredients. However, before buying any dressing, make sure you read the nutrition label carefully, as dressings contain varied amounts of fats, sugar and salt. Also, moderate consumption of the same is recommended.

Making salad dressing at home is even simpler. You can choose to make yoghurt based, citrus-based, or mustard-based salad dressing, or even a creamy one. You can experiment based on the season as well. By combining three or four ingredients that your kids like, you can personalize the dressing to suit their specific taste. A better idea is to involve them in making the salad dressing, as it will help in expanding their palate.

Making your own salad dressing

Preparing salad dressing at home is a simple and cost-effective option. It also gives you a better idea about what you are eating or feeding. Here are some healthy food options for kids which you can try at home:

  1. Sesame ginger salad dressing - This can be made with olive oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar, garlic, and ginger.
  2. Balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing - It is made with balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, olive oil, salt, pepper, and minced garlic.
  3. Avocado lime salad dressing You can prepare this with avocado chunks, Greek yoghurt, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, pepper, and minced garlic.
  4. Lemon vinaigrette salad dressing - This is made with olive oil, fresh lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper.
  5. Honey mustard salad dressing - Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper are used for this dressing.
  6. Greek yoghurt ranch salad dressing - Made of Greek yoghurt, garlic powder, onion powder, dried dill, cayenne pepper, and salt, this dressing is simple.
  7. Apple cider vinaigrette salad dressing - You can make this with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  8. Ginger turmeric salad dressing - It is made with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, turmeric, honey, and ground ginger.

All these dressings can be prepared in a short time and can be used apart from the readily available ketchups and dressings.