A Salad Bar, FAST Plus My Mealtime Hacks - Pretty Real

A Salad Bar, FAST Plus My Mealtime Hacks

9:52 PM

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A Salad Bar suitable for kids Plus My Meal Time Hacks

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. My kids will eat almost anything if it's deconstructed. 
Example: Me: Kids want a salad? 
Kids: No! 
Me: Guys, I made a choose-your-own-toppings salad bar! 
Kids: Cool! Yum!

A kid-friendly Salad Bar Plus My Meal Time Hacks

The difference is sometimes just that dramatic! With school back in swing, whether it's in person or remote, our evening time is precious. It's important to get nutrition into those little bodies, but it can't take all night. One way I serve deconstructed meals (salad bar, taco bar, baked potato bar!) fast is to use already prepped, easy to incorporate vegetables. Libby's Vegetable Cups can help create simple, healthy meals for Back to School. Here is one of my favorite "salad bar" recipes along with my tried and true mealtime hacks.

A kid-friendly Salad Bar Plus My Meal Time Hacks

Quick Salad Bar with Homemade Honey Mustard Dressing

Serves 4, 30 minutes


2 large chicken breasts cut in half width (i.e. cut each piece so that it's half as thick)

Meal hack- substitute a rotisserie chicken in one-pot meals to save time and add flavor.

1 Package of diced ham and/or 1 package of  'real' bacon bits (optional)

4 Boiled eggs 

1 10 oz Package of Romaine Salad

1 C Cherry tomatoes

6 Libby's Vegetable Cups (2 diced carrots, 2 sweet peas, and 2 sweet corn—I used 2 vegetable cups from each pack, and save the other 2 for lunches and other meals) 

Meal hack- use ready to eat veggies; Libby's Vegetable Cups can be served at room temperature.

1 C Shredded cheese

Homemade Honey Mustard Salad Dressing

(with the time you save by not chopping veggies- whip up this dressing!)


⅓ c honey

2 Tbs dijon mustard

3 Tbs whole grain mustard

2 Tbs olive oil

1 Tbs vinegar

1 tsp garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste 

It sounds like a lot- but most of the work is done in the grocery store! Libby's Vegetable Cups save time and add nutrition. Bonus, they can be used for lunchtime in addition to dinner meals- keeping everybody healthy throughout the school year.

A Salad Bar, FAST Plus My Meal Time Hacks

First, season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook using the 20-minute method (meal hack!)- cook on one side on medium-high for 2 minutes. Then flip and turn to low. Cover it and set your timer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn the heat off but keep it covered for another 10 minutes (set a timer and don't lift the lid at all during the 20 minutes). It comes out perfect every time!

Next, make your salad dressing. This is optional. You can use store-bought dressing but if you can swing homemade dressing, it's a great addition to the salad bar. Simply combine all ingredients and whisk. 

Now that your dressing is made and your chicken is cooking, prepare your vegetables. Uncover the Libby’s Vegetable Cups, drain them, and place in small bowls. The ease of using Libby’s Vegetable Cups is that they're ready to eat at room temperature. Set up your other ingredients. In this case, I used small prep bowls for each ingredient and a large tray for the chicken and lettuce. You could use paper bowls for easy cleanup, regular bowls like I did, or even a large tray. - The trick is to create a "bar" to allow your kiddos to serve themselves. 

A Salad Bar suitable for kids, FAST Plus My Meal Time Hacks

When time is up, uncover your chicken and let it rest while you peel your egg. I usually quarter mine, but they can also be halved or diced.

Next, chop your chicken. Add both the eggs and the chicken to your "bar."

How to Get your Kids to Eat Salad

That's it- dig in! A weeknight meal in less than 30 minutes that includes lean protein and vegetables? I'd call that a win. 

Libby’s Vegetable Cups make it easy to get the nutrients in without the work. Oh, and eat family style! Use Libby's Vegetables to get your family back to the table- it's especially fun with "bar" type meals! 

Recreate this recipe and learn more about Libby's Vegetables here. What meal hacks did I miss? I'd love to hear from you!

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