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Lettuce

Lettuces come in many different flavours, textures and colours, so if your child doesn’t like one, it definitely doesn’t rule them all out! Buying whole lettuces and washing and drying them thoroughly when you get them can mean they last 3-5 days in the fridge and this affordable veg (especially if already washed and dried) can be an easy last-minute addition to virtually any meal as a side. Play to your child’s preferences when it comes to lettuce, picking crunchy varieties for chompers, softer more buttery ones for those who like sweeter flavours, or darker ones for a child who prefers bitterness. A simple dressing of lemon juice and olive oil can make any lettuce sing, or go with a thicker vinaigrette for a hit of creamy acidity that not only improves the salad, but often the whole meal!
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There are a glittering array of lettuces in a multitude of reds and greens.  We have been munching on these lovely raw leaves for 6,000 years – you can even find them in Egyptian hieroglyphs. Lettuces are 95% water and so are generally eaten raw and fresh. They are the perfect foundation to almost any salad and will add flavour, depth and crunch to most sandwiches and burgers.

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Nutrition

Lettuce is a source of vitamins A, C and K as well as folate.

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Shopping Guide

Lettuce is best when served as fresh as possible, so try to buy lettuces that don’t show brown spots or heavy signs of wilting.

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Storage

To prep and store lettuce, wash it thoroughly and dry completely with a salad spinner or a clean tea towel. Then wrap in a paper towel and place in a bag or container.

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Serving suggestions

For a quick and simple lettuce salad: Wash and cut the lettuce and mix with your favourite fresh veggies. To make the dressing mix 3 parts olive oil with one part vinegar (balsamic, apple cider or white wine vinegars all work), add a pinch of salt and ground pepper, mix it up. Only drizzle over the lettuce just before serving to avoid it going soggy.

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Seasonality

Buying veg in season is not only great for the planet, it can be good for your wallet, too! Seasonal veg are often cheaper and frequently taste better, so can be a better time to try with a child as the often sweeter, riper taste is more enjoyable.

At Its Best:

May - November

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Engage

Here are some of our favourite ways to engage kids with lettuce:

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Your Food

Find your go-to meals in our family favourites section and see what veggies work best with them.

We’ve gathered together 15 of the nation’s favourite meals and given you step-by-step ways to make small improvements, helping you to make healthier dinners the easy way, and even showing you which veg work best with which recipes.
 
Find out how to add more veg to your suppers here.
 

Recipes

Mac ‘N’ Cheese

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Family Favourites

Sausage and Mash

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Family Favourites

Jacket Potato with Toppings

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Family Favourites

Pizza

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Family Favourites

Roast

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Family Favourites

Chilli con Carne

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Family Favourites

More Recipes
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If You Like Lettuce…Try

Does your child enjoy lettuce? That’s great! Lettuce is usually crunchy, watery and fairly sweet, so why not try a similar texture and/or taste…

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Serving

The moments before food is offered can be a perfect opportunity for engagement that can help make it more likely a child will eat it!

The first thing to do is remove the pressure. If the veg doesn’t get eaten, it’s not the end of the world. There will be other days, other dinners, other chances. Fun is key here – try not to worry about mess, perfect table manners, or playing with food. Instead, focus on making the process of getting the food to the plates, readying the table, and the actual eating relaxed.

The best principles for success here are the Three Rs (role modelling, rewarding, re-offering) which you can read about here.

But there is one more way you can serve for success, and that is giving your child a role. You don’t have to do this every time, just encourage them in their strengths through it when you can.

Here are some of our favourite ideas:

Design a menu

Come up with a silly name or story for a dish

Help with making a meal plan and choosing veg for dinners or snacks

Help to serve up the meal on dishes, lay the table or create a centrepiece to be involved in the physical ‘serving up’ process

The Wonderful World of Veg

Check out our vegepedia. When to buy in-season. How to store them to keep for longer. How to engage children with each veg, and simple ideas of how to prepare and cook them for maximum taste and minimum waste. Select a veg…

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