The Only Thing That Would Get Me to Eat Salads as a Kid
On the spectrum of picky eaters, I was the pickiest of picky pickers as a child. You’re talking to someone who used to refuse to eat the ends of hot dogs, hated the skins on apples, and basically survived entirely on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
My mom tried all the things to get me to eat (her methods are worth a post of their own) and is now very surprised that not only do I work in food media, but I also always order the chicken liver and I’m willing to try anything at least once.
I’m a grown-up now (when did that happen?) and have a very different palate than the one 10-year-old me had. I’m a much better eater and even opt for salads several times a week. The old (young) me? She’d only eat salads if there was this one thing on top.
You probably thought I was going to say ranch dressing, right? Not a bad guess, as kids and adults alike love themselves some ranch dressing. But I was obsessed with Salad Toppins. (Note: The only reason I say “was” is because I haven’t bought them in my adult life. I’m sure, however, if I let myself indulge, I’d still be equally as obsessed.)
Buy: McCormick Crunchy & Flavorful Salad Toppins, $2 for 3.75 ounces at Target
If you’ve never had or heard of Salad Toppins, allow me to explain. Inside the slightly hourglass-shaped bottle, you’ll find an assortment of crunchy and salty treats. I spent way too much time fishing out the sunflower seeds (because I wanted every single one in the bottle) and loved the bite the dried onions gave off when eaten with a leaf of lettuce. A salad without Salad Toppins wasn’t a salad to me — it was a pile of veggies I had no interest in eating.
By loading my salads up with this stuff, I was always sure to have to an interesting surprise with each bite (rather than just, you know, lettuce). Once my salad bowl was empty, I’d always try to sneak a bonus handful of Salad Toppins, much to my parent’s dismay. Although to be fair, back in the early ’90s the label also said “Great as a snack, too!” New bottles don’t seem to have that disclaimer, which cracks me up for some reason.
Yes, Salad Toppins are decently high in sodium (65 milligrams per serving of 1.5 tablespoons), and no, they aren’t the healthiest things to put on a salad. But did they get to me eat salad as a kid? Absolutely.
Was there a special ingredient that got you to eat salads as a kid? Or something your kids love now? Tell us in the comments below!