Even as toddlers, my kids were true food detectives, able to see—and remove—the most finely minced or chopped vegetables from any dish, even when said vegetables were all but invisible. At age one, my son, Kevin, loved scooping sloppy-joe mix off a dish on his high-chair tray, and eating it with gusto. But before he dug in, he used his fingers like pincers, to remove the minced onion, which he clearly didn’t like.
In the years since, my kids have grown to love my homemade tuna salad, and have ceased picking out the offending bits of celery and onion and setting them on the side. Your own pint-size chef can add even more veggies if desired (including diced cucumber and green bell pepper), or simply leave them out. Liven up your day by making this dish together. Stuffed into a whole wheat pita pocket, or encased in a healthy whole grain wrap, it makes a great lunch for all.
What You’ll Need
- 1/4 onion
- 1 (12-ounce) can solid white tuna, packed in water
- 1 stalk celery, chopped fine
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of black pepper
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise, or more as desired
- Whole wheat pita pockets or small wraps
What to Do
- Show your child how to trim the celery and discard the leaves. Chop a stalk finely. Peel and chop the onion. Open the can of tuna.
- Let your little chef scoop the tuna out of the can and into a big colander to drain. Help her transfer the tuna into a bowl. Demonstrate how to break up the tuna. Let her slide the chopped celery, chopped onion, salt, and pepper into the bowl.Teachable Moment: Why does pepper make your nose tickle?Black pepper contains an irritating chemical called piperine. When a person breathes in piperine while cooking or dining, the chemical irritates the lining in the nose.—Andy Boyles
- Show your emerging foodie how to measure the mayonnaise and add it to the salad. Let her stir the ingredients together and add more mayo, to taste.Teachable Moment: What is mayonnaise?Mayonnaise is a combination of ingredients, mostly oil, water, and egg yolk. That might seem strange, since everyone knows that “oil and water don't mix.” In mayonnaise, substances in egg yolk called emulsifiers keep the two from separating. When the ingredients are stirred together, the oil breaks up into tiny droplets and the emulsifiers coat the droplets, keeping them from running together. So the oil droplets stay suspended in thewater, forming thick mayonnaise.—Andy Boyles
- Show your little one how to spoon the tuna salad into pita pockets, or help her make a wrap. To do this, place some of the salad along the center of a wrap. Roll up the wrap and tuck in the ends.