Snack of the Week: 10 Ways to Have Fun with Fruit
Kids need more than an apple a day.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that everyone eat two to four servings of fruit per day. And snack time, between lessons, is the perfect time to slip in one of those servings.
Delicious as they may be, apples, pears, peaches, grapes—you name it—can become a bit boring. So, how do you simultaneously incorporate fruit and fun into a child’s diet? Here are ten ideas for ways to have fun with fruit.
This can be as simple as cutting fruit into circles or blocks or turning fruit into animals or silly creatures. Check out the cute bee, featuring pineapple slices, a plum, and a grape and the peacock, utilizing a half pear, green grapes, and blueberries.
Cones aren’t just for ice cream. Try filling them with your favorite varieties of fruit for a colorful treat with some sweet crunchiness.
If you have several different fruits in the house, try serving them on a skewer. Strawberries, bananas, pineapple, kiwi, grapes, and apples all work well and bring variety to fruit snacks.
What kid won’t zoom into snack time when there’s a race car waiting? Apple slices or banana segments work well for the body of the car. Think about grapes, strawberries, or kiwi slices for the wheels on toothpicks. These snacks make for a great pit stop between your child’s lessons and are easy to prepare.
Fruit in Layers
Feeling a little fancy? Serve your child fruit in a plastic glass—parfait-style. You’re limited only by your imagination.
My Frugal Adventures recommends a minimum of three layers and waiting until the last minute to assemble in order to keep some fruit from turning brown. Green grapes hold up better than kiwi. Berries work nicely, but bananas don’t quite cut it in terms of color. A little whipped cream on top adds a nice touch.
Make a Face
There are unlimited possibilities when it comes to making fun and funny faces with fruit. From easy to intricate, recognizable to incredible, the choice is yours. Let your child help suggest the design or make a face themselves. How about a self-portrait?
Summer might be just about over, but don’t put that grill away, yet. Grilling seasonal fruit only takes minutes and puts a different spin on fruit snacks.
The Mrs. Fields website provides several excellent tips, the first being to make sure your grill top is squeaky clean. Nobody wants their grilled fruit tasting like chicken wings. Also, consider brushing your fruits with olive oil to help prevent them from sticking to the grill. Recipetips.com notes that fruit pieces should be large enough that they don’t fall through the grates and that leaving the skin on softer fruits will help them maintain their shape.
One of the biggest mistakes with grilled fruits is overcooking. Be sure to cook over moderate heat and rotate the fruit during the process. Some suggest the best fruit grilling is done over dying coals (which will require a bit more time). In general, split bananas and most one-inch thick melon slices need only two minutes per side. Stone fruits such as apricots, peaches, and plums will be done in less than three minutes per side. A thick pineapple slice or ring will require about three minutes per side. Don’t be afraid to add a little brown sugar, honey, or cinnamon to taste.
As Time.com points out, watermelon is a “superfruit” because it provides the antioxidant lycopene, plus vitamins A and C. Turn your watermelon slices into a “pizza” by cutting them into thin wedges and topping with smaller fruits such as banana slices, berries or halved cherries. The watermelon rind makes your “pizza” easy to handle, but please don’t let the kids eat the “crust.”
Make a Rainbow
This is an ideal snack for groups because it requires a good deal of fruit—and a good deal of variety. Yes, those are mini marshmallows serving as the “clouds.” Thehealthysupermom.com can direct you to a recipe for corn syrup-free homemade marshmallows for a healthier version.
We’re talking more than merely raisins and prunes. When selecting what fruits to serve, try to stick with natural rather than processed fruits with added sugars or preservatives such as sulfur dioxide.
As Fitday.com notes, dried fruits carry a higher calorie content than their fresh brethren because, with water removed, they are concentrated. Additionally, some vitamins are lost during the drying process.
But there is a convenience to keeping dried fruits on hand. They won’t spoil like fresh fruit and they’re always ready to grab for that snack on the go.
According to Fitday, a half-cup serving of dried peaches contains 191 calories, a half-cup serving of dried apples contains 104 calories, and a half-cup serving of dried cranberries contains 185 calories—less than the 217 calories for an equivalent portion of raisins, which remain highly valuable as a source of protein as well as minerals like potassium and manganese.
Featured Image – Kelly Sikkema / CC by 2.0
Seth Livingstone is a veteran writer and editor who has spent much of his career in sports journalism covering multiple Olympic Games, Super Bowls, World Series, and Daytona 500s. He covered the Boston Red Sox throughout the 1980s and 1990s before joining USA Today and Baseball Weekly in 1999. He maintains his membership in the Baseball Writers Association of America and is a Hall of Fame voter. Seth holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northeastern University and has also worked as a substitute teacher (all grades and subjects). He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and has two grown children.