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10 Ways to Make Fruit Fun for You and Your Toddler

By Christina F. Toscano

It is recommended that at each meal, ¼ of your plate should be fruit. In fact, toddlers age 2-3 need 1 cup a day and children age 4-8 need 1 and 1/2 cups. Most adults need 2 cups. It is important to meet this recommendation because fruit provides important vitamins, minerals, and fiber that you and your toddler need in order to stay healthy and happy. But eating the same old bananas and apples can get boring. So how can you make sure that you and your little one are getting enough fruit, while keeping things delicious and exciting? Try these toddler-approved tips:

  • Make Fruit Kebabs
    • Teach your toddler about patterns while you put already chopped fruit on a kebab stick. When you’re done, they’ll love dipping the kebab in yogurt and shredded coconut or granola.
  • Toss Together a Fruit Salad
    • Try fun new combinations. My little one enjoyed eating a fennel, pomegranate, orange, and mint salad. She was willing to try it because she helped make it!
  • Warm up with a Cinnamon Baked Apple
    • Cut an apple in half and scoop out the seeds. Then let your toddler sprinkle on some cinnamon. For added flavor, fill the middle with granola, oatmeal, or a few dark chocolate chips. Place it in the oven at 350 degrees until the apple is soft and caramelized.
  • Cool Down with Frozen Yogurt Bites
    • In muffin tray cups place a spoonful of plain yogurt. Your toddler will have fun placing berries and chopped fruit in each one. Put it in the freezer until frozen, and enjoy!
  • Blend a Smoothie
    • Blend a base (usually milk or yogurt) with fruit. You can also add a healthy fat (nut butter, avocado, hemp seeds or flax seeds) or veggies! Get creative and experiment with new combinations. 
  • Create a Smoothie Bowl
    • Put your smoothie in a bowl. Then, top it with granola, chopped fruit, seeds, or berries. 
  • Try something new!
    • Let your little one pick out a fruit you have never heard of or tasted before! Make it a game and set a goal of trying one new fruit each week. If you start to run out of new options at your usual supermarket, look for an international supermarket in your area. 
  • Make your own ice pops
    • Fill an ice pop mold with fruit juice and have your toddler add chunks of fresh fruit or berries. Freeze until it is frozen solid and enjoy! 
  • Eat ice cream, banana ice cream that is!
    • When your bananas get over-ripe, freeze them. Then, blend bananas with a small amount of coconut cream or milk. The less liquid you add, the thicker it will be. Feel free to add toppings or experiment by blending in other ingredients. Here are some of our favorites:-Strawberry “nice” cream: Once the banana ice cream is blended, add a few strawberries and pulse. This way, there will be delicious strawberry chunks to enjoy.-Vanilla “nice” cream: add a few drops of vanilla extract before you blend the banana ice cream.

      -Nutty “nice” cream: blend peanut butter along with the frozen banana. Top with just a few semi-sweet chocolate chips.

  • Head to your local farmer’s market.
    • There is nothing like a ripe piece of fruit, so head to your local farmer’s market and enjoy it fresh from the experts. The farmers are often happy to share cooking tips for their produce!

For more information, please visit:    

https://www.choosemyplate.gov/fruit

https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/veggies-tips.html?ref=search

http://www.eatright.org/~/media/eatright%20files/nationalnutritionmonth/handoutsandtipsheets/nutritiontipsheets/20waystoenjoymorefruitsandvegetables.ashx

https://www.eatright.org/food/planning-and-prep/snack-and-meal-ideas/get-fruits-and-veggies-to-the-plate

Fruit kebab recipe:

https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/fruit-kabobs.html?ref=search

Cristina is a Nutrition Educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County’s Family Health and Wellness Program’s Parent Toddler Nutrition Program. She can be reached at cft36@cornell.edu

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