Summer is a rich bounty of fruit as fast food; peaches, nectarines, plums, blueberries, cherries, grapes, melons, and apricots are there, waiting to be picked up and enjoyed.
These fruits are usually bursting with juicy goodness because they are grown closer to home, so they have more time to vine ripen and develop their magnificent flavors. Since most children love summer fruits, keep plenty on hand and make them readily available. Fresh fruit is an excellent way to hydrate and quench a thirsty child on a hot summer day. Encourage your children to snack on fresh fruit throughout the day to ensure that they get the recommended 7-9 servings daily.
Here are some ideas that will get your child nibbling on fresh fruit whenever they’re hungry.
- Keep a fruit bowl within reach and fill it with washed peaches, plums, and nectarines.
- Cut melon into bite size pieces and put it in the refrigerator where your child can easily get to it.
- Have a bowl of washed cherries and grapes within reach in the refrigerator.
- Freeze grapes and serve as a refreshing snack when your child is hot and thirsty.
- Thinly slice fresh nectarines or peaches and serve over pancakes or waffles with 100% pure maple syrup.
- Add thin slices of nectarines and blueberries to a green salad. Toss in a handful of pecans for crunch and added protein.
- Serve fruit sorbet topped with fresh fruit for a refreshing low-fat dessert.
- Fresh fruit adds a burst of flavor to countless foods. Try adding a handful of fresh fruit to vanilla yogurt, oatmeal, and breakfast cereals.
Fruit salad is another delicious way to entice kids to eat more fruit while loading them up with powerful phytochemicals. Involve your children in the preparation and they are more likely to partake in the feast. If you’re really ambitious, take a field trip to the Farmers Market and have fun choosing the fruit for your salad. Farmer’s Market fruit is usually the freshest and has traveled the fewest miles to reach your table. Use any combination of the following; watermelon, cantaloupe, blueberries, cherries, grapes peaches, plums, and nectarines. Once you have gathered all the ingredients, have your child help cut and prepare the fruit using a knife appropriate for their age. Even a plastic knife will cut some of the softer fruit. Keep in mind that peaches, apricots, and nectarines will quickly oxidize and turn brown. A sprinkle of lemon juice over these fruits will help prevent this from happening. Toss and serve in a glass bowl.
This summer, fuel and hydrate your child with fresh fruit as they head off to camp, the beach, and summer sports activities. Instead of reaching for prepackaged snack foods and factory foods, choose nature’s original fast food, a piece of fruit.