9 refreshing ways to use seasonal summer fruits
Make summer fruits more appealing to your kids with these simple, inspired treats.
Tired of eating the same fruit, the same way? Switch it up this summer by preparing seasonal summer fruit in unique, kid-friendly ways.
Not only are fruits packed with nutrients, but they also are versatile and can be enjoyed year-round. Fruit can also bring families together and remain at the heart of lifelong memories, like berry picking on a warm summer day or munching on juicy watermelon during a traditional Fourth of July barbecue.
If you’ve exhausted your creative juices and are unsure of how to make summertime fruits more appetizing for your family, check out these simple yet inspired ideas:
- Fall in love with infused water. If plain water no longer sounds appealing, try adding fresh summertime fruits and herbs for a splash of flavor. Here are some combinations that will have your taste buds craving more:
Watermelon + mint
Strawberry + cucumber
Cherry + lime
Raspberry + lemon
- Make a fruit smoothie bar. Grab your favorite summertime fruits and other nutrient-rich ingredients such as spinach, coconut water, low-fat/fat-free yogurt, flax or chia seeds, soy milk, spices and more, and place into bowls. Allowing your kids to create their own smoothies is a great way to encourage creativity and teach culinary and food safety skills while in the kitchen.
- Freeze it! Summertime fruits such as sliced strawberries or apricots, or whole grapes and blackberries make a perfect snack that you can pop in your mouth at home or on the go. To add a delightful burst of flavor and color to your water, place berries or sliced fruits in an ice cube mold, cover with 100 percent fruit juice and freeze until solid. Voila!
- Create a non-traditional pizza. Who said that you can’t have pizza for dessert? Check out this delicious fruit pizza recipe, which encourages you to add your favorite summertime fruits. This recipe combines fat-free cream cheese with non-fat vanilla yogurt for a healthier topping alternative. It also ditches the sugar cookie crust and has you create your own oatmeal-based crust to cut back on calories and fat while adding fiber.
- Fruit kabobs. Not only are fruit kabobs easy to eat, but they are quick and fun to make. Try using cookie cutters or a melon baller to turn fruits such as watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew melon into eye-catching shapes. If you’re worried about safety using kabob skewers with younger children, opt for lollipop sticks instead.
- Bring back make-your-own popsicles. Beat the heat this hot Tennessee summer with homemade fruit popsicles. Use a popsicle mold and add sliced or whole summertime fruits. Then, fill with 100 percent juice, low- to no-calorie sparkling water or infused water. Try blending fruit with low-fat/skim milk and Greek yogurt for a creamier popsicle. Add a stick to each individual mold and freeze until solid (at least 4 to 6 hours).
- Slice, dip, enjoy. Everyone likes finger foods. Create bite-sized munchies by dipping whole fruits (e.g., strawberries, grapes) and/or sliced fruits (e.g., bananas, mango) in dark chocolate or Greek yogurt. To add protein and an extra crunch, roll in crushed unsalted nuts or chia or flax seed.
- Switch up your salsa. Goodbye savory, hello sweet. This recipe for homemade fruit salsa paired with baked cinnamon chips is both delicious and nutritious. Baked chips, as opposed to store-bought tortilla chips, contain fewer calories and fat grams, because they are not fried in oil. Perfect for a picnic, tailgate or party appetizer, this fruit salsa is sure to put a “sweet” smile on everyone’s face.
- Fire up the grill! Add summertime fruits to your starting grill lineup. Stone fruits such as apricots, peaches and plums make ideal grill companions. Topped with Greek yogurt, a little low-fat granola and a drizzle of honey or eaten plain, these fruits can be enjoyed as a snack, dessert or part of a meal. Other tasty grilled fruit combinations include watermelon + balsamic vinegar, apples + cinnamon, bananas + brown sugar, and figs + balsamic glaze + goat cheese.
Lindsay MacNab, MS, is a registered dietitian, health nut and deep dish pizza addict from the wonderful windy city of Chicago. She was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs and received both her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Diet & Exercise from Iowa State University. She held a dietetic internship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.