When we discovered our daughter was allergic to her favorite fruit – strawberries – that task to find a healthy substitute for our picky eater became even more challenging. She loved strawberries and was reluctant to try other fruits. I had to get creative and find ways to make them attractive–and thankfully found some of these tips on WhatToExpect.com’s toddler nutrition section.
I also learned it was important to get involved with meal planning at my daughter’s school. In order to ensure her safety and make things easier for her teachers, I volunteer to bring a fruit snack for every planned classroom party. Having tried out a variety of ideas on my daughter, it was easy to come up with these fun fruit snacks to bring for her classmates:
Fruit kabobs – This one is simple and fun. You can use a wide variety of fruits. Kids love being presented with it in this format. I can make one tray that includes strawberries since many kids enjoy them, and one that does not, so my daughter is not exposed.
Banana “cupcakes” – The first time I offered this to my daughter, she thought it was the greatest snack of all time. I sliced up a banana, covered each slice with peanut butter and let her choose sprinkles to place on top. For school parties, I substitute sun butter for peanut.
Super Sweet Fruit Salad – The most popular fruit snack I have taken to my daughter’s school to date was a fruit salad made with blueberries, cantaloupe and red grapes. Each fruit is sweet individually; combined the kids acted as if they were eating dessert. I watched as almost every one of them asked for seconds.
Honey Ginger Fruit Salad – This is a recipe I first made to take to an adult dinner party. It was a huge hit. Peel and slice several kiwis and mix with blueberries. Drizzle with honey and toss. Sprinkle finely chopped crystallized ginger over the top and chill. It is a delightful and surprising taste combination kids also enjoy.
Fruit Bats – This is an idea I came up with for my daughter’s Halloween party at school. I constructed a bat using a prune and two mandarin orange slices connected with a toothpick. Then I drew a face on the prune using a gel.
Bonus tip: It’s always best to work with what’s in season locally in your area. And before preparing any fruit snack for your child’s class, be sure to check out these tips to keep it from browning!
I never want my daughter’s classmates to feel they are missing out because she is unable to have a specific food. And in getting creative and making healthy snacking fun for her, I have been able to share some popular snack items with her peers.
What kinds of fruit snacks do your kids enjoy? Do you take snacks to school for classroom parties?
Elizabeth Fora Ross is a freelance writer for WhatToExpect.com, living in Florida with her husband, daughter, two cats, a dog and a fire-bellied toad. You can find her on her personal blog, The Writer Revived. She is also the creator of The Mom Pledge, an anti-cyberbullying campaign aimed at moms.