Fresh fruit offers one of the most delicious and refreshing forms of sweetness to be found, loaded with vitamins, fibre and natural raw sugars. Sadly though, given the choice, all too many modern kids would rather snack on pastries, confectionery and other packaged 'goodies' than simple, old-fashioned fruit.
If we want to develop healthy habits and encourage children to eat fruit, we need to find creative alternatives to the sometimes daunting and unattractive prospect of 'just an apple'.
Summer is the perfect time to start your kids on the path to fruit eating – a bowl of cherries or strawberries is often more tempting than a single large piece of fruit. You can also encourage them by letting them participate in the preparation of a dessert for the whole family: getting them involved adds a motivational 'plus' – and we all know how difficult it is not to nibble while you're preparing food!
Here are a few ideas for simple, quick desserts to get you started:
Strawberries with milk or yoghurt
Wash and hull the strawberries. Cut into pieces and place in a bowl. Then pour in whole milk or yoghurt and mix together, mashing the fruit lightly with a fork until the mixture starts to turn pink.
Choose the kids' favourite fruits; peel and cut them into bite-sized pieces. Slide the cubes onto wooden kebab skewers. Let the children use their imaginations and cut some pieces into star shapes, or thread them to form a rainbow.
Make some thin slices of toast. Meanwhile, peel a couple of bananas and slice them thinly. When the toast is done, arrange the banana slices on top and sprinkle with a little cocoa powder or drinking chocolate. Voila!
Strawberry and banana milkshake
Wash and hull five or six strawberries and place in a bowl with a ripe, peeled banana. Add a glass of whole milk and a little sugar, and whisk until well blended. Adding a little vanilla ice cream to the mix will make the whole thing even more tempting. Alternatively, blend strawberries with ice cubes, cold water and just a dash of sugar to make a refreshing strawberry slushie.
Fresh fruit salad
Peel the fruit, cut into cubes and place in a bowl with orange juice, a splash of lemon juice and a pinch of sugar. You could use other fruit juice or add a tin of unsweetened pineapple chunks, too. Serve with a dollop of plain yoghurt or creme fraiche.