4 Ways to Serve Fruit to Your Kid Fruit-a-Phobe

It’s strange how babies are so in love with sweet and juicy fruit, yet as they grow up, they’re suddenly repulsed by them. Offer them a cantaloupe, and they start gagging. Kiwi? The most vile thing to ever exist.... and it has fur!

You now have to force them to eat berries they used to crave. Don’t worry. Your child doesn’t have to miss out on some essential vitamins and minerals just because they decided to become a picky eater. Entice your little one by serving fruit in these fun and clever ways:

Seduce Them with Smoothies

Maybe your kids don’t like the taste of certain fruit. Some are quite sour and have a weird aftertaste (I’m looking at you, grapefruit!) Or maybe they’re averse to certain textures. I don’t know about you, but sometimes lychee gives me the heebie-jeebies.

Rather than sticking with a single fruit, try an assortment and let your kids enjoy a mélange of flavors. (Bonus: More than one fruit means a wider variety of benefits!) As for the texture problem: puree everything! Hand kids something to sip and they’ll usually guzzle it down (especially if it's through a straw), no questions asked.

Invest in a good blender. Blades that can crush ice are a must! Vitamix is king, and can take whatever you can throw in it. (It’s what they use at Jamba Juice.) For a more affordable alternative, try the Ninja blender.

Toss in fresh (or frozen!) fruit. Pour in a splash of juice or almond milk, throw in some ice, and start revving that blender. Pour the drinks in fun and retro Mason mugs, or your own favorite glasses. Add some wacky straws, and watch your kids enjoy their complete serving of fruit for the day.

Try this Palm Springs favorite, the Banana Date Smoothie:

  • In your blender, throw in a banana and a cup of fresh, pitted dates
  • Pour in some almond milk and ice
  • Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon
  • Blend, and enjoy!

Find a Fan with Frozen Treats

Popsicles. Sorbets. ICE CREAM. The perfect treats any time of the year. The key to keeping these sweet treats healthy? Make them at home! That way you know exactly what’s in them, and you don’t have to worry about chemical sweeteners and preservatives.

Popsicles are pretty straightforward. You can puree the fruit the way you would a smoothie (sans ice) and just pour them in the popsicle mold. An easier way is to just fill the mold with some finely diced fruit and some juice. Those chewy bits of fruit are awesome!

Try this tropical Coconut Pineapple Popsicle recipe:

  • Pour a can of coconut milk and pineapple chunks in a blender
  • Add a dash of vanilla extract and blend
  • Pour the mixture into popsicle molds and freeze
  • Switch to flip flops, play Kokomo by the Beach Boys, and enjoy!

For sorbets and ice cream, you’re going to need an ice cream maker. Cuisinart makes a great one. Make sure to follow manufacturer directions. Both treats take some time to make… You’ll need to pre-freeze the bowl, cook your milk/custard base (for ice cream), and refrigerate the mixed ingredients before you even throw them into the machine. After churning, you’ll have to re-freeze everything for a few hours. Whew! Plan ahead… it’s worth the wait!

Here’s how to make a refreshing Watermelon Mint Sorbet:

  • Seed and chop some watermelon. Chop up about a teaspoon of fresh mint.
  • Throw the watermelon, mint, a tablespoon of sugar, and the juice of 3 limes in the blender.
  • Puree and chill the mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Pour into ice cream maker, and start it up.
  • Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for a few hours before serving.

Get Them into Baked Goods

Okay, this might not be the healthiest thing on our list, but baked, fruit-filled treats might just be the way to convert your kids. Once the weather starts to cool down, it’s all about the warm cherry pies, sweet berry tarts, gooey peach cobblers, rich Italian fruitcakes, and mouth-watering apple crumbles.

Here’s a lovely French Almond & Pear Tart:

  • Peel, cut in halves, and core 3 medium pears. Poach them by simmering in 4 cups water with a cup of sugar and lemon juice.
  • Make the almond cream by putting 6 tablespoons butter, ⅔ cup sugar, ¾ cup of almonds, 2 teaspoons of flour, 1 teaspoon of cornstarch, an egg, and vanilla extract in a food processor. Puree until the mixture is very smooth. Refrigerate until firm (about 2 hours).
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Fill a pie crust with the almond cream, spreading evenly. Pat dry and slice each pear in half crosswise, and fan them out. Place sliced pears on the almond cream, with the wide end toward the edge of the crust.
  • Place crust on a lined baking sheet. Bake for an hour until the almond cream puffs up around the pears and browns. Transfer to a wire rack to cool before serving.

If your kids are being very good lately, make sure to serve your baked goods a la mode with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Yum.

Sweeten the Deal with Savory

Perhaps your little one just doesn’t have a sweet tooth. Consider yourself lucky! Serve your fruit as a part of a savory dish – it gives things that extra kick, without being too distinct.

Try a mango salsa to complement your grilled chicken or shrimp. Toss some nectarines, cranberries, or even strawberries in a mixed green salad. Try plums and apricots in lamb stews for a Moroccan twist. You can incorporate fruit in marinades and sauces (blueberries, cumin, and chili powder make for an excellent barbecue rib sauce!). Our favorite way to incorporate fruit in a savory dish? A fruit and cheese panini! Brie, fontina, gouda, muenster, and provolone melted excellently pair well with a ton of fruit.

Here’s our favorite Fig and Goat Cheese Panini:

  • On a slice of bread, sprinkle some grated mozzarella, and lay out some thinly sliced figs.
  • On the other slice, spread some goat cheese, and sprinkle some salt and pepper.
  • Put the sandwich together.
  • Melt some butter on the skillet, then brown the sandwich on both sides until the cheese melts.
  • Let it sit for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

If you’re a fan of grilled sandwiches like we are, invest in a panini press. It’ll get a lot of use, and make packing your kids’ lunches a breeze (not to mention, it gives things an artisanal touch.) Breville makes a great panini press.

Additional Tips

  • Make sure to buy fruit that’s in season. Although supermarkets stock all kinds of fruit year round, those that are off season tend to be flavorless and tough. Hit up your local farmer’s market for the best choices.
  • Don’t make a big fuss when serving your kids fruit. Simply lay out the food or drink, and let them try it out on their own. If they reject it, no worries – try again!
  • Keep introducing a variety of fruit during meals and at snack time. They probably won’t even touch them at first, but once they branch out and give things a nibble or two, pretty soon they’ll learn to love them.
  • Set a good example and eat fruit daily! Describe flavors, colors, textures, and how much you enjoy eating them!

How do you go about serving a non-fruit-eater fruit? Share some more of your suggestions in the comments below.

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