If it’s spring, it can only mean one thing: Time to bring out the fresh fruits and vegetables that taste delicious and make for light, easy meals. And when it comes to healthy snacks for kids, freshly sliced fruits and veggies are high in fiber, antioxidants, and other essential vitamins and minerals, making them the perfect choice.
If you have a baby in the house, many of these fruits and veggies can be easily pureed or mashed up for safe eating. Toddlers will love the fresh produce cut into bite-sized portions that are easy to nibble on and swallow. If you need some cooking inspiration, put these tasty, spring produce picks into your shopping cart and sample some of the creative recipe ideas below for wholesome meals and snacks your toddler will love.
These bright red berries are sweet and delicious, and they are right in season for spring and early summer (along with other berries, including raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries). For your tot, hull the flesh, then pop the berries, along with almond milk, and nut butter, in the blender for a 3-ingredient smoothie to start the day off on a high note. Or add in Greek yogurt and another fruit, like blackberries instead, for a good dose of calcium. And when storing your strawberries, use handy containers that protect the produce while allowing for airflow.
Corn is delicious for spring and summer barbecues, but toddlers can’t eat it straight from the cob. Instead, try creamed corn: First, use an easy-to-hold peeler to strip the kernels from 2-3 ears of corn. Then mash the kernels together. Make a puree by adding ¼ cup milk, 3 oz. cream cheese, and a tablespoon of butter. You can even add in herbs or spices, if your toddler can tolerate them, to boost the flavor.
This elegant green vegetable is rich in iron and fiber. First, use an asparagus peeler to trim the woody edges off the long, slender stalks. Make a chilled, flavorful soup by pureeing the vegetable with chicken broth and a little olive oil; keep in your fridge until you are ready to serve this refreshing snack or starter dish. For more herbaceous notes, add in some fresh dill. Yum!
This leafy green is packed with iron, magnesium, and fiber. It’s a nutritional powerhouse and one every kid should eat—but first they have to learn to love it. Spinach works especially well with eggs, as some of its more bitter notes can be masked by the egg-flavor. Fold chopped green leaves into a frittata with cheese and diced peppers, or win kids over by adding spinach to muffins served in egg cups. Just make sure to wash and rinse leaves well in a salad spinner first.
Peas are perfect when mashed for toddlers—but they are also a wonderful, surprising addition to pasta or mac n’ cheese. Toss them with butter, cheese, and other veggies (like peppers), then sprinkle them on top of the dish before cooking to form a “crust.” Or try pasta with spinach pesto and peas—perfect for spring.
Carrots are full of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that promotes healthy skin and nails, as well as hair growth, and it can keep kids’ immune system strong. To get more mileage out of this vegetable, peel the skin and spiralize the carrots or slice them finely and add to sweet breakfast baked goods. Add them to muffin recipes—carrots provide texture along with extra nutrition.
In season for spring and summer, avocados are rich and creamy and go well with other summer concoctions (hello guac and chips). Prepare an avocado with a slicer to use it for making a chocolate dessert way healthier—your kids won’t even notice. You can add avocado to desserts like chocolate mousse. Avocados are full of healthy fats that provide energy and good heart health for tots and grownups alike.