>> Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Fruits and vegetables are such an important part of our diet, but I think that sometimes its easier to grab some crackers or a granola bar and forget that sometimes simple is best - at least I know that I'm guilty of that too often. Granola bars and crackers are certainly fine snacks in moderation, but you just can't go wrong with fruits and vegetables - that is, if you can get your child to eat them.
To combat the bready snacks, which have an especially strong pull on my son, we've set a rule that afternoon snack time is for fruits and vegetables. Usually I serve fruit or vegetables straight up at snack time, but when there's an abundance of ripe, fresh fruit available at the grocery store, it's nice to make a fruit salad. A fruit salad is a great way to introduce picky eaters to different fruits. (In theory, at least. I can't say that it's really worked that way around here.) Just grab whatever looks good at the time - mango, banana, strawberries, grapes, and kiwi went into my last fruit salad - chop and mix together. If you've got a picky eater, maybe try adding in a small amount of a new fruit into the mix.
My family's twist on fruit salad (I'm blatantly stealing this idea from my mother, who made the most delicious fruit salad this way on our last visit) is to add a little POM pomegranate juice to the cut up fruit. It adds a pleasant twang and unifies the different flavors a bit. You could use any fruit juice, I suppose, but I thought that the POM was a nice, light flavor that didn't compete too much with the other fruit flavors.
You could take it a little further and add some yogurt or even (gasp!) whipped cream to transform it into a dessert. Another trick of my mom's is to substitute some melon liquor for the POM for a more sophisticated adult fruit salad. I haven't tried that yet, but it does sound awfully good!