In my efforts to get children to eat healthily, I’ve noticed two factors that often attract them to particular foods. The first of these factors is color. Like most of us, kids are very drawn to food that looks attractive rather than drab and children seem very interested in exploring foods of a variety of colors. I have also noticed that many kids are more likely to eat a food if it has a certain element of do-it-yourself. Kids in general, and toddlers in particular, love to feel independent and serving a food that allows them to spear, spread, or dip the food on their plate can go a long way towards encouraging them to try something new. I tried to think of a food that would combine these two elements and I came up with this colorful fruit platter with two dipping sauces that encourages kids to dip the fruit themselves. Older kids might enjoy making fruit kebabs with bamboo skewers, but even toddlers can enjoy dipping the fruit in some sauce on their plate.
Most of the recipes I’ve seen for fruit dipping sauces are yogurt based. However, as I have known many children who don’t really like yogurt, I decided to also include a clear orange-ginger sauce here. For my rainbow of fruits, I used watermelon, oranges, pineapple, and green grapes. Including some purple grapes or blueberries to complete the rainbow would also be fun. When considering which fruits to include on this platter, I tried to choose ones that keep well in the fridge, even after being peeled and cut, since there is a good chance that not all of the fruit will be eaten. This ruled out bananas, apples, or other fruits that would become discolored or mushy quickly. I think any fruits would go well with these dipping sauces, so there is no need to buy an expensive variety of fruits for this platter, just use whatever is on hand.
Orange-ginger Dipping Sauce
I have found that this sauce also goes well with chicken or fish fingers. My daughter (who already eats like a vegetarian at the age of 2) is more likely to eat meat if I give her some of this sauce to dip it in.
Fresh juice from 1 medium orange (about 2/3 cup), divided
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 Tablespoons)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup honey
1. Pour 1 Tablespoon of the orange juice into a small bowl and whisk it together with the corn starch until no white flecks remain. Put the rest of the orange juice and the lemon juice in a small saucepan and stir in the ground ginger. Bring the juices to a boil.
2. Once the orange/lemon juice mixture is boiling, whisk in the orange juice that has been combined with corn starch and continue to simmer, whisking constantly, until the sauce has thickened, about 1 minute.
3. Remove the sauce from the heat and let cool to room temperature. After the sauce has cooled, whisk in the honey until well combined and refrigerate until ready to use. Can be made up to 3 days ahead.
Orange Honey Yogurt
This recipe uses a small amount of the Orange Ginger sauce from the recipe above, but, if you don’t plan on making the other sauce, I think it would also work to replace the Orange Ginger Sauce with the same amount of orange marmalade. Marmalade would make a chunkier sauce with some pieces of peel, but it would add the same tangy orange flavor.
3 ounces (half a small carton) vanilla greek yogurt
1 Tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons Orange Ginger Sauce (recipe above)
1. Whisk all the ingredients together in a small mixing bowl until well combined and chill until ready to use. Can be made up to 1 day ahead.
Some other fun ways to serve fruit:
– Use fresh fruit in place of jelly in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Rasberries or strawberries are especially delicious!
– Add some sweetness to oatmeal by mashing some banana and honey into it.
– Try a homemade or store bought granola that includes dried fruit
– Spread a whole-wheat tortilla with some cream cheese, top with thin slices of fruit and roll it up for a quick snack
– Blend together yogurt, milk and frozen fruit or berries for a quick morning smoothie
– For a slightly healthier dessert, set out bowls of berries and fruit slices and some nutella to dip them in