We all want our kids to eat more produce, but convincing them to actually eat what we buy can be hard! This post will help you learn which fruits for kids have the most nutrition, are easy for kids to eat, and are most likely to actually be eaten. Plus, recipe ideas for how to use them!
Fruits for Kids
Fruit is full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber—and they taste good! It’s so easy to get into a rut of buying just apples, bananas, and oranges at the store, so this list of fruit for kids will give you new ideas to both keep the kids interested in actually eating their fruit AND will help ensure that they’re getting a healthy range of nutrients throughout the week.
Healthy Fruit for Kids
I always remind parents that kids who don’t love their veggies should be encouraged to enjoy fruit since they contain many of the same nutrients! The water content can also be really helpful in making sure that the kids don’t become constipated (which is an important thing to keep in mind because a kid who can’t go is a miserable kiddo!). They are also naturally sweet and are usually much more enjoyable for many kids than veggies.
Best Fruits for Toddlers
Pretty much any fruit is good for toddlers and you really don’t need to worry about the natural sugar content (promise). There are some considerations to take with choking hazards and chewing abilities, so you’ll see that info below. Use the following list for ideas on how to serve fruits for kids raw and how to cook some of my favorite fruit recipes too.
Raw apples can be a choking hazard up until age 4, though use your discretion if you want to offer them earlier and opt for softer varieties like Gala when possible. You can also serve raw apples shredded to younger toddlers, which is much easier to chew. Also try:
- Apple Cinnamon Bread: With whole grains, fresh apples, and cinnamon, this bread is great for breakfast or a snack.
- Apple Donuts: I love baking with fall flavors pretty much year round and I love putting leftover applesauce to good use in these easy donuts. They’re a less sweet treat to share with the kids.
- Applesauce Muffins: These moist little Applesauce Muffins are so full of apple cinnamon flavor—and whole grains, minimal added sweetener, and healthy fruit.
- Applesauce Pancakes: These Fluffy Applesauce Pancakes are a favorite weekend breakfast recipe because they are easy to mix up, they taste sweet and comforting, and the leftovers store nicely in the fridge or freezer.
- Crockpot Applesauce:With just 3 simple ingredients—and no added sugars—this simple Crockpot Applesauce boasts intense apple flavor and a smooth OR chunky texture to please the preferences of your kid.
- Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal: Made with just a few wholesome ingredients, this Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal cooks up fast and easily—which is exactly what you want in a toddler breakfast!
Fresh apricots can be hard to find if you live in a smaller town like we do, but when they’re in season and good, they’re delicious! They’re a very good option for toddler constipation and are a nice alternative to fruits like peaches and plums if you’re looking for variety. You want to look for ones that give just slightly—if they are super firm, they aren’t quite ripe and won’t be very sweet.
An avocado is a fruit and it’s SO good for babies and toddlers due to the healthy fats it contains. You can serve it diced, sliced, or mashed on it’s own. Or, try adding a few tablespoons to a smoothie to add creaminess. If you have some leftover avocado, try sticking it into a freezer bag in the freezer and using it for a smoothie later on!
Fresh bananas are an easy snack that can be taken on the go or eaten at home. Smaller bananas will have less likelihood of winding up half-eaten. And it’s fun to try the mini varieties which have a slightly different flavor and can mix up things a bit from week to week. Also try:
- Healthy Banana Bread: The recipe comes together in the food processor, and once cooled and wrapped, the bars store amazingly well in the fridge and freezer. It’s soft, moist, and sweet, yet firm enough for little fingers to hold without it falling apart.
- Vegan Banana Pancakes: With wholesome ingredients and bright banana flavor, this is an easy recipe for the whole family.
- Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins: I love to have a batch of muffins in the fridge or freezer during the week for fast breakfasts and snacks, so whenever I have overripe bananas, I turn them in a batch of these super yummy Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins!
Fresh blueberries are a perfect kid snack. For younger toddlers and babies eating solids, I recommend slicing them in half to ensure that they are easy to chew. And here are some ways to use blueberries in recipes for kids.
- Blueberry Banana Muffins: This easy recipe is a favorite—the muffins are sweet enough to taste like a treat, but wholesome enough to fill up little tummies and provide energy for a few hours.
- Simple Blueberry Banana Smoothie: It packs in Vitamin C, potassium, fat, and fiber for a balanced mix of nutrients that will keep your toddler’s belly full and their energy levels stable (well, as much as is possible with kids!).
- Blueberry Date Cake: It’s super moist and easy for little ones to chew, but it’s also made with a handful of wholesome ingredients that are good for your family—and taste good too.
Fresh cantaloupe is so good during the summer with it’s musty, mellow sweetness. Look for one that gives slightly to the touch at the base and that smells like a cantaloupe for the best chances of bringing home one that tastes good. Serve it diced or sliced.
Fresh cherries, while likely to be somewhat messy, are rich in antioxidants and have a deeply intense flavor. Cut them in half and pop out the seed or use a cherry pitter. Also try:
- Cherry Banana Smoothie: This recipe, which can be served as either a smoothie or a freezer pop, is packed with fresh fruit but it also contains some protein to make it a nicely balanced snack.
Citrus is great for helping to boost immunity with Vitamin C and to add water to kid’s diets with their high water content. Look for oranges, blood oranges, grapefruit, clementines, mandarins and more to keep things interesting for your kids. Also try:
- Orange Creamsicle Pops: These orange creamsicle freezer popsicles are super simple, but they have some vitamin C from fresh orange and some protein and probiotics from yogurt.
Fresh cranberries are too tart to eat straight up, but we love using them in bread! And you can also stir cranberry sauce into plain yogurt for a fall treat.
- Fresh Cranberry Orange Bread: Filled with bright cranberry and citrus flavors, this Cranberry Orange Bread is a perfect breakfast, snack, or make-ahead side.
Fresh figs are one of my favorite things in life and if you’re lucky enough to live in a place where you have access to them, buy them up! The interior is soft and sweet and will likely be enjoyed by kids. You can also try dicing up dried figs or softening them in oatmeal as another option.
Grapes, which should be slighted longways in half or quarters to prevent choking, are usually a favorite fruit for kids. Change up the color that you buy between green, red, and black and look for the new varieties like the long skinny ones to keep things interesting.
Similarly to cantaloupe, you want to look for a fresh honeydew that gives just slightly at the base and that smells sweet. Honeydew are often firmer to the touch on the outside than other melons, so it can be hard to judge a ripe one—this would be a good one to ask the produce manager for your store for help choosing!
Kiwi, which come in the classic green color and a slightly smoother yellow variety, are a good way to serve up Vitamin C and fiber. They can be sliced in half and eaten with a spoon or diced or sliced (after removing the skin). Or try:
- Green Smoothie Freezer Pops: If you have a toddler who’s not a fan of smoothies, or you just want a new way to serve up a green smoothie, try these freezer pops with kiwi and spinach.
Fresh mango is sweet and soft and is a good fruit for babies, toddlers, and kids. You can serve it diced or sliced and if you think that doing that is too much work, try buying a bag of frozen mango cubes and letting them thaw. They’re often just as good as fresh mango and the work of cutting them up is already done! Also try:
- Mango Yogurt Smoothie: This mango smoothie recipe is super streamlined to ensure that it’s creamy, naturally sweet enough, and thick enough for kids who might prefer to eat it with a spoon. It’s a perfect toddler and baby smoothie!
Fresh peaches, which should be slightly soft and fragrant, are so good in the summer. Cut them up into smaller pieces for younger toddlers and remove the skin if needed. Older kids can eat them straight up! (They brown after a while when sliced, so try not to cut them too far in advance of serving.
With Bartlett, Bosc, Anju, Asian, Seckle…there are so many delicious varieties of pears that come in green, red, and brown colors. Pears ripen well on a shelf at room temperature, so I recommend buying them firm and letting that happen at home to avoid super ripe ones becoming bruised on the way home from the store. (They brown after a while when sliced, so try not to cut them too far in advance of serving.
Whether fresh, thawed from frozen, or canned in 100% fruit juice, pineapple is sweet and delicious. Try it as a side dish for tacos or Asian food, or served over cottage cheese, 80s style! This is another fresh fruit that should give slightly at the base and should smell like a pineapple.
Plums are sometimes forgotten about, but ripe summer plums are soft and mellow—making them a healthy fruit for kids. Try black, red, and the speckled varieties to see which ones your kids like best and remove the skin for younger toddlers if it’s too hard for them to chew.
Popping fresh pomegranate seeds into a mouth is so fun and is often very entertaining for kids. Buy a whole pomegranate, cut it in half, and let the kids lightly tap the back of each side with a spoon to get the seeds to fall into a bowl. OR just buy pomegranate seeds and cut out the work!
Fresh raspberries are a great source of fiber and vitamins and are nice and low maintenance since you don’t even need to cut them. (Though you may want to halve or mash them for older babies depending on their experience with solids). If fresh raspberries are too pricy at certain times of the year, try buying frozen ones and adding them to smoothies. Or dehydrated ones for a snack. And try:
- Raspberry Lemon Baked Donuts: Sweet, fresh, and easy to make, these baked donuts are a fun way to serve up raspberries.
- Whole-Wheat Raspberry Waffles: Tuck some fresh fruit right into waffle batter to make the morning meal much more nutritious!
- Raspberry Cheesecake Freezer Pops: With just a few ingredients, these freezer pops are creamy and bursting with fresh fruit flavor. Simply sub in raspberries for the strawberries.
Fresh strawberries are sweet, easy to eat, and are often a favorite fruit for kids. Look for ones that are uniformly red (not with too many white spots). When you get them home from the store, wash and dry them thoroughly and store in a paper towel lined container to extend their life. And try:
- Healthy Strawberry Muffins: Mix up these healthy Strawberry Muffins in just about 30 minutes and serve up a healthy breakfast or snack packed with whole grains, fiber, vitamins, and yummy flavor!
- Strawberry Oatmeal Cookie Bars: These are easy to make in advance, are packed with strawberry flavor.
- Strawberry Drinkable Yogurt: This is a strawberry smoothie recipe made with 3 simple ingredients to fuel your kids with the nutrition they need. Plus, you can control the amount of added sweetener!
- Strawberry Greek Frozen Yogurt Pops: This frozen yogurt recipe is versatile so you can change it up all year long and it’s super healthy for the whole family!
Fresh watermelon, whether served diced, sliced, or in wedges, is a perfect summer fruit for kids. It has a high water content, so it’s great for kids who don’t love drinking water, and it’s rich in antioxidants and vitamins. We also like to blend seedless watermelon into juice—blitz it in the blend, strain it through a fine-mesh colander, and serve it up cold. So good!
Final Notes on Fruits for Kids
It’s 100% normal for kids to go through phases of loving one fruit for days and then flatly refusing it. This is a reason that it’s good to aim for variety each week and not just buy the two fruits that you know your child loves at that point in time…since you never know when they’ll change their minds. Expect them to go through cycles and try not to totally write off a refused fruit. Instead, give it a break for a few weeks and then buy it again. It’s likely they just needed a break!