Fruit Desserts for Kids: Make Dessert Easy

Dessert can be a healthy and yummy treat with fruit!

Fruit is nature's indulgence. There are so many of varieties of fruit it is easy to create tasty fruit centered desserts. It is naturally sweet, low in calories and high in nutrients. When I think of fruity dessert, I love berries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, tarts, parfaits, trifles, all kinds of yummy.

Benefits of Using Fruit

One benefit of using fruit is the variety of vitamins and minerals it provides as well as a  being a great source of dietary fiber.

Some of the nutrients in fruit include, potassium, vitamin C, and folate. Fruits are one of the five food groups, and according to MyPlate recommendations, a combination of fruits and vegetables should make up half of what you eat every day.

Fruit is naturally free of cholesterol, low in fat and sodium. They are full of phytochemical and antioxidants, nutrients found in plant-based foods.  Dietary fiber is one of the nutritional benefits of fruit. Fiber helps give you a feeling of being full. When there is a feeling of fullness we don’t snack or reach for more food that we may not need. Including fruit into meals and snacks will improve health by providing natural energy, strengthened immune system and satisfy cravings.

Making fruit the center of your desserts will help to meet the nutritional needs of your family as well as provide them with something sweet and yummy. When creating a fruit dessert first identify the fruit you want to use.

Look for fruits in season as they are often less expensive and will be at the peak of flavor. In the summer find farmers markets or corner produce stands that will have in season, local produce.  Next, decide if you want to use the fruit in its raw form or if you will want to cook it in some way. Some fruit can be grilled, cooked or baked like apples, peaches, pears, berries, or rhubarb.

Other fruits are better served in their raw form like kiwi, melons, or grapes.

Cooking the Fruit

When you choose to cook the fruit, try to keep it as close to its whole form as possible. Desserts, like pies and pastries, add a lot of fat and calories, making the food energy dense rather than nutrient dense. Choosing to eat foods in their whole form means that they have little taken away from the way they were grown and nothing added to them.  

Often times the goodness of the fruit is covered up with high-calorie sauces, frosting or heavily processed baked goods. Creating health fruity dessert requires making the fruit the star and complementing it with simple ingredients. Consider using pureed or smashed fruit as a topping instead.

Recipe Ideas

I like to make a Cook Top Apple Crisp that simply combines spiced apples and homemade granola. For this you use a variety of 4 large apples and cut in 1 inch cubes and cook in a skillet with a little butter. If you have a non stick skillet 1-2 tsp of butter is plenty. After they have cooked down a little and you see a slight change in color, about 2 minutes, add ½ tsp cinnamon. Continue to cook for 2 minutes and add then 1 tablespoon of brown sugar.

Stir in sugar and cook 1 more minute. Portion into serving dishes and top with homemade granola and a dollop of light whipped cream. It would also be delicious with vanilla frozen yogurt. This dessert is tasty and sweet, but still retains nutritional value.  

When making desserts with raw fruit the possibilities are endless. Fruit kabobs served with a fruit dip made with Greek yogurt and blended fruit are fun and can be very festive. Kids love to dip anything. Fruit dips don’t need to overpower the fruit. Simple is better. A bowl of a fresh fruit in season can be quite decadent. Fruit is limitless freeze it, blend it, sprinkle it the list goes on and on.

The key to healthy fruity desserts is to keep the fruit the focus. Accessorize with natural ingredients like nuts, coconut, yogurt and whole grains, even drizzles of chocolate. Try an assortment of ways to prepare such as freezing, baking or serving raw. Play up the rainbow of colors available in fruit and you can create eye catching, palate pleasing desserts.

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