Rainbow Fruit Kebabs: Healthy Treats for Kids

For holidays, kids are often looking for treats. And those are usually in the form of sugar.

Fortunately summer and Labor Day are the perfect time for a healthy fruit based dessert. And nothing is more pure than fresh fruit.

So this Labor Day try Rainbow Fruit Kebabs.

They are easy, delicious, beautiful… and healthy.

Kids love things “on a stick,” so fruit kebabs are always a hit in my home.  

My daughter loves making the kebabs for the party. She can cut and skewer the fruit herself. And she loves making them. She even enjoys the process of going to the grocery store and helping plan and pick out the fruit we are going to use. It’s a great learning opportunity for kids to learn about the nutritional value of fresh produce. 

For smaller kids that can’t use a knife, cut the fruit for them and supervise while they put the fruit on the skewers. You can find wood skewers at many grocery stores as well as online. 

These can also be made with some vegetables like sweet red bell pepper, tomatoes (which are actually a fruit), or jicama. For kids new to eating vegetables, the combination of foods they like (fruit) with unknown foods (vegetables) is a good way to encourage exploration of (and success in eating) vegetables.

Use any fruits you like: such as watermelon, mango, berry, or melon. For those on a low salicylate diet, use complaint fruit (such as: pear, mango, golden delicious apples, or whatever works for your child). 

Making them rainbow colored is so fun. People of all ages love them. And they are filled with nutrients. The colors in fruits and vegetables are derived from pigments natural in plants that provide phytonutrients. 

Here are some corresponding colors and their nutrient counterpart:

Anthocyanins: Anthocyanins produce the blue, purple, red color found in berries and grapes. Anthocyanin foods contain antioxidants that support health.

Lycopene: Lycopene is a carotenoid found in tomatoes. Studies show lycopenes have a positive effect on heart health.

Beta-carotene: The orange/yellow color in many fruits and vegetables. Humans convert beta-carotene to

vitamin A. Vitamin A assists with growth and development and vision. It is also very important for a healthy immune system: specifically for regulatory T cells, which help prevent an immune response against “self” (i.e. an autoimmune response). 

Lutein: Green and yellow plants produce lutein. Lutein is concentrated in the macula of the retina in the eye of humans and plays an important role in vision and eye health. 

Zeaxanthin: Zeaxathin is a compound very similar to lutein, which gives red bell peppers their orange and red color. Being the same chemical structure (with a different double bond) as lutein, it has similar benefits for the eyes.  

Red fruit:
Watermelon, strawberries, raspberries, cherries (pitted), cherry tomatoes

Orange fruit:
Mango, cantaloupe, apricots, peach, nectarines, papaya, orange, grapefruit, sungold cherry tomatoes

Yellow fruit:
Golden raspberry, pineapple, banana, 

Green fruit:
Green grapes, kiwi, honeydew melon

Blue fruit:
Blueberries

Purple:
Blackberries, red grapes, concord grapes, plums

Fruit also contains many other vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, folate, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. One of the best nutrients fruit contains is fiber. Fiber helps keep our good bacteria healthy and improves digestion.

Assembling Fruit Kebabs

Wash fruit. 

Place fruit on skewers, either whole or chopped (but be sure to remove pits and seeds). 

I prefer bamboo skewers around 10-12 inches long, but any type and size will do.

Arrange on plate with a dipping sauce in the center. You can also take half a cantaloupe (placed round/skin side up) and poke skewers into melon to arrange kebabs in a creative manner.

Dipping Sauces

A dipping sauce can make it fun and nutritious.

Add some protein and fat for a more hearty treat, with a chocolate-nut butter dipping sauce. 

Or add some probiotics with a (dairy-free) yogurt dipping sauce

Yogurt Dipping Sauce 

GFCF/ SCD/GAPS/Paleo

This dipping sauce supplement probiotics and is refreshing on a hot day (as long as you have a way to keep it cool when storing it).

Ingredients

1 cup of non-dairy yogurt
1 cup of fresh or frozen ORGANIC strawberries, peaches or other fruit
1-2 Tablespoons raw honey

Directions

Puree fruit in a blender and add a splash of milk (enough to get it to spin) and honey. Add the yogurt and blend gently to mix.

Place chucks of fruits and vegetables on a bamboo skewer.

Serve sauce in a fun bowl.  Place skewers on plate with bowl of dipping sauce in the center.

Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter

GFCF, SCD/GAPS, Paleo

To make SCD/GAPS use honey. 

This is similar to a Nutella-style butter but nut-free and more dip’able. 

Start with sunflower butter, you can make this or buy it. 

1 cup Sunflower butter
1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
Stevia, honey or other sweetener
3 Tablespoons non-dairy milk

Mix 1 cup of sunflower butter with 1 Tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder. Add sweetener as desired such as: 5 drops of stevia or 1 Tablespoon of honey or other sweetener. Melt on stove, add 3 Tablespoons of non-dairy milk to make it more dip’able.

Hi, I’m Julie Matthews, a Certified Nutrition Consultant, Author, and Published Researcher. I teach parents and practitioners that children with autism, ADHD, and related disorders can improve and heal, and that there’s hope for their children. Then I educate and empower them to make strategic dietary changes that positively affect children’s health, which in turn helps their learning and behavior. With 17 years of experience and my unique range of knowledge, from nutrition research and clinical experience to cooking in the kitchen for my own family, I’ve created a much-needed community for parents and practitioners looking to help children with autism live happy, healthy lives. Join us.

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