Although it may not quite feel like spring has completely arrived, I am always reminded that warmer days are just around the corner when I start seeing fresh berries making their way up from sunny Florida to local grocery stores. Berries boast a variety of health benefits and make for a convenient finger food for toddlers and children. Blackberries and raspberries pack in eight grams in fiber and only sixty calories per cup. All berries are excellent source of vitamin C, offer a good dose of potassium and vitamin K, and are high in antioxidants. Adding berries to familiar foods and involving your children in the prep process can entice even the pickiest of eaters. Despite their superior nutrition profile and versatility, their cost and availability can be a challenge for some families. Consider these tips to help you take advantage of the season’s bounty year round. Nationwide, only forty percent of children eat enough fruit per day. Let berries help you improve that statistic!
- Add it in: Toss berries into pancakes, muffins, yogurt, and oatmeal. This is great one to let the kids help!
- Blend it up: Smoothies are a great way to use up fruits and vegetables on hand. Get creative with combinations but watch out for sugar from yogurts and juice. Boost your smoothie with protein by adding nuts, greek yogurt, hemp, flax or chia seeds, or silken tofu.
- Mix it up: Add a burst of color to a fruit salad with berries, assemble fruit kabobs or top off a fresh spring salad with any berry.
- Heat it up: make mixed berry sauce for waffles or yogurt by heating 1 cup fresh or frozen berries, 3/4 cup water, ¼ cup sugar and 1 tablespoon cornstarch and simmer until thickened.
- Chill out: Buy frozen berries or freeze your own by rinsing and spreading out onto a paper towels to dry before freezing. Tip: for strawberries, freeze individually on a sheet pan before placing in freezer contain for easier use later.