Super Health Kids' Fruit Salad with Citrus Dressing is an easy, colourful recipe; perfect for getting a toddler interested in different fruits and teaching them about yellow, orange, green and red. I love the idea of putting the salad into an ice-cream cone so they can scoff the lot (but make sure you eat straightway or they go soggy). The only major adjustment I made to make it more toddler-friendly was not to use a blender; many very young children hate the noise. Instead, I got mine to mash the banana, squeeze the juice from the orange and then mix in the milk and vanilla extract to make the dressing. I also substituted the orange in the salad with a clementine so they didn't have to cut up an orange. Full recipe on Super Healthy Kids.
As always I will be reviewing this recipe according to the Tickle Fingers criteria for choosing recipes to cook with a toddler. Basically, is it:
- short enough so they don't lost interest?
- age-appropriate, ie. can they do everything safely and happily?
- using everyday ingredients so you're not chasing around the shops or spending a fortune?
- achievable with minimal adult help so they can feel independent?
- tasty for everyone, especially the little chef?
8 ingredients: 160g strawberries, 1 kiwi, 1 clementine/tangerine/satsuma, 160g pineapple, 8 flat-bottomed ice cream cones, 1 banana, 1 orange, 60ml coconut milk, 1tsp vanilla extract. (US quantities in full recipe)
- cut strawberries, kiwi and pineapple into chunks with a table knife and put in bowl;
- break up clementine/tangerine/satsuma into pieces, add to bowl and mix;
- spoon fruit chunks into ice cream cones;
- mash banana in bowl with potato masher;
- squeeze juice from 1 orange over banana
- add coconut milk and vanilla extract to banana and mix to make dressing;
- pour dressing over fruit.
This has more ingredients and steps than is ideal, but it is easy so most toddlers should be able to stay the course. There is quite a bit of cutting. My youngest got fed up half way through. So I finished the cutting and she put the bits in the bowl. You can cut down the cutting time by using tinned (canned) pineapple chunks.
Don't forget to lay everything out before getting them into the kitchen so they don't lose interest while you're trying to find something. As well as the ingredients, you will need: table/child-safe knife, chopping board, mixing bowl, 2 table spoons and a potato masher. I'd also cut the orange in half so it's ready for them to squeeze and peel the kiwi and clementine.
As long as they cut the fruit with a table or child-safe knife, this is age-appropriate. Fruit and veg are great for very young children to cook with because you don't have to worry about what is going in their mouths. Quite the opposite, you are happy to see them try everything! It certainly was a free-for-all at my house when we made this. My youngest was sneaking fruit left, right and centre to the point where I wasn't sure we'd have anything left to serve.
I wouldn't use a blender for this age group. Not only does this mean no noise, but they loved smashing up the banana with a potato masher. I would also substitute the orange from the original salad with a clementine or tangerine, because cutting up an orange is hard.
Everyday Ingredients 4/5
Fruits like kiwis aren't cheap, but they are readily available. If you use tinned (canned) pineapple chunks, that will help keep the cost down. As coconut milk usually comes in a 400ml tin (14oz can), you will have quite a bit left over. If you pour the extra into a non-metal container with a lid, you can keep the leftovers in the fridge for up to 2 days. I plan to use it up by mixing with a shop-bought curry paste for an easy curry sauce.
This trickiest part of this recipe is cutting up the fruit. Get them to hold the food with one hand and tuck their thumb safely out of the way. I tell my children to 'hide' their thumb. Get them to hold the knife in their other hand and do a sawing action while pressing down. I usually put my hands over theirs to help them to hold the food and to get enough pressure. For a very young child (under 2), you might want to cut-up the fruit for them before getting them in the kitchen.
Out of 4 toddlers, 2 happily ate 1 cone each and the other 2 demolished theirs and asked for a second. I think that says it all.
Overall, I give this recipe the Tickle Fingers thumbs up, primarily because it is a great opportunity to get your toddler to play around with fruit. Normally I wouldn't advise cooking with a young child when they are hungry, because all they'll want to do is eat. In this case, definitely do this when they're hungry and watch the fruit go down the hatch. Try it and please let us know how you get on by posting to Facebook or tweeting @cookwithtots.