Three Recipes Make Fruits, Vegetables Fun to Eat

— Written By Sarah Kocher and last updated by
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4-H offers three kid-friendly recipes with fruits and vegetables for the whole family to try.

Whether they are healthy eaters or not, many parents struggle to excite their children about fruits and vegetables. In an effort to help, 4-H offers three kid-friendly recipes for the whole family to try.

These recipes are not only kid-friendly in the eating sense, but they also can be prepared with the help of youth. One of the best ways to encourage healthy eating habits is to involve young people in the kitchen with meal and snack preparation. Personal safety and food safety should be emphasized too.

The first recipe is adult and youth approved – easy guacamole. Ingredients needed are two avocados, one small roma tomato (diced), garlic salt, one lime, and a pinch of sugar.

Beginning with the avocados, cut all the way around the center, starting at the stem and circling until you reach the stem on the other side. Then, twist softly and pry apart. Once the pit is removed, slice the fruit vertically and horizontally, and scoop it out into a bowl. This recipe is from the National 4-H Council.

Avocados are ready when they are a little soft when gently squeezed but not mushy.

Add the remaining ingredients to the avocado pieces and mash them together. Younger ones may enjoy this part the best.

Serve with chips.

Next, chicken or beef stir fry gives families an opportunity to add lots of flavor and colorful vegetables to a meal. This is a recipe from the National 4-H Council, submitted by 4-H member Wyatt of Marion, South Carolina.

Zoey Woods prepares chicken stir fry at a Cooking 4-H Club event in July 2021.

Zoey Woods prepares chicken stir fry at a Cooking 4-H Club event in July 2021.

First, prepare about four cups of assorted vegetables by cutting them into thin slices. Examples are bell peppers, carrots, broccoli, snow peas, and onions. Families can also try adding mushrooms and water chestnuts.

To cook the protein and vegetables, heat a skillet and add one tablespoon of oil. Cut the meat into short, thin strips, and add it to the hot skillet. Adults need to supervise this step and any others involving hot surfaces.

Once the protein is fully cooked, remove it from the heat and set aside.

Add two cloves of garlic (minced or substitute with garlic powder) and one teaspoon of ginger (minced or powder) to the pan and stir. Then, add the vegetables one at a time, starting with the toughest or slowest cooking.

To make the sauce for this stir fry, youth or other family members should combine two tablespoons of cornstarch and six tablespoons of water with one tablespoon of low-sodium soy sauce.

Pour the mixture on top of the cooking vegetables and toss. If available, place a lid on the skillet and allow the vegetables to steam until tender. Before serving over brown or white rice, bring the mixture to a boil and reduce while adding the chicken or beef to coat with the sauce.

The last of the three recipes is a fun, fruity dessert called watermelon pizza. It is simply a triangle slice of watermelon with toppings.

(Photo courtesy of National 4-H Council): Top watermelon slices with a spoonful of melted chocolate and smaller pieces of fruit to create a nutritious, kid-friendly treat.

(Photo courtesy of National 4-H Council): Top watermelon slices with a spoonful of melted chocolate and smaller pieces of fruit to create a nutritious, kid-friendly treat.

To assemble, with supervision, youth melt ½ cup of white chocolate chips in the microwave on low power stirring every 20 seconds or so; and spread a spoonful of the chocolate on the watermelon slice. Then add sliced or diced fruit of your choice. This could include strawberries, kiwi, blueberries, pineapple, mango, or whatever youth choose.

With the stir fry recipe, new or preferred vegetables can easily be added or dropped. Likewise, youth can try a new fruit as a topping on their watermelon pizza.

These recipes and more are available on the National 4-H Council website, under the “healthy living” resource section for parents.

Caldwell County 4-H is a member agency of United Way, and it enthusiastically supports its partnerships. Learn more about Caldwell County 4-H programs, including the Cooking 4-H Club for youth ages 5-18 online.

The Cooking 4-H Club meets to cook, bake and have fun with food. They meet on the third Monday of the month in the evening from 6–8 p.m.

Sarah Kocher is the 4-H Youth Development Agent with N.C. Cooperative Extension in Caldwell County. The N.C. Cooperative Extension, Caldwell County Center, 120 Hospital Ave. NE #1 in Lenoir, provides access to resources of NC State University and N.C. A&T State University through educational programs and publications.