March 2023 – Published by 4-C

Spring is the perfect time to refresh your meals with vibrant colors, fresh flavors, and nutrient-packed ingredients. In this blog post, we will explore some delicious kid-friendly spring recipes that will bring the best of the season to your table. These dishes focus on incorporating fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins, making them perfect for a healthy and active spring.
A white child with blond hair sits before a table with a plate of cut veggies, a bowl of food, a mug, and a container of strawberries. Also on the table is a white doll with yellow hair. The child is pretending to feed a strawberry to the doll.

Spring Snacks

Fruit and Yogurt Parfait

Layer your favorite fresh fruits, such as berries or sliced peaches, with low-fat yogurt and whole-grain granola for a delicious and satisfying snack. The combination of natural sweetness from the fruit, creaminess from the yogurt, and crunchiness from the granola makes this a well-rounded treat.

Veggie Sticks with Hummus

Cut up an assortment of colorful vegetables, like bell peppers, carrots, and cucumber, and serve them with a side of hummus for dipping. This protein-packed snack is a great way to sneak in extra servings of vegetables while enjoying the rich, savory flavor of hummus.

Apple Slices with Peanut Butter

Pair crisp apple slices with a tablespoon or two of natural peanut butter for a snack that offers a balance of sweetness and nuttiness. The combination of fiber from the apple and healthy fats from the peanut butter will help keep you full and energized.

Spring Meals

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Strawberry Spinach Salad is a vibrant dish that blends the sweetness of fresh strawberries with the earthy flavors of spinach and the tang of a homemade poppy seed dressing. To make this salad, toss fresh spinach, strawberries, and chopped red onion in a large bowl. Prepare the dressing by whisking together white wine vinegar, sugar, vegetable oil, poppy seeds, ground mustard, and salt. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss gently for a delightful mix of flavors and textures.

Grilled Chicken and Veggie Skewers

Grilled Chicken and Veggie Skewers offer an enjoyable way to savor grilled chicken and an assortment of colorful vegetables. To prepare, cut boneless, skinless chicken breasts, bell peppers in assorted colors, red onion, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes into bite-sized pieces. Thread the chicken and vegetables onto skewers, alternating between the two. Brush the skewers with olive oil and season them with salt and pepper. Grill the skewers until the chicken is fully cooked and the vegetables are tender, then serve and enjoy.

Spring Vegetable Stir-Fry

A spring vegetable stir-fry is a delicious dish featuring an array of fresh, colorful vegetables. To prepare, chop broccoli, asparagus, sugar snap peas, carrots, and assorted bell peppers into bite-sized pieces. In a small bowl, whisk together low-sodium soy sauce, honey, and cornstarch. Heat olive oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat, then add garlic and ginger, stirring briefly. Add the vegetables, cooking until tender-crisp while stirring frequently. Stir in the sauce and cook until it thickens. Finish by seasoning with salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy this vibrant, flavorful stir-fry.

Spring Pea Risotto

Spring Pea Risotto is a creamy, delightful dish that highlights the fresh taste of peas. Start by heating olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, then cook the onion and garlic until softened. Stir in Arborio rice, cooking for 2-3 minutes, followed by white wine, stirring until it is absorbed. Gradually add low-sodium vegetable broth, ensuring each addition is absorbed while stirring. Add fresh or frozen peas during the last few minutes of cooking. Remove from heat and mix in grated Parmesan cheese, then season with salt and pepper to taste for a delicious, comforting meal.

Baked Sweet Potatoes and Apples

Baked Sweet Potatoes and Apples is a warm, flavorful dish that combines the natural sweetness of these ingredients. To prepare, preheat the oven to 375°F. Peel and thinly slice 4 large sweet potatoes and 4 medium apples. Arrange the sweet potatoes and apples in alternating layers in a greased 12″x20″x2.5″ pan. In a separate bowl, combine ½ cup of brown sugar, ¼ cup of melted margarine, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, and ⅛ teaspoon of nutmeg, then pour the mixture over the layered sweet potatoes and apples. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and continue baking for another 15-20 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender. This USDA CACFP recipe is both delicious and easy to prepare.

Lemon Herb Baked Fish

Lemon Herb Baked Fish is a light, flavorful dish that highlights white fish filets, such as cod, tilapia, or halibut, with a zesty lemon-herb topping. To prepare, preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and arrange the fish filets in a baking dish. In a small bowl, combine lemon zest, lemon juice, chopped parsley, chopped dill, minced garlic, and olive oil. Spoon this herb mixture over the fish filets and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork, for a delicious and healthy meal.

These simple spring recipes showcase the vibrant flavors of the season, making them ideal for sharing with friends and family. The dishes provide a range of healthy, delicious options for your springtime menu, allowing everyone to enjoy the burst of colors and flavors they bring to the table. By incorporating these recipes into daily routines and offering ample opportunities for physical activity, early care and education settings can create a supportive environment that promotes children’s health and well-being. Savor the taste of the season, and together, let’s work towards nurturing healthier habits and brighter futures for our young ones.

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Additional 4-C Resources

Other Resources

  • Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction: CACFP
  • Healthy Children: Nutrition