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Whether you’ll be social distancing this summer or not, there’s nothing better than appetizers before a barbecue or summer bash.

A tray of bite-sized summer appetizers and finger foods are the perfect way to kick off your get together and have something to nosh on before dinner.

Yet serving up some kid-friendly summer appetizers too (whether you’re having a party or not) is one of my favorite tricks for encouraging kids to eat healthy and try new foods and put an end to their picky eating ways.

Sound too good to be true? It’s worked for my kids and it can work for yours too—here’s why.


I’m a big proponent of serving kids appetizers before dinner as a way to encourage healthy eating and it’s something I discovered by accident a few years ago.

My kid was hungry, dinner wasn’t ready yet and when I asked if she wanted to try an appetizer I had made, she was intrigued.

An appetizer?! What’s that?, she said and every time after that she’d ask for an appetizer, not a snack.

They may not spoil your kid’s dinner—and who cares if they do!

When you were a kid and asked for a snack before dinner, the answer was probably “no” because it would “spoil your appetite.”

Although that may be true, if what you’re serving your kids is a healthy choice, then it really doesn’t matter if or how much they eat when dinner rolls around.

They’re bite-sized

Serving an entire plate full of food is really intimidating for a little kid, but when you serve small, bite-sized foods, kids are more apt to try it.

They offer the variety kids crave

Kids love making their own choices (within those you say are OK), and when there’s a variety of choices, they’re more likely to choose healthy foods.

In fact, a recent study found that when kids were given choices of snacks to pick at one time, they were more likely to choose a wider variety of foods, including more fruit.

Serving appetizers takes advantage of your kid’s hunger

When your kids are vying for a snack as you’re scrambling to get dinner on the table, take advantage of their hunger and serve up a healthy appetizer.

Appetizers are like snacks, but fancier

Ok, so we might be splitting hairs here when it comes to what we call it, but the truth is that appetizer sounds so much more special than snack and kids like things that are new and special—it’s all in how you market it!

You can have an appetizers-only dinner party

If you’re sick of cooking every night, don’t!

Instead, pull together some easy, healthy summer appetizers, serve them with sparkling water, and have a fun family dinner everyone will enjoy.

Your kids can make their own appetizers

Getting your kids in the kitchen is one of the best ways to encourage healthy eating habits.

Grab a few basic ingredients like a baguette, veggies and hummus, or add wonton wrappers to a muffin tin and let your kids make their own mini tacos.


If it’s been a hectic day, there’s no shame in picking up some frozen or ready-made appetizers.

But to encourage healthy eating habits, serve up real food, whole foods instead which are also cheaper than store-bought.

Here are 50 kid-friendly summer appetizers to try.

1. Baked zucchini, eggplant, carrot, jicama or parsnip “fries”

2. Shrimp cocktail

3. Olives or olive tapenade with a sliced baguette or whole-grain crackers

4. Pumpkin seeds

5. Pinwheel sandwiches

6. Bacon-wrapped scallops

7. Skinny Baked Brie Phyllo Cups With Craisins and Walnuts

8. Crudité (raw veggies and a dip)

9. Chocolate covered apricots with pistachios

10. Mini avocado toast

11. Spinach dip

12. Brie and Fig Crostini

13. Cauliflower or broccoli “tater tots”

14. Smoked salmon and cream cheese on pumpernickel bread

15. Hummus or bean dip with vegetables

16. Healthy Baked Carrot Chips

17. Greek salad skewers

18. Swedish meatballs

19. Deviled eggs

20. Ham and cheese roll-ups

21. Mini Bell Pepper Loaded Turkey “Nachos”

22. Baked or air fryer egg rolls

23. Stuffed mushrooms

24. Beans

25. Quesadillas

26. Salsa and whole grain chips

27. Baked avocado fries

28. Mexican Fruit Salad with Jicama and Chili Powder

29. Baked or air fryer mini Arancini (Italian rice balls)

30. Edamame 

31. Bruschetta

32. Fresh corn fritters

33. Salmon sliders

34. Sweet potato fries

35. Baked tofu cubes or tempeh sticks

36. Guacamole

37. Baba Ganoush with mini naan bread

38. Parmesan Spinach Balls

39. Greek yogurt-filled raspberries

40. Marinated artichoke hearts

41. Spinach Artichoke Zucchini Bites

42. Kale chips

43. Roasted chickpeas

44. Honey-glazed almonds

45. Grilled fruit

46. Egg muffins

47. Spring rolls

48. Peas or corn

49. Caprese skewers (tomato, mozzarella and basil)

50. Pomegranate seeds

Author Details
Julie Revelant teaches parents how to raise children who are healthy, adventurous eaters. Through blog posts and videos, her goal is to shift the conversation from short-term, problem picky eating to lifelong, healthy eating and healthy futures. Julie has written for FoxNews.com, FIRST for Women magazine, WhatToExpect.com, EverydayHealth.com, RD.com, TheBump.com, Care.com, and Babble.com.