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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.
REASONS TO SERVE KIDS SUMMER APPETIZERS
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.
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.
KID-FRIENDLY SUMMER APPETIZERS YOUR KIDS WILL LOVE
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
5. Pinwheel sandwiches
6. Bacon-wrapped scallops
8. Crudité (raw veggies and a dip)
9. Chocolate covered apricots with pistachios
10. Mini avocado toast
11. Spinach dip
13. Cauliflower or broccoli “tater tots”
14. Smoked salmon and cream cheese on pumpernickel bread
15. Hummus or bean dip with vegetables
17. Greek salad skewers
18. Swedish meatballs
19. Deviled eggs
20. Ham and cheese roll-ups
22. Baked or air fryer egg rolls
23. Stuffed mushrooms
26. Salsa and whole grain chips
27. Baked avocado fries
29. Baked or air fryer mini Arancini (Italian rice balls)
33. Salmon sliders
34. Sweet potato fries
35. Baked tofu cubes or tempeh sticks
37. Baba Ganoush with mini naan bread
39. Greek yogurt-filled raspberries
40. Marinated artichoke hearts
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