An apple a day does quite a lot, they say—so let’s unpeel that. What makes apples such a great go-to snack, and how can we incorporate them into our kids’ diets, whether that’s a daily dose or something close to it?
The Apple Appeal
Apples are super accessible and affordable, which makes them highly appealing for busy parents. Lucky for us, they’re also super healthy. As Registered Dietitian Nicole Lattanzio (@infant.nutritionist) says, “They’re packed with nutrients and antioxidants.” Additionally, “apples can be a wonderful food for supporting gut health with their fiber types (insoluble and soluble).” (Here’s why fiber is so important!) Plus, they have a high water content, which helps with hydration.
How to Serve Apples, By Age
Apples are hard and crunchy, which makes them a common choking hazard, Lattanzio reminds us. As such, it’s key to modify how you serve them, depending on the feeding stage and age of your kiddos. (Psst: Here's how to know your child may be ready for solids.) She has some great suggestions:
- Peeled, chopped, and cooked until soft
- Shredded raw apple
- Paper-thin slices of raw apple
- Matchstick pieces of apple
- Note: You can work towards offering a whole apple around 2–3 years old.
Apples can have a fairly neutral flavor, Lattanzio says, “Which allows for a range of spices to be added!” Some favorites include cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin spice, clove, cardamom, and ginger. Lattanzio suggests adding these when making stewed, puréed, or mashed apples. For older kiddos who are able to eat slices, “Dips can make apples even more fun.” Some ideas include yogurt (add in peanut butter, cinnamon, berries), dessert hummus, nut butters, and cream cheese.
Puréed, peeled, roasted, or raw—apples are always a good idea!