Cooking with Kids: Healthy Ambrosia Fruit Salad Dessert
Foodie Fun for Kids Encouraging Speech & Creating Yum! Ambrosia Fruit Salad Dessert
Ambrosia was traditionally served at Easter at my house growing up. My mother made it using a classic recipe of juicy sweet fruit and miniature marshmallows folded into a rich and creamy dressing of sour cream, whipped cream or whipped topping, and shredded coconut. Raising my children, I always try to give our food a healthier spin. We deleted the creamy dressing and in doing so we created an ambrosia salad that we enjoy not only for special holidays, but as a dessert, for breakfast or anytime. We hope you enjoy it as well.
- One 20-ounce can pineapple chunks (in juice)
- One 15-ounce can mandarin oranges
- 1-2 apples* (any kind, we used Gala)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
- One small (4-1/2ounce) bottle maraschino cherries for a cherry on top
Parent: Open can of pineapple chunks & mandarin oranges.
Kiddo: Drain juice from pineapple chunks and mandarin oranges one at a time using a kitchen strainer. Once the juice is drained, add fruits to bowl.
Parent/Kiddo: Peel and core apples(s). Slice apple into small bite size chunks.
Parent/Kiddo: Chop walnuts or use pre-chopped walnuts.
Kiddo: In a large bowl, gently combine fruits. Adding walnuts and shredded coconut flakes gently mix together until well-combined. Serve in your favorite parfait dish and a cherry on top before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator in cover container.
Making this recipe of Healthy Ambrosia Fruit Salad Dessert with your child can be easy and can provide you with many opportunities to help facilitate language. Starting with a simple recipe like this one can help you focus on the steps, language and experience rather than complicated methods and ingredients.
Before beginning the recipe, get all of your ingredients together and discuss what each ingredient is. An excellent way to work on literacy and language is to read the label of the can with your child. For example, the words of “mandarin orange” and “syrup” might appear on the can. What is syrup? What does Mandarin mean? Define these words, so your child knows and understands the ingredients they are using. Incorporate some math into the activity by asking your child to find the amount of ounces in each can.
When opening up the bag of shredded coconut, ask your child about the various attributes (color, texture, etc.). If you have a fresh coconut available, it would beneficial to your child to show them where the shredded coconut comes from. If you don’t have whole coconut available, show pictures of it online and explain to your child where coconuts grow, etc.
Focus on actions such as “open”, “mix”, “measure”, “drain”, “peel”, “core”, etc. In order to help your child learn and be able to label these actions, model language by saying “I am peeling the apple”, “Time to open the oranges”, etc. The next time you can leave the action out of the sentence and have your child fill in the word such as “The can is closed. I need the can opener to ____ the can.” As you are following the recipe, focus on each step and then ask your child to recall the last step. This will help them answer “wh” questions and improve their memory and ability to recall information.
As you are eating this Ambrosia Fruit Salad, talk about the different textures. The oranges are soft and sweet, the walnuts are crunchy and salty, the apples are juicy and crunchy, etc.
Carryover Picture Books: Read my reviews of Apples for Everyone and Eat Healthy Feel Great. Another suggestion is the End of The Rainbow Fruit Salad by Kitchen Club Kids.
Becca Eisenberg is a mother of two young children and a speech language pathologist, author and instructor. Her website, www.gravitybread.com encourages learning time during mealtime. On her website, she writes children’s book recommendations, app recommendations, as well as child friendly recipes with language tips their family.
More Salad Ideas
Want more salad ideas? Watch our video Cooking With Kids: Small Tree (Broccoli) Salad
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This post originally appeared on our March/April 2015 Magazine