When you shop for fruit, do you usually fill your cart with the same standbys? If the answer is yes, your family could be missing out on some of the tastiest and most nutritious fruits available! Colorful, juicy tropical fruits have a natural sweet flavor that kids love.
If you haven't taken a walk on the tropical side, try these four unconventional picks.
Mangoes are loaded with vitamin C, a nutrient that helps wounds heal, promotes healthy gums and keeps your child's immune system strong. One-half cup of sliced mangoes provides more than two-thirds of the vitamin C children under 13 need per day. For an exotic afternoon snack, serve mango slices with a pinch of sea salt and a squirt of lime. Or, whip up a batch of mango ice pops. Simply puree fresh, ripe mangoes in a food processor, pour into ice cube trays, insert a wooden stick and freeze for a frosty 100-percent fruit treat.
Guavas provide fiber to help keep your child's digestive system in top shape. Just one medium guava boasts 3 grams of fiber. That's as much as you get from a half cup of raisins or a cup of apple slices with skin on. For an even bigger fiber boost, puree whole guavas with the skin on in shakes, smoothies and juices.
Did you know avocados are fruit? With heart-friendly nutrients monounsaturated fat and vitamin E, avocados are a smart pick for cardiovascular health. Try them at breakfast for a new spin on "birds in a nest." Break one whole egg into half a pitted avocado and bake for 20 minutes in a 425°F oven. Serve with a spoonful of your favorite salsa.
These pink-orange fruits provide vitamin A through an especially potent form of beta-carotene for healthy skin and eyes. In fact, the form of beta-carotene in papayas may be even easier for our bodies to use than the kind in carrots or tomatoes. Fat in a meal or snack increases the amount of beta-carotene the body absorbs, so pairing papaya with avocados and chopped fresh mint in a sweet yet savory salad is nutrition-savvy and delicious.