6 In-Season Sides That Kids Will Love

By: Emily Lee

Buying and preparing in-season produce is part and parcel of maintaining a healthy diet, but it’s much easier to eat nutritiously when the whole family is on board. In a world full of boxed mac and cheese and freezer-friendly chicken nuggets, we can understand why packaged or prepared foods are a reliable fallback.

We’re hopeful that the right seasonings and preparation methods can turn arugula, carrots, spinach and more into healthy homemade dishes for the whole family to enjoy. Here are six recipes that incorporate spring produce in ways that will appeal to even the pickiest eaters.


Getting kids to eat their greens can be the biggest hurdle of the day, but this Quinoa Salad with Apricots, Basil and Pistachios makes crisp, peppery arugula appetizing for younger palates. Combine the seasonal green with fluffy quinoa, sweet dried apricots and dollops of tangy goat cheese and you’ll hear zero protests when the dish hits the table.



Green bites, pieces of chicken and a green dip on a green plate

©Food Stylist: Anne Disrude Props: Victoria Petro Conroy

Food Stylist: Anne Disrude Props: Victoria Petro Conroy


This creamy Avocado Hummus will come in handy when you’re looking for new ways to add a touch of green to your child’s lunchbox or dinner plate. Simply puree ripe avocados with hummus, lemon juice and a pinch of salt — you can even add some jalapeno to the mix if your kids are feeling particularly adventurous — and serve the dip with raw veggies.

easy roasted baby carrots

Photo by: Jackie Alpers ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Jackie Alpers, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

easy roasted baby carrots


Nothing instills more fear at dinnertime than knobby carrots, flecked with dirt, looming ominously on top of the kitchen counter. If your kids turn up their noses at the sight of full-grown carrots, then try these approachable Roasted Baby Carrots seasoned with salt, pepper and herbs.


Ellie Krieger’s chunky Mango Salsa pairs well with pretty much any protein — grilled chicken, slow-cooked pork and seasoned ground beef are all excellent places to start. You can even serve it as an after-school snack with crisp tortilla chips for scooping.



Bobby Flay's Basmati Rice Pilaf with Peas

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Bobby Flay's Basmati Rice Pilaf with Peas


Soft basmati rice and tender spring peas team up to create a satisfying side dish that will go over well with kids averse to foods with firmer textures. Bobby Flay’s Basmati Rice Pilaf with Peas has just 5 grams of fat and 2 grams of sugar per serving, so you can feel good about serving this.



Photo by: Armando Rafael Moutela ©FOOD NETWORK: 2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Armando Rafael Moutela, FOOD NETWORK: 2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.


You’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone under the age of 25 who enjoys raw spinach — or any green, for that matter. Ellie turns the tender green leaves into an indulgent Creamed Spinach that’s appealing, especially for young eaters. Have no fear: Using 1-percent milk and fat-free evaporated milk helps to keep the calorie count low.

For more in-season side dishes that kids will love, check out these recipes from our friends:

Creative Culinary: Cheesy Hashbrown Waffles

Next Up

6 Ways to One-Up Side Dish Favorites with Cheese — Sensational Sides

Cheesy does it, cheese lovers. Instead of taking your favorite food by the block, use cheese to improve your favorite go-to side dishes.

6 Memorial Day Sides That'll Get More Attention Than the Mains

Juicy charred burgers and ketchup-slathered hot dogs may drive the initial attention to your Memorial Day cookout, but these showstopping side dishes are sure to make folks stay.

6 Healthy Vegetarian-Friendly Sides You’ll Want to Dig Into This Thanksgiving

You won’t need to worry about your waistline with these healthy dishes.

Orange Delights: 6 Carrot-Centered Side Dishes

Let carrots play the star in stellar side dishes, prepared simply to enhance their sweet, earthy flavor. Here are 6 of our favorite Food Network recipes.

6 No-Fuss, Portable Sides to Bring to This Weekend's Labor Day Celebration

These are the kind of sides that get better when they sit for a little while, and are super easy to make ahead and grab right before you go to the party.

9 Easy, Kid-Tested Side Dishes for Fall

One mom shares the seasonal side dishes she relies on for family dinnertime.