Tired of telling your kids not to play with their food? Switch things up for a change and give them permission to play with these fun finger foods. Pizza wheels, traffic light fruit skewers, and sweet potato tater tots are just a few of the dishes with which your children can ditch their utensils and dig in. Whether you’re looking for a cute snack for your little one’s next play date or simply want to make dinner more fun, these family-friendly recipes will appease even the pickiest of appetites!
1. Sweet Potato Tater Tots
The Daily Meal delivers a kid-friendly dish that is both nutritious and delicious. Fiber-packed sweet potatoes will fill your little ones up while providing them with a tasty alternative to regular tots. Bake the sweet potatoes, peel and mash, and then roll into small balls. Dip each in flour, egg, and cracker crumbs before baking. The recipe yields 2 servings.
- 1 large sweet potato
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 10 to 15 saltine crackers, crushed
- Cooking spray
Directions: Preheat the oven to 415 degrees Fahrenheit. Prick the sweet potato several times with a fork, wrap in foil, and bake until tender. Cut the potato in half and scoop out the insides or peel all the skin off the potato. Put the peeled sweet potato in a bowl and mash well. Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of the flour into the potatoes to make them a bit firmer.
In 3 separate bowls, place the rest of the flour, the egg, and the crushed up crackers. Roll the sweet potatoes into small balls and one at a time roll in the flour, then egg, then cracker crumbs. Shape with your fingers, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, and place on the cookie sheet. Coat with cooking spray. Bake the tots for 15 minutes, flip, and bake for 3 to 5 more minutes.
2. Pizza Wheels
Very few kids can resist pizza, particularly when it’s in finger-food form. You can use homemade dough when preparing Spoon Fork Bacon’s recipe, but if you’re running short on time, we suggest using store-bought pizza dough instead. Roll out the dough, cover with marinara sauce, sprinkle with oregano, garlic, and cheese, top with pepperonis, and roll the dough into a large log. Once it’s been refrigerated for 30 minutes, you can cut the pinwheels, dredge each in cornmeal, sprinkle with more cheese, and bake. The recipe yields 16 to 20 servings.
- 1 (fresh) store-bought pizza dough or ½ recipe basic pizza dough
- ⅓ cup marinara sauce (plus more for dipping)
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ½ to ⅔ cup shredded mozzarella
- 24 to 30 thinly sliced pepperoni
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
- ½ cup yellow cornmeal (medium grind)
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to about ⅛-inch thick. Spread marinara sauce sparingly over dough and top with oregano and garlic. Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over sauce and finish by topping the dough with the pepperoni. Starting at one end, carefully roll dough into a large, tight log and place onto a cutting board, seam side down. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Remove from refrigerator and cut 1 to 1½-inch pinwheels from the log. Dredge one cut side of each pinwheel in the cornmeal until well coated and place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or using a little bit of cooking spray. Sprinkle top of each wheel with a small amount of Parmesan and bake for 16 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and serve with extra marinara sauce for dipping.
3. Baked Mozzarella Sticks
All You healthifies mozzarella sticks, creating a cheesy snack you and your kids will love. String cheese is dipped in milk, dredged in bread crumbs, and frozen for an hour before getting baked to crisp and crunchy perfection. Add another homemade touch to this dish by serving Food Network’s marinara sauce alongside the mozzarella sticks.
- ¼ cup milk
- ½ cup Italian-style bread crumbs
- 4 mozzarella string cheese sticks, halved
- ½ cup marinara sauce
Directions: Line a small baking sheet with foil and mist lightly with cooking spray. Place milk and bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Dip cheese pieces in milk, rolling to moisten completely. Dredge in bread crumbs to cover entire surface and place on baking sheet. Mist with cooking spray.
Freeze for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake mozzarella sticks until bread crumbs are browned and cheese begins to ooze, 6 to 7 minutes. Let stand 3 minutes. Microwave marinara sauce in a small bowl until warm, 20 to 30 seconds. Serve with mozzarella sticks.
4. Traffic Light Fruit Skewers with Creamy Caramel Dip
If you’ve got a little one who doesn’t like fruit, try making their snacks a tad more fun. Red, yellow, and green fruit form the traffic lights, and a creamy caramel dip adds a sweet element that will appeal to your child’s sugar cravings. Parenting’s recipe yields 8 skewers. Feel free to use your kids’ favorite fruits in place of the ones listed below.
- ¼ Galia or other green melon, seeded
- ½ large mango, peeled, or approximately 5 ounces cut mango
- 8 medium strawberries, hulled
- 8 plastic or wooden skewers
Creamy caramel dip
- ¼ cup dulce de leche
- 4 teaspoons heavy cream
Directions: Remove the rind from the melon and cut 8 cubes, each approximately 1 inch. Cut the mango into 8 smaller-size cubes. Thread one cube of melon onto each skewer, followed by a cube of mango and a strawberry. Mix together the dulce de leche and cream to make the dip, and spoon into small bowls. Serve with the fruit skewers.
5. Coconut-Crusted Chicken Fingers with Lime Sour Cream Dipping Sauce
Chicken strips are another quintessential finger food for many kids, and Today’s Parent helps make them more nutritious. Chicken is coated in coconut, baked instead of fried, and served with a tangy lime sour cream dipping sauce. The recipe yields 4 servings. Care2 notes that coconut is a good source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- ⅛ teaspoon each salt and ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- ¾ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- ½ cup low-fat sour cream
- ½ teaspoon lime zest
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut chicken into ½-inch strips. Place in a bowl and drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. In a resealable bag, place garlic powder and coconut; shake to mix well. In batches, place the chicken strips in the bag, close and shake to coat. Remove chicken from the bag and place on the baking tray.
Repeat with remaining chicken strips. Bake, turning halfway through, until chicken is golden brown and cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the sour cream, lime zest and juice, and honey. Serve chicken fingers with sauce.
6. Banana Boats
Looking for a recipe that will work for breakfast, snack time, and dessert? Food.com’s banana boats are just what you need! This recipe comes together in less than 5 minutes and encourages your kids to eat fresh fruit. They’re so simply and tasty, you just might start making them for yourself!
- 1 banana
- 1 maraschino cherry
- 1 (7-ounce) canned whipped cream
Directions: Peel banana and place it on a plate. Slice banana in half lengthwise. Spray whipped cream on the cut surface of both banana halves. Then fold banana halves together until the two strips of whipped cream touch. Be careful to not squeeze too firmly.
Add a maraschino on top. For dessert, you can sweeten it up a bit by drizzling a thin line of caramel or chocolate syrup over the whipped cream, or sprinkling chopped walnuts, baking sprinkles, shredded coconut, or other kid-friendly treats on top.