Where I live, peaches appearing at our local market is one of the surest signs that summer is in full swing. These soft-fleshed fuzzy and oh-so juicy fruits have a strong flavor (and texture) that is among my favorite fruits but can take some time to get used to (especially for little ones who have texture sensitivities). But introducing peaches early, often, and in different forms can help your kids learn to love them too.
If it's not peach season (or fresh peaches are simply unavailable or prohibitively expensive) don't worry! Canned and frozen peaches are great alternatives. With that said, canned peaches are often packed in sugar syrups, so chose those canned in water whenever possible. The peaches themselves are sweet enough!
Below are 25 (ish) healthy lunch and dinner ideas for you and your kids.
Why Are Peaches Healthy?
A single average peach 🍑 (~150 g) contains just 60 calories, is very low in fat (<0.5 g), contains only naturally occurring sugars (12 g), and has just over 2 g of both soluble and insoluble fiber. They’re also packed with multivitamins, containing A, C, E, K and six of the B-complex vitamins and are rich in Potassium. With all this, a peach a day can help support your immune system, increase energy levels, promote heart health, and improve your complexion.
How to Introduce Peaches to Babies
Peaches can be introduced to babies as soon as they begin starting solid foods, generally around 6 months of age (caveat: the peaches should be very ripe). Peaches are not a common allergen, so parents can introduce them with little fear. And since any (mostly mild) reaction that might be experienced is usually due to the skin, cooking, peeling, or using canned peaches can help reduce or even illuminate the possibility of a reaction.
Between 6 and 9 months of age, one of the easiest ways to introduce peaches to babies (especially if you are following baby-led feeding) is to simply cut a very ripe peach in half. (Get ready for some delicious juicy mess! Prepare by eating outside, shirtless, or have a long-sleeve bib on hand to protect that cute shirt!)
Leaving the skin on can help make the fruit easier to hold on to. If you prefer to remove the skin, simply roll the peach in something to help give a little grip: shredded coconut, finely ground-up nuts or seeds, or smashed cereal (think the dust of Cheerios left behind in the bag).
If the idea of your babe sucking on an entire peach half simply makes you too nervous, smash or puree the peach and give it as is or mix into oatmeal, porridge, or plain yogurt (if baby is already eating it)!
How to Serve Peaches to Toddlers
As baby grows, you can offer peach slices (keeping in mind the same ideas for coating the spears to make them easier to hold). By 18 months, your little one can be given a whole (ripe) peach and carefully watched as they dig in and you can begin exploring with some great recipes that use peaches! Toddlers can also have any of the recipes below, don't hold back! As with all foods, your kids need practice eating them, so try, try, and try again.
How Can I Use Peaches to Make an Easy Breakfast for Kids?
Although it's unfair to consider this a "recipe", simply slice peaches (add with other fruit, if you like) and top with some lightly sweetened whipped cream, yogurt, or granola.
This version of Peach Coffee Cake is an excellent way to show-off the flavor of fresh peaches. For older toddlers and younger kids, pair a small slice with some whole fat yogurt, cottage cheese, or other protein.
You could instead opt for these Peaches & Cream Muffins, which will make an easy breakfast for kids and parents alike. As a bonus, they freeze well and have options for additional protein and making them gluten-free. Sweet!
Settle your peach-and-cream craving with these Peaches & Cream Scones, which can be prepped the night before and turned into an easy warm healthy(ish) breakfast for the whole family the next morning with almost no effort.
Cookies for breakfast? Sure ... go ahead (is a muffin really all that much different than a cookie anyway?) These Oatmeal Peach Breakfast Cookies can similarly be made in advance, making them an easy breakfast idea for kids and busy school mornings. (The author says they actually get better after sitting in the fridge ... and they can even be frozen!)
Similarly, Baked Oatmeal (this version with cinnamon, almonds, and peaches) can be made ahead of time (or over the weekend when you have more available cooking time) and reheated for busy school mornings.
This Peach Tart is likely meant to be served for dessert, but every now and again we're giving you permission to consider this an equally viable breakfast
Easy School Lunch Idea Recipes
As with breakfast, simply slice peaches and send them in the lunchbox for an easy kids' lunch idea! No prep or planning needed.
Make these Peach Cobbler Pancakes for a fun school lunchbox treat. We recommend keeping the pancakes separate from the peach topping (we'd serve it in a smaller separate container) to keep the pancakes from getting soggy during morning activities.
Quinoa makes a really versatile base for a combination of easy (and healthy) kids' lunchbox ideas (which is great for kids who just aren't that into sandwiches). This version uses diced peaches, but could easily be swapped with other fruits and veggies that your kids know and love.
Add thinly sliced peaches to colorful veggie roll-ups. There really isn't a need for a recipe here, but we like how this one for Rainbow Veggie Pinwheels uses all the colors of the rainbow. Substitute peaches for the yellow peppers for a little extra sweetness! If your kids aren't fans of cream cheese, use hummus, mayo, or ranch dressing instead.
For the slightly older kiddos in your life (or for you!) we cannot recommend highly enough this grilled peach, prosciutto, and mozzarella sandwich on a French loaf or fresh sourdough. YUM!
Lunch Ideas For Picky Eaters (Who Don't Like Peaches)
First, if your kids don't like [insert FOOD here] I encourage you to adapt the language of YET - you don't like it yet. Continue to use non-pressuring language (so that your little ones know that you are not going to force them into an uncomfortable situation), but add in the word yet whenever you can. "I know you don't like this yet, but I want to help you practice." ... "I know this isn't your favorite, yet, so you don't have to eat it if you don't want to." ... "We won't put this in your lunch yet, but let's still serve it with dinner for those who want to eat it."
You get the picture.
Once they know they won't have to eat that peach (for example), your kids might be more willing to talk about why they don't like peaches. And once you understand the roots of your child's picky, it's easier to develop strategies to help them overcome it. Is it the skin that they avoid? Try serving peaches with the skin removed (lots of people don't like that fuzz ... and that's okay)! Is it the super soft texture that turns them off? Try serving when the peach is a little more firm (the flavor also won't be as strong). Is it just the flavor they don't like? Try introducing little bits at a time. Again, what's most critical is understanding the roots of their picky eating to you can help develop strategies to practice. Because they don't like it ... yet.
So how can you serve a child peaches who doesn't like peaches (... yet)?
Start by just letting your child observe, touch, and smell the peach (in any form). . Let them explore with their hands, eyes, and noses. Let them feel, push, poke. Take out the pit and let them hold it. As them to smell (maybe they get a little closer next time). Compare the smell to a fruit they already like. These are all critical exposures and, especially for a child who is reluctant (or even scared) to try a new food these exposures should all be viewed as wins!
Licking is Acceptable
Encourage a reluctant taster to - eventually - just lick the peach. (or apple or broccoli or pepper or salmon or). Seriously! This is a big step and one that should not be skipped for really picky eaters. Licking is the next step (and one step closer to actually consumption!)
Combine with Other Foods
Add a little bit of pureed peach to a familiar food like yogurt, muffins, or oatmeal. It doesn't have to be a lot, but just enough to give your kids confidence that they can eat peach without dying. You could try peach jam (or mix a little peach jam with their favorite flavor). Try using peach slices instead of spoons with a bowl of whipped cream (this way they have to at least put the peach in their mouth to eat the cream. Actually, this might be the best idea yet!)
I'm not an advocate for hiding the food, so be honest and don't take this step until they're ready.
SIDE NOTE: If you do have to hide the peach one or two times initially, I get it. Once your kids are familiar with (and like) the food you've selected to make them eat peaches you should tell them that peaches are inside. But let's be honest: We're all just doing our best ... and sometimes little white lies about there being some peach puree in your favorite muffins are necessary to make it though parenting a picky eater. Or any eater for that matter.
Ask for Their Input
Ask your kids how they would like to eat a peach. THEN.MAKE.THAT. Let them dream of peach pies or peach crumbles or peach crumble pies. You might have peach upside down cakes, peach crisps, and peach cobblers coming out of your ears, but that's ok. Your once picky eater is now eating peaches (that "yet" has moved on to another food!) and you can now begin to expand the places in your meals where peaches make an appearance.
Well done you 🍑 ❤️ !
Kid-Friendly Recipes for the Whole Family
This is the second most simple recipe among our list (after slice a peach and eat it). it requires no cooking, a handful of ingredients, and comes together in under 15 minutes. Peach Caprese is a glorious way to prepare fresh ripe peaches (this version has added corn fritters to the mix). Serve with fish, a simple grilled steak, BBQ chicken or Tofu, or as one of many veggie sides. (If you're feeling especially brave - or have the time - you could also make your own Bourbon Peach BBQ Sauce!)
This tomato, peach, mint stack is also super simplistic, but, personally, I think lacks some depth. A good balsamic reduction and some finishing salt help round out the flavor.
Add peaches to your tacos! In this recipe, peaches pair especially well with pork. If you're not into the other white meat, substitute firm tofu or vegetarian or vegan crumbles, or beans! Black beans would work especially well. Tacos make great easy, kid-friendly meals because they can be customized without requiring extra cooking. Everyone in the family can eat the same meal, but it can be made to suit individual tastes.
Peaches also make a nice addition to summer salsas. For something like this, I find it best to dice the peaches and pair it with something that has a little crunch. It makes for a more interesting salsa. You can serve with simple tortilla chips (lime flavored would be great!) or serve on top of grilled fish for a refreshing summer meal. This recipe for Caribbean jerk chicken bowls with peach avocado salsa is worth trying. Like tacos, bowls are super kid-friendly meals because you can put out toppings and let kids prepare their own flavor combos.
This linguini has you combine bacon with gorgonzola and peaches. These flavors may be a little more grown-up than most kids palette's can handle, but if you subbed in a more subtle cheese (or even went all the way down the flavor scale to mozzarella) I bet you would win some kid hearts too.
Didn't see something that piqued your interest? We have a lot more recipes pinned over here for you! And if you're worried that none of these are going to appeal to your family ... don't give up yet :)