You know how important fermented foods are to health – yours and your children’s. Picky eaters aren’t always eager to try new foods, though. Especially ones that have a distinct odor or flavor that isn’t like anything they’ve had before. If you want your kids to eat fermented foods, this list can help. The kid-tested treats listed here are favorites for all ages, and their bright colors, familiar flavors, and versatility help make them a strong foundation for any healthy diet.
Delicious on its own, kombucha can be combined with gelatin to make gummy treats and candies, made into ice creams or shave ices, and flavored with any number of ingredients. If your little ones are looking for candy, try giving them homemade fermented kombucha sweets instead.
As part of a healthy breakfast, you can serve kefir to most kids without a sniffle of complaint. Flavor it with their favorite fruits, and you’ve served a treat that’s sure to please. It also makes great frozen yogurt.
Sweeter than its milk cousin, water kefir is a tasty beverage for most kids. Like kombucha, you can combine it with any number of flavors. If your kids are fussy about trying it, mix 1 part juice with 1 part water kefir – they won’t even notice the difference.
Who doesn’t love fresh, homemade pickles? These fermented treats are a great addition to any diet, and can be served with most meats or veggies. Let your kids dig in – true pickles are an excellent source of dietary probiotics.
If your kids love ketchup, make your own via lacto-fermentation. Skip store-bought mixes and prepare a healthy, fermented version that they’ll gleefully use and you’ll be happy to serve.
Easy to sneak into any number of recipes, fermented ginger has a slightly sweet, but strong flavor. Many kids love ginger, but some aren’t crazy about it. Give it a try – you’ll never know if your kids like it until they’ve tasted it.
Old-fashioned Root Beer
This year, switch out unhealthy sodas for homemade alternatives. Root beer is a great starter soda – easy to make, loaded with healthy ingredients, and fermented beautifully, it’s a childhood favorite that tops store-bought versions while delivering a nutritious punch.
Not to be confused with kefir, most kids love homemade yogurt. This fermented food is packed with probiotics and easily flavored with everything from chocolate to berries. Get your kids involved in the culturing process, and they’ll be even more eager to try it.
Grass-fed, Raw Cheese
Yup. Cheese is a fermented food. Lacto-fermented. And what kid doesn’t love cheese? Pizzas, mac ‘n’ cheese, cheeseburgers…the options are endless. Just make sure that you serve raw cheese from grass-fed animals, so that your little ones get the best nutritional benefits from this childhood favorite.
Homemade Fermented Relish
Hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, tuna salad, and tons of other summer staples are topped or mixed with relish. You can sneak your kids fermented foods by using homemade fermented relish for favorite family recipes. It tastes better and is better for them.
Fermented Ranch Dressing
Love ranch dressing? Most kids do, too. Fermented ranch dressing is a delightful and creamy twist on the norm that’s fairly easy to make. Serve in place of other salad dressings, or as a side for wings, carrot sticks, or celery sticks.
Fermented Black Bean Dip
If your family loves black beans, try fermenting them and making a dip. You’d be surprised how delicious fermented beans can be. Added plus: you can bring a black bean dip to pot lucks and watch friends and loved ones eat a little healthier for a change.
Purple sauerkraut is sweeter than regular sauerkraut, and can be further sweetened by adding shredded carrots during the fermentation process. Kids who don’t like sour foods may still enjoy this twist on an old classic.
A German classic, kids who love sour foods will happily devour sauerkraut. The health benefits of homemade kraut are numerous, and you can serve it as a side or even use it as a base for a soup, or top burgers with it. Make sure to keep this dietary staple handy – it’s an excellent starter fermented food for kids.
Switch out sandwich bread for sourdough in your kids’ lunches, make mini pizzas with it, or serve sourdough rolls at dinner. This baked treat is one most kids love – they’ll never realize that it’s a fermented food unless you tell them.
If your little ones have a sweet tooth, start here. Cherry cider can often be found locally, is a great summer treat, and goes over well with most children thanks to its high natural sugar content.
The perfect autumn beverage, apple cider is a favorite among kids – even ones who don’t like apple juice. Serve with a cinnamon stick, warm, on a chilly evening or cold on a warm fall day. This seasonal beverage will keep your kids begging for more.
Lacto-fermented Fruit Juices
Lacto-fermentation is a great way to make homemade sodas without chemicals, flavorings, or coloring agents. Kids love the fizzy feeling, and the taste is fresh and sweet, like they expect in a soda. If your family has a pop habit, kick it with the homemade variety.
Fermented Carrots (aka Dilly Carrots)
Fermented carrots, made with dill in the fermentation process, offer a semi-sweet, crunchy treat for all ages. Serve as a snack for kids who like new things, or dice into other foods for picky eaters.
Cultured Sour Cream
If your children love dairy, make cultured sour cream. This easy to prepare condiment is a kitchen staple for many families and can be used in sweet and savory preparations. It’s an effortless way to make sure your kids get more fermented products in their diet.
Fermented Watermelon Rind
Watermelon rind is a fermenter’s favorite summer treat, and can help you educate your kids about the fermentation process as a whole. Get them involved in fermenting the rind of their watermelon, and you’ll soon see them begging for more.
When you lacto-ferment garlic, it loses some its pungency, and becomes more kid-friendly. Use it in any recipe you wish. Even kids who despise fresh garlic may love fermented garlic for its sweeter, less potent flavor.
It’s butter. Need I say more? Most kids have no complaints about lathering butter onto veggies, breads, and nearly everything else. Use cultured butter, and rest assured that they’re getting the nutrition they need.
Lacto-fermented Citrus Drinks
Like lacto-fermented fruit juices, you can create sparkling drinks with lacto-fermented citrus beverages like lemonade and orangeade. If your kids love sparkling lemonades, these beverages provide an excellent means of increasing their nutritional intake.
Any spice lovers in your house? Although most kids shy away from spicy foods, you shouldn’t avoid serving them. Chile peppers offer quite a few health benefits. Fermented salsa is a great way to gradually introduce spicy foods into your children’s diets, and has the added benefit of being fermented.
This Korean classic intimidates many adults, but often goes over well with kids who enjoy hot and spicy foods. Try buying a homemade batch that is locally made to see if your kids like it. If they do, make your own – kimchi is easy, but the yield can be high. Don’t make a batch if you aren’t sure how it will go over.
There you have it – 26 fermented foods kids will eat without complaint. If you can think of any more, please tell us in the comments below! We’d love to know how you get your kids to eat healthier, and what their favorite fermented foods are.
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