Summertime Snacking with Salsa

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Article written by Amy Peterson (, MS, RD, Extension Educator in Polk County

Nothing says summer more than fresh salsa! Eating fruits and veggies in a variety of colors – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, white and brown make for a pretty plate and an even better palate of nutrients for good health! Cooking with your children can also help show them early on about healthy eating and they can also stay sharp using math, measuring, and reading skills by following recipes!

Fresh Salsa (Pico de Gallo)

  • 6 tomatoes, preferably Roma (or 3 large tomatoes), washed and dicedFresh Salsa
  • ½ medium onion, washed and finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 2 serrano or Jalapeno peppers, washed and finely chopped (optional)
  • 3 Tbsp fresh cilantro, washed and chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • ⅛ tsp dried oregano, finely crushed
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ avocado, washed and diced
  1. Wash hands with soap and water.
  2. Gently rub produce and fresh herbs under cold running water before cutting.
  3. Combine all of the ingredients in a glass or stainless steel bowl.
  4. Serve immediately, or refrigerate and serve within 4 or 5 hours. Makes 8 servings (1/2 cup each). Each serving contains 42 calories, 2 g fat, 44 mg sodium, 7 g carbohydrate and 2 g fiber. Source of recipe: Delicious Heart Healthy Latino Recipes from NHLBI.

Lending a Helping Hand

Kids love to help in the kitchen! Keep these tips in mind while you prepare your Fresh Salsa!

At 2 years:

  • Hand items to adult to put away (such as after grocery shopping)
  • Place things in trash
  • Make “faces” out of pieces of fruits and vegetables
  • Rinse vegetables or fruits

At 3 years:

All that a 2-year-old can do, plus:

  • Add ingredients
  • Talk about cooking
  • Name and count foods

At 4 years:

All that a 3-year-old can do, plus:

  • Set the table
  • Help measure dry ingredients
  • Help assemble the salsa

At 5 years:

All that a 4-year-old can do, plus:

  • Measure liquids
  • Cut soft fruits and veggies with a plastic knife


  1. Summer Food, Summer Moves from the United States Department of Agriculture.
  2. Kitchen Activities for Kids from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
  3. Delicious Heart Healthy Latino Recipes: National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.