Fall is a great time to eat in a seasonal and local way. It’s nice to change up your summer eating patterns and move toward fall seasonal snacking ideas that support local and regional food systems. Also, when kids are exposed to a rotation of foods, they develop broad food tastes. All around helpful for the whole family, including adults who already (hopefully) have an adventurous food palette.
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Make it Grab and Go
One of the easiest after-school snacking ideas is whole fruits and veggies. There’s minimal prep, and most kids can just grab and go. Whole fruits and veggies give you the opportunity to showcase a rotation of fall seasonal foods, whereas packaged foods don’t always give you that advantage.
The trick with whole fruits and veggies is to have them ready at a moment’s notice. Putting seasonal fruits in pretty fruit bowls (see our favorites here) helps to entice eaters.
Refrigerator pull-out trays with ready-to-go veggies also help with grabbing attention and forming good snacking habits. Kids learn to look for the newest veggie haul.
Know What Seasonal Means
Today’s grocery stores carry a lot of produce that isn’t seasonal. For example, at SMG we’re based in Southern California and U.S.-grown oranges usually aren’t available in stores here until November or December — most are from Chili, the other side of the equator where it has a different growing season. Look at the labels to determine where the product was grown, which will give you an indication of season.
When you cut down on buying fruits and veggies that are grown far away, you help support regional and local food systems and provide your diet with a food rotation.
Examples of October seasonal foods include:
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has a wonderful interactive guide to help U.S. consumers know what is likely seasonal in their area. SeasonalFoodGuide.org is another resource that gives you a list, state by state.
Your local farmers market is also telling — everything there should be local and regional, which reflects what is in season. LocalHarvest.org gives you a list of many farmers markets, as well as other local and regional farm resources if you want to buy direct — even you-pick opportunities where you can take your children to a farm to pick their own apples, persimmons, or pumpkins, for example.
For more ideas on what makes a good and a bad snack, check out our article on Quick Healthy After School Snacks.