Fall is a special time of year that brings a new chill in the air, a harvest of fall fruits and vegetables, and back-to-school excitement. Set the scene for a cozy classroom party with a feast of inviting sights and delicious tastes of the season. It's easy to keep the offerings healthy and still have the kids clamoring over the choices.
Create enticing visual displays that will have children oohing and aahing over the vegetable tray. Lay egg slices on round crackers and garnish with olives, sprouts, cherry tomatoes and carrots to make faces and hair. Make a garden scene using cucumber slices as flower petals, spinach as leaves, and celery sticks as stems. Use a mixture of cream cheese and seasoning mix for an edible "glue," and provide a bowl of creamy dip for a delicious topping for the veggies. Spread nut butter - such as almond butter or sunflower seed butter - in between two wing-shaped apple slices. Lay on a tray with thin slices of carrot in between to make butterfly snacks.
Make an edible fall turkey. Cut a pear in half and lay on a tray. Add apple and orange slices around the sides for feathers, raisins for eyes near the stem of the pear, and a cashew for the turkey's nose. Create a healthy fruit salad using the fruits of the season. Cut up apples, bananas, oranges and pears and mix them together in a large bowl. Let the kids spoon into small paper cups for a delicious and nutritious treat. Try a dollop of creamy dressing on the fruit salad for a delicious snack. Older kids can appreciate the combination of tangy blue cheese dressing and sweet fruit.
Create a snack treat with ice cream cones. To cake cones, add nuts, whole-grain cereal, dried fruit and popcorn. The result is a fall-colored treat that kids can grab and go. Or make a bowl of trail mix with pumpkin seeds, almonds, raisins, cashews, sunflower seeds, shredded coconut and dried cranberries. Kids can scoop the mix in a small paper cup and eat it as they walk around the classroom. Stay away from peanuts in case some children are allergic to them.
A Little Bit of Sweet
Make tiny pumpkin pies using small, frozen tart shells. Serve low-fat whipped topping as a garnish. Cut flower or star shapes out of whole-grain bread and make adorable jelly sandwiches with low-sugar jelly. Using small cupcake tins, bake healthy muffins filled with the tastes of the season including cranberries, pumpkin and apple. Caramel apples made using a whole apple are way too big for kids and full of sugary calories. Using a melon baller, scoop balls of apple out of a whole apple. Coat with caramel and roll in unsalted crushed nuts. Add a craft stick for a kid-size healthy treat.