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Seasonal Fall Recipes to Cook with Preschoolers in ECE Programs

Oct 03, 2023    |   FallHealthy Snacks & Recipes

The Fall season brings crisp air, vibrantly colored leaves, and lots of delicious seasonal fruits and veggies– from apples and pumpkins to carrots and pears. Celebrate the season with the children in your care by using these nutritious foods in recipes that you and the children can prepare together. In this article, you’ll find a list of autumn foods as well as some healthy, easy-to-prepare recipes.

The Benefits of Cooking for ECE Programs

Cooking with young children is a fun and engaging activity that is full of opportunities for learning. By reviewing the recipe ingredients with children and pointing to the words on the ingredient packages, you’re helping them connect the ingredient names with written words. Measuring the ingredients together is a fun way for children to practice and use early math skills. Cooking becomes a sensory experience as children explore the textures of the foods and ingredients. And, when the recipe is done, children get to share a sense of accomplishment as they enjoy a tasty treat with their peers! 

Using fresh and healthy ingredients while cooking with children is a fun way to introduce new fruits and vegetables. As we cook with little ones, we can invite them to explore the vibrant colors, smell the fresh scents, and taste the unique flavors of the produce. Through these experiences, young children become interested in trying new foods, which gets them excited about healthy eating!

Seasonal Autumn Produce

According to the US Department of Agriculture, the following fruits and vegetables are in season during Fall months:


  • Cranberries
  • Grapes
  • Apples
  • Pomegranates
  • Citrus Fruits
  • Raspberries
  • Kiwis
  • Pears 


  • Peas
  • Cauliflower
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Celery
  • Artichokes
  • Carrots
  • Squash
  • Pumpkin
  • Turnips
  • Sweet Potato

Kid-Friendly Recipes with Seasonal Autumn Produce

No Bake Pumpkin Pie Pudding Cups

This simple recipe for no-bake pumpkin pie in a cup is super quick and easy to make! Because each treat is assembled in its own container, the recipe is especially good for working with larger groups of children. All you will need are a few ingredients: vanilla pudding, graham crackers, pumpkin pie mix, whipped cream, and cinnamon. You’ll also need clear plastic cups, Ziploc baggies, and spoons for each child.

Start by giving each child 2 graham crackers in a sealed zip-top plastic sandwich bag. Next, invite them to crush the graham crackers inside the bag (for this step, children can use spoons, rolling pins, or even just their hands). Then, have each child place their crushed graham cracker crumbs into the bottom of their clear cups. Finally, invite children to use their spoons to layer the pie ingredients: first scooping the vanilla pudding on top of the graham crackers, then adding pumpkin pie filling, and finally placing a scoop of whipped cream on top. The final step is to sprinkle the top of their pie cups with a small amount of cinnamon. 

Easy Spinach Smoothie

A smoothie is always a great way to introduce cooking into your classroom’s curriculum. The bright green color in this healthy smoothie comes from seasonal spinach. You’ll need just a few ingredients: a banana, milk, orange juice, frozen pineapple, and frozen spinach.
To get started, invite children to help measure out the ingredients and place them in a blender. Next, mix it all together and pour the smoothies into small glasses for everyone to enjoy

Apple & Carrot Muffins

These muffins require a few more ingredients, but the combination of oats and greek yogurt, paired with seasonal apples and carrots, produces a tasty, nutritious snack for young children. You’ll need the following items: whole wheat and plain flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon, a red apple, small carrots, greek yogurt, milk, an egg, honey (or maple syrup), and vanilla. You’ll find the ingredient measurements here.

Start by heating your oven to 350° F and preparing your ingredients. Invite children to help measure each of the items so that they are ready to be combined. In a large bowl mix together the flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Once these are combined, add the grated apple and carrot and mix again. 

In a separate bowl, place the greek yogurt, milk, egg, honey and vanilla and mix them all together. Add these ingredients to the large bowl of dry ingredients, and stir them together to combine. Invite the children to help scoop the mixture into lined muffin tins and then bake them for 20-22 minutes. Once the muffins have cooled, the little ones can dig in and enjoy the recipe they helped to make!

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