Catering for a party full of kiddies and keeping it healthy can be a tricky task, but it is doable. Keep the food fun and you can’t go wrong!
We are all guilty of leaning towards quick and easy foods when there are lots of mini mouths to feed. This last minute panic usually results in a party table full of beige foods and mountains of sugar-coated sprinkles. Bread, biscuits, cheese, and chips are the usual culprits. Sure, the kids will eat them in an instant, but they are not worth the tantrums and tears come home time.
Satisfy their tummies and save your sanity by preparing fun and healthy food for your next birthday party. Instead of hiding fruits and vegetables among other foods, make them the focus of your feast! Get creative, make them fun and the kids will soon get chomping.
Present fruit and snacks in pretty stylish packaging like the popcorn and watermelon above. The kids attack them in no time!
Before drafting up the menu for your little ones special day, consider the following points before you get cracking in the kitchen:
- What is the age range of children attending your birthday bash? Make sure you cater for the right crowd by making the food age appropriate. Younger ones tend to be easily distracted by pretty, shiny things while older kids loose their focus when their hunger comes calling. Know your ‘audience’ before nutting out a plan.
- What time of day are your guests arriving? Are you catering for lunch or mid afternoon nibbles? Take the time of day into account to suss out how the kids will be feeling when they arrive. If your planning your party to kick off at 12pm, it’s most likely the little munchkins will turn up with hungry tummies ready for food straight away.
- What ‘style’ of party feast are you preparing for? Are you opting for a sit down lunch or are you going to let them dive fingers first into the buffet? Again, think about food being in sight before it’s time to eat.
- Finally, how are you going to serve the party food? Individual lunchboxes are a great idea as they can be pre-packed with delicious goodies before everybody arrives. By having lunchboxes personalised with each child’s name the kids feel incredibly special at the party table and makes the healthy choices more appealing.
Now you have the key points covered it’s time to get cooking! Prepare and make as much food as you can the day before your party. Whether it’s mini frittatas, homemade hummus or cheeky chicken skewers; getting the fiddly stuff done in advance or when the kiddies are in bed is the ultimate time saver.
Favourite healthy party picks for the morning munchies are often frittatas, mini fruit cups (watermelon, grapes, blueberries) or fruit skewers and sushi rolls with avocado. Top tip – Cut the food to bite size pieces and serve them in small containers. You’ll be surprised how clean the kiddies can eat when everything is a manageable size.
For afternoon nibbles you can’t go wrong with crunchy veggie sticks and homemade dip, baked potato wedges and naturally popped popcorn. Top tip – Fruit, yoghurt and honey are a great addition to kids’ party menus. They are full of natural sweetness, which keeps the kids clear of craving the cakes and cookies.
To quench their thirst, forget the soft drinks filled with sugar and go the natural route too. Sparkling water with summer fruits is incredibly tasty and looks pretty too! Poured into personalised drinks bottles and served with a straw, the bubbles and blueberries are beautiful.
And finally, a large birthday cake may look the part but the sugar hit will last for hours. As a party treat bake a healthy alternative at home so you know what ingredients you’re giving to your youngsters.
Nutritionist, Masterchef contestant and wholesome loving mum Kira Westwick shares with us her recipe for healthy chocolate cupcakes, taken from her gorgeous eBook Wholesome Kids. We think they’re the perfect healthy treat for any kind of party!
2 1/2 cups of grated sweet potato
2 whole eggs, beaten
2 tsp real vanilla extract
1/2 cup maple syrup, or to taste (or rice malt)
1/2 cup of virgin coconut oil
1 heaped tsp of Aluminium free baking powder
½ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp coconut flour
200g dark organic chocolate, melted
80g Organic butter (OR for dairy free use an avocado)
1 tbsp rice malt or maple syrup, if needed to sweeten to taste
Optional peanut butter whip icing:
1 jar peanut butter or preferred nut butter
1/3 cup rice malt syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil
vanilla to taste
Preheat oven to 160C
Add vanilla, rice malt and coconut oil to a large mixing bowl over a pot of hot water and melt together. Take off the heat and add sweet potato, and eggs and mix well.
Now add the dry ingredients, combining well.
Pour the mixture into cupcake cups placed on a flat tray.
Bake for 15 minutes. Check with a skewer- unlike a cake which will come out clean, the centre should still be ever so slightly gooey so it stays moist. Remove and cool before icing.
Add the softened butter to the cooled melted chocolate and whip or beat together until fluffy- if needed place into the freezer for 5 minutes to cool then whip again to get the right texture.
Spread over the cupcakes or use a piping bag.
For last minute touches, tent cards are a fun and practical way to indicate allergy friendly foods around the party table.
Healthy food can be fun. Let the vibrant colours of fruits and vegetables shine at your party!