Parents who are looking for healthy food  ideas for kids’ parties can have a difficult time seeing past the mountain of  processed foods laden with refined sugar, artificial colours, e-numbers and chemicals, that sadly seem synonymous with kids’ parties these days!

I’m sure many of you have experienced the post-party melt down. They run around like a lunatic at the party then come home with a huge sugar (and processed food) hangover and it’s  not pretty!

It was my son’s birthday party a few weeks back.

It got me thinking.

Knowing all that I do, it didn’t feel right for me to serve those usual suspects up to our little party guests.

But kids expect party food at a party don’t they?

Surely they will screw up their noses if it’s all too ‘healthy’?

Of course they want party and celebration food. I’m certainly not suggesting kale smoothies all round … But why does the party food have to be the crappiest stuff possible for their precious little growing bodies? That’s a cultural norm we’ve all bought into and the big food companies love to further perpetuate this belief. I promise there are plenty of delicious, fun and nourishing party foods that can be served up, that the kids will love. Highly processed, fake ‘foods’ aren’t the only foods that fit the term ‘party food’.

Here are my tips for a healthier and happier party for your little peeps plus oodles of food ideas to get you started  …

1 – Allocate the party time between meals

You can make it between meal times so they don’t arrive super hungry and the food isn’t the main focus. You can have some sandwiches available for those who arrive hungry and then you don’t need to put out the snacks until you are ready for them to dig in.
If the party does happen over a meal time, give them a proper meal that will fill them up. My son’s party was outdoors and we bbq’d a whole bunch of delicious, high quality sausages from our local butcher and stuck them in some sourdough buns from our local bakery and served these to both kids and parents. Everyone devoured them and some kids came back for seconds. This filled them up so they didn’t need to hover over the table for snacks. I also had loads of fruit sticks and big bowls of popcorn out for those wanting to snack.

2 – Choose a location that keeps them busy and active.

We went for the  pool party option (what else do you do in Singapore?).
The kids spent the whole two hours swimming and playing with the pool toys. They barely noticed the food table. They were too busy having fun in the pool.

If we keep kids busy they don’t need to hang out at the table for a food overdose.
Any party that involves activity and movement is always going to be a winner as it provides exercise, wears them out and keeps then busy.

Some simple ideas to get them moving and having fun.:

  • Mini sports
  • outdoor playground/park
  • adventure park
  • pool party
  • yoga
  • dancing
  • indoor rock climbing
  • pool party
  • skating
  • bowling
  • mini golf
  • treasure hunts etc.

There are also plenty of activities that require concentration and are brilliant at keeping their minds and hands busy and the focus off the (junk) food.

  • craft skills
  • painting
  • flower arranging
  • DIY essential-oil potion making
  • weaving
  • bead making
  • Fimo clay modelling
  • drawing class
  •  lego design & construction
  • detective party solving the mystery

Or Maybe Try a Different Angle?

Another idea where the focus is on food but in a slightly different way… is a cooking party. The kids can prepare the food (pizza +simple salad + garlic bread or baking cookies and rolling bliss balls or even as simple as making beautiful food art fruit creations ). Then finally at the end they get to devour their creations … make sure to keep it simple and have everything prepared and ready to go in advance. Safety is also an important consideration here.

3 – Choose delicious and nutritious food and present it in a fun way.

I’m not  suggesting a total ban on sugar, but it is possible to serve nutritious foods that are sweet but also full of other goodness. I also believe if you are going to make something sweet, go for quality ingredients and make it a feature such as a beautiful home baked cake or sweet treat rather than the pre-packaged ones full of damaging ingredients.

Presentation: remember presentation can be the difference between the food being devoured or left untouched . One quick search into pinterest for ‘healthy party for kids’ and you will be bombarded with ideas for cute presentation and a never ending supply of ideas.

Here are some ‘party food’ ideas to get you started.

Savoury

+ Good quality sausages (preservative free from a good butcher)  in a sourdough bun.

+ Popcorn with sea salt

+ Kale chips with a little sea salt (I promise when made properly they are delicious). My free ebook (see bottom of post) has a recipe for these or just google it. 

+ Home made Potato wedges. Just roast some potato and some sweet potatos in wedge shapes. They work best if parboiled in advance then drizzle some oil over and roast. Sprinkle with little sea salt at end. 

+ Homemade sausage rolls are very quick to make. You can simply take the sausage meat out of some quality (preservative free) sausages from the butchers and place them along one side of a rectangular sheet of puff pastry, roll the pastry around the meat, brush with egg wash,  and then cut into bite sizes and bake for 15-20 mins in a moderate oven (200′ C) or until golden and cooked through.

+ Mini meatballs on a little stick are fun and easy to dip into sauce. Can add some cucumber or cheese cubes to the kebab stick.

+ Sandwiches ( for little ones cut them with cookie cutters for extra fun appeal). Filling ideas :  cheese, chicken + mayo, avocado + tomato, egg, cucumber, cheese + shredded carrot, vegemite, nut butter (if no allergies) + banana .

+ Mini pizzas – use small flat bread/pitas and top with tomato paste, cheese, pineapple, mushrooms and red peppers, nitrate free ham or shredded chicken. I have found simple is always best when catering to variety of taste buds!

+ Homemade chicken or fish nuggets – simply coat small chunks of fresh chicken or white fish in one coat of plain flour, one coat of egg wash and one coat of breadcrumbs then drizzle over a little oil and bake in moderate oven until golden and cooked inside … the cooking time will depend on size of meat chunks, so keep an eye on them.

Sweet
+ Bliss balls (Nut free if there are any allergies) – pop them on a lollipop stick for extra appeal!  (google or search on pinterest and you will have a million recipes or try my one here)

+ Fruit skewers – always a favourite! Chop some fruit or scoop fruit using melon baller and slide onto sticks. In very hot climates you can freeze watermelon, rockmelon, strawberries, grapes & pineapple on sticks and they are beautifully refreshing.

+ Fruit Salad inside a Watermelon shark. Sounds Fancy but just google ‘watermelon carving’ or ‘Watermelon shark’  and you will have ideas and instructions galore and they really aren’t hard to do I promise. They do entice the kids over to the fruit area all the more. Have little party cups ready for them to scoop their fruit into.  

+ Frozen Popsicles (Ice -blocks) – I whizzed up a huge batch of delicious home-made ice popsicles {ice blocks}  that were made with fresh fruit blended and poured into ice-block moulds with a stick.

I blended:

  • pineapple + watermelon + orange
  • banana + raw cacao powder (for a chocolate flavour),
  • peaches + cream,
  • lemon + pineapple + mint,
  • lychee +  strawberry
  • creamy coconut milk + crushed fresh berries

{Much to my disappointment my freezer decided to malfunction that day so they were all soggy and I couldn’t serve them in the end, but my kids and everyone who visited my house enjoyed them for weeks afterwards}

+ Jelly made with blended smoothie or fresh juice and good quality gelatine. Kids love these and they are actually very beneficial to children’s digestive health. 

+ Gummy square lollies –  If you increase the amount of gelatine in the jelly you can set it into small cute shaped silicone ice moulds and make mini gummy lollies that  benefit the gut health. (I love and use this simple recipe) 

+ Homemade cookies cut into fun shapes or big sized Anzac cookies.

+ Popcorn with a tiny drizzle of rice syrup.

++++++++++++++++++++++++

So there you have just a few simple food ideas that are fun, delicious and nourishing. This isn’t an extensive list as there are so many more options, but this is a good starting base.

Keep it simple. Don’t over complicate it. A couple of sweet and a couple of savoury then take the focus off the food and get them dancing, singing, playing, outdoors being active or indoors being creative with their minds and hands.

I took “keeping it simple” to the next level for my son’s party. Being 5 months pregnant with number 4, I admit I wasn’t at my most creative or energised so wanted to keep things as simple as possible!! But my son proudly told me one of his little party guests said it was the best party he had ever been to!  The verdict is in – Kids like simple fun…

Most of this food can be made in advance and popped in freezer or made the day before and kept in the fridge ready to reheat, so you aren’t rushing crazily on the day. { Unless, like me, your fridge and freezer decide to die the week of the party and the new one only gets delivered few hours before the party…}

It might take a little more time to plan and prepare theses foods than buying huge bags of crisps and lollies, but I whole heartedly believe it is worth it!

One last tip to avoid the sugar overload at the parties your children attend. 

You definitely don’t want your kids to feel like the health nerd who isn’t allowed any of the food at the parties they attend. Nor would I want my kids to stop being invited to parties because the parents think I wouldn’t approve ( I’m not here to preach or judge!). Kids are kids and when it is right in front of them they will often eat it!  I talk to my kids a lot about the food choices we make and why we make those choices but they still indulge in these foods on certain occasions. I’m passionate but definitely not a purist.

I just make sure they eat before they go to a party. I usually make sure they’ve had a meal of some kind but preferably one that has some healthy fats and proteins so they feel fully satisfied, are already full and although they still eat the party food, this is usually enough to prevent a sugar and junk overload.

 

Happy partying,

Elisha x

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