Last month my son turned one! His birthday was a bittersweet day for me and my husband, but it was also an exciting milestone. Our baby had transformed into a curious and active little boy, and we had survived our first year of parenthood! It definitely called for a celebration, and I took on the party planning like I was preparing for my wedding all over again. I decided that we were going to have a little man themed party full of bow ties and mustaches. I began preparing with all the fun DIY projects and a cute, little man menu full of manly treats — mini hamburgers, bow-tie pasta salad, hotdogs, and other not-so-nutritious foods. In an effort to stick to the theme and come up with a crowd-pleasing menu, though, I realized that I had neglected to put together a menu that I would actually feel good about my family and guests eating. I have spent the last year working so hard to make sure my little man’s diet is full of healthy foods, and I realized that I was about to teach him that having fun at a party involved veering away from our nutritional values. No way! I wanted to show him that healthy foods can be fun too. So I shifted gears and put together a healthy, kid-friendly party menu that still stuck to the theme. It turned out to be a hit!
Here is a list of some fun and healthy party foods that kids of all ages can enjoy:
- Homemade chicken fingers or fish sticks with dipping sauces*
- Mini sandwiches made with whole wheat bread – use cookie cutters to create fun shapes
- Mini pizzas made on whole wheat English muffins – for older kids this can be a fun party activity, just have bowls of pizza topping ready and let the kids build their own!
- Fresh veggies with dipping sauces*
- Fruit skewers
- Cheddar crackers and graham crackers packed in pre-portioned baggies as party favors
- Kale chips or apple chips
- Black bean and portabella sliders
- Frozen treats (for summer parties) – popsicles can be made easily with 100% fruit juice and fruit chunks, freeze in paper cups.
- Healthier dessert options – fruit muffins instead of cupcakes, black bean brownies, carrot cake, zucchini bread
*Some of my favorite dipping sauces are low fat ranch, salsa, guacamole, honey mustard, ketchup, hummus, bean dip, melted cheese and yogurt. Keep in mind that food combinations and sauces that may seem strange to you can be yummy to a child! Let them explore, be creative and have fun with dipping.
Birthday parties and other celebrations throughout the year are such a special time for children, and these events don’t have to center around unhealthy junk foods and sweets. Instead, with a little creativity and party planning you can put together a fun and healthy menu both children and adults will love! Happy party planning!
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We like to make smoothies or dip like this: yogurt, fresh fruits(apple, pear, strawberry, raspberry, tangerine), and fresh veggies(spinach, carrots, avocado)–puree it all together. Drink as a smoothie or thicken it a little(with yogurt or more fruit/veggies) and have them dip pita bread(cut into triangles). My kids LOVE it both ways.
I make my own veggie fries (baked with no salt and no oil). It is easy for Whitney to hold and feed herself.
My mom is a vegetarian so whenever we have family get-togethers, we make sure there are meatless snacks that are healthy and tasty to share.
For a game at a party or just to get kids to eat their fruits & veggies, blindfold a child and put a small piece of fruit or veggie in their mouth and have them guess what it is. They can get hints from other players. See who can guess them all right. Also I cut fruit in slices then use cookie cutters to make fun shapes. There’s never any left. And, A spoon full of peanutbutter is a fun and healthy snack for anyone. My mom used to give us this all the time when we were kids.
I make all sour cream type dips using greek yogurt. It tastes great and adds protein to the mix. I even make a “ranch dressing” using ranch dip seasoning, greek yogurt and some milk.
I like to take a pineapple and take out the inside then use assorted other fruit and make an edible center piece.
i like to use hollowed out bell peppers as bowls: pour a little ranch in the bottom and put in some carrot and celery sticks. easy to carry around while mingling.
I like to put out fruit and veggie buffet style bars with different dips this way my picky eaters can eat thier favorites and i dont have to worry about little variety or unhealthy snacks
LyzaJo Jorgensen says:
For cool slushies, simply blend peeled and chopped fruit like watermelon or mango with ice to make the most refreshing and colourful party drink.
To make a creamy smoothie, blend fresh berries, banana or mango with reduced fat milk and flavoured yoghurt. Little ‘princess’ or ‘fairy’ girls prefer delicate-pink strawberry smoothies at their parties. Whilst busy ‘superhero’ or ‘pirate’ boys like energizing banana and honey smoothies with a dash of milo.
Nourishing Party Nibbles
Low fat vegetable sticks like crisp celery and carrot served with an avocado dip (simply blend mashed avocado with lime juice) or a ready- made reduced fat dip make the best nibbles instead of fat-loaded crisps and snack foods.
Team a nutritious butter bean dip with raw vegetables including button mushrooms and halved cherry tomatoes. Veges with butter bean dip.
Alternatively, make a batch of Avocado rice paper rolls. These delicious crunchy rolls can be easily made a few hours ahead of serving and stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
Sweet Fruit Party Treats
Bursting with natural sweetness, colour and goodness, fresh fruit is the healthiest party food for kids. The important point is to make the fruit look appealing to kids. As it’s a time for celebration, the addition of a little chocolate or eye-catching topping adds a ‘special’ touch to the occasion and enhances its appeal.
Try these super-easy fresh fruit birthday treat ideas;
Skewer large strawberries onto paddle-pop sticks and dip the tip into melted chocolate. Alternatively, lightly drizzle strawberries with melted chocolate (a mixture of white and milk chocolate stripes looks fabulous). Chocolate melts are available in supermarkets and can be easily melted in the microwave ready for drizzling.
Fresh fruit kebabs drizzled with chocolate
Thread wedges of peeled and chopped kiwifruit, melon and pineapple onto paddle-pop sticks and lightly drizzle with melted chocolate.
Fresh fruit jellies
Add fresh fruits like seedless grapes to jellies. Include a marshmallow as an additional treat. Top with halved strawberry to serve.
Strawberry Smoothie Pops
Terrific for a summer birthday party, the Strawberry smoothie pops can be made in advance using fresh hulled strawberries and yoghurt. Store them in the freezer until ready to serve.
Colourful fresh fruit platter
Kids prefer their fruit cut and ready eat. Arrange a colourful selection of fruit on a large platter for a kids’ party at any age. Add a Caramel dip for older children to dunk the fruit.
The following fruits are perfect for platters;
• Watermelon and rockmelon wedges
• Peeled pineapple wedges
• Whole hulled strawberries
• Small bunches of seedless grapes
• Cherries (for older children)
• Gold and yellow kiwifruit wedges
• Medjool dates (remove seeds for young children)
Berry yoghurt sundaes
Make the delicious Berry yoghurt sundae treats with fresh berries and yoghurt in small plastic disposable cups – they’re particularly appealing to little princesses!
Cool Party Choices
Finger sandwiches are the perfect party food for kids of all ages; simple to make and easy for kids to eat. Include a fresh vegetable or use nutritious avocado in the filling and use wholegrain or wholemeal bread.
Try these simple sandwich filling combinations;
• Lettuce and cheese slices
• Ham, tomato and cheese
• Avocado and shaved ham
Make pinwheel sandwiches using ready-made crepes or tortilla bread (both available from supermarkets). Spread the crepes or tortilla breads with mashed avocado (mashed with a drizzle of lemon or lime juice) and reduced fat spreadable cream cheese. Roll up and cut into thick slices, secure with a halved cherry tomato and a cocktail fork and serve.
Far healthier than sausage rolls or party pies, make little Corn, carrot and chicken rissoles. They can be made up to a day in advance and stored in the fridge. Loaded with kernels cut from the sweet corn cob, they’re terrific served cold. Older children like the rissoles served with sweet chilli sauce for dipping.
Warm Vege Choices
Freshly-baked pizzas with vegetables or pineapple in the topping is always a popular party foods for boys and girls of all ages.
For mini pizzas, use round or shaped cutters to cut shapes into ready-made pizza bases. Girls like heart-shaped pizzas while boys often go for star-shaped ones. Use fresh pineapple, halved cherry tomatoes, sliced button mushrooms with diced lean bacon and reduced fat cheese like grated mozzarella for the topping.
Colourful squares of Sweet potato tortilla are also a good choice for parties as they are easy to pick up and eat.
Boys in particular enjoy a barbecued or grilled chipolata sausage on a small wholemeal roll. Add a small leaf of butter lettuce and a spread of mashed avocado to the roll to make it more nourishing.
Kids love to eat little cupcakes. They look terrific arranged on a cake stand and they’re the ideal size for kids to pick up with their hands which minimizes the need for plates and spoons
Whip up a batch of Banana cupcakes or use freshly-grated carrot to make little carrot cupcakes. If you prefer to use a packet cupcake mixture, add a few handfuls of fresh blueberries to a basic vanilla cupcake recipe.
Transform cupcakes by topping with reduced fat cream cheese icing and use colourful fresh fruits for decoration. If you’re making the cakes in advance, decorate the cakes with the fruit just before serving.
For dynamic little boys, use blueberries, whole cherries and seedless grapes, and for little girls use halved strawberries to make appealing strawberry-winged butterfly cakes.
We love to prepare and consume chips and homemade pico de gallo.