Healthy Parties - Part One: Hosting
A very common question I am asked is how to manage staying healthy at a party. Hosting parents want their kid and their guests to enjoy themselves, and participants want to have a good time. If your parties have traditionally been full of food colouring and sugar, but you want to keep your own kids healthy, the good news is that enjoying a party is actually not dependent on junk food, lollies and cakes! It is easy to serve only healthy food at a party, AND get good feedback from your child and your guests.
Here are 3 ways you can keep the fun of a party, without junk food on the menu.
make it colourful…naturally
A colourful array of food can look pretty, be easy to create and is enticing to eat. Use different coloured fruits, vegetables and “real” food to make your spread.
Start with noting down the colours you want. If your child is old enough to be interested in colours, get them to help you plan and shop.
Red; strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes, cherries (pitted is best for littlies),
Pink; watermelon, smoked salmon (!), beetroot dip.
Orange; carrots, orange capsicum, mandarin, orange, peaches, pumpkin scones, rockmelon
Yellow; yellow capsicum, nectarines, corn on the cob, bananas, cheese slices
Green; green grapes (cut for the youngest party goers), Granny Smith apples, cucumber, broccoli florets, guacamole, celery, kiwifruit, basil, pea shoots, honeydew melon
Purple; purple grapes, purple carrots, blueberry smoothies, passionfruit (until you cut them open of course)
white; cauliflower, mushrooms (raw), pickled onions (does anyone still eat these?), cream cheese dip, yoghurt dips or popsicles.
Brown; meatballs, sausages (best quality), chocolate bliss balls
This list is far from exhaustive! Get creative for your own party. Visit a fruit/vegetable market and see what’s on offer, flick through some paper or online cookbooks or jump on social media for more ideas.
keep it bite-sized
Take a recipe that you already know your child enjoys, and turn it bite-sized. This shouldn’t be too difficult as many parents are already in the habit of making bite-sized food for their babies and toddlers.
Savoury; meatballs, falafel balls, mini sandwiches, zucchini slice, frittata, quiche (if you like the extra effort and expense of making/purchasing pastry), chicken bites, savoury pancakes or mini muffins. Dips and vegie sticks (cut in a way that suits the age of your children), vegie circles.
Sweet; bliss balls, mini muffins, mini scones, fruit.
The under 5’s have a lot to learn about the world and they can get really excited about things that us adults have lost interest in…until we see the excitement in our children’s eyes! It doesn’t have to be absolutely correct (unless your little one knows the difference between 2D and 3D shapes!) and can look really good.
Circles/balls; sliced cucumber, carrot, radish, tomato, quiche, mini muffins, scones, meatballs, pancakes, falafel balls.
Square; zucchini slice,
Tree-shaped; broccoli, cauliflower
Any shape that is a favourite for your child. There are cookie cutters in so many shapes now! They don’t just work with cookies though. Why not use foods such zucchini slice, cheese, sandwiches, watermelon, rockmelon, honeydew melon.
Make savoury skewers with meat or just vegetables. Or make sweet skewers with fruit of any shapes.
These lists are far from exhaustive, so use your imagination, play with the menu with your own child in mind and have fun with it! Be aware of any food allergies, dietary preferences or intolerances, plus the age of your party-goer so that you can cater accordingly, and ensure everyone can share the food comfortably. Keep it as simple or as extravagant as you have the time/money/patience for.
With any luck, your friend’s kids will go home happy and satisfied and your birthday kid will be thrilled to have had such a great party. Even better is that you will hopefully avoid the post-junk-food-party sore tummies, vomits, tantrums and bad moods.