Children’s party food: The healthy alternative | 5 min read

Parties are a great time for celebration, fun and laughter with family and friends. The food too can shine with fresh fruits and vegetables. Give kids colourful and healthy party food, instead of sugary ‘junk’ food that is loaded with saturated fats. These great ideas will help you to make kids’ party food healthier and by designing a child-friendly and healthy buffet, both children and parents will be happy!

What food makes for a great kids’ party? Serve fun finger-food snacks like baby carrots, chicken pieces/ nuggets, homemade sausage rolls, sushi, Vietnamese rolls, homemade salt-free popcorn, cobs of corn, salad wraps cut into small portions, tortilla/rice chips with dip, cheese, grapes, watermelon and any other fruit.

Nourishing party nibbles

Low-fat vegetable sticks like carrot served with an avocado dip (simply blend mashed avocado with lemon juice) or a ready-made reduced-fat dip make the best nibbles instead of fat-loaded crisps and snack foods. Pretzels are also a good alternative.

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 juice) and reduced fat spreadable cream cheese. Roll up and cut into thick slices, secure with a halved cherry tomato and a toothpick and serve.

Warm veggie choices

Freshly-baked pizzas with vegetables or pineapple in the topping are always 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.

Boys, in particular enjoy a grilled sausage on a small wholewheat roll. Add a small leaf of butter lettuce and a spread of mashed avocado to the roll to make it more nourishing.

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;

Choc-dipped strawberries
Skewer large strawberries onto ice cream sticks or skewers 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 fruit banana, melon and pineapple onto ice cream sticks and lightly drizzle with melted chocolate. You can also serve tiny fruit kebabs on colourful toothpicks with a low-fat vanilla yoghurt dip.

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, strawberry smoothie pops can be made in advance using fresh hulled strawberries and yoghurt. Store them in the freezer until ready to serve.

Berry yoghurt sundaes
Make delicious berry yoghurt sundae treats with fresh berries and yoghurt in small plastic disposable cups – they’re particularly appealing to little princesses!

Colourful fresh fruit platter
Kids prefer their fruit cut and ready to eat. Arrange a colourful selection of fruit on a large platter for a kids’ party at any age. Add a caramel dip or chocolate fountain for older children to dunk the fruit.

The following fruits are perfect for platters:

  • Watermelon and melon wedges
  • Peeled pineapple wedges
  • Whole hulled strawberries
  • Small bunches of seedless grapes
  • Cherries (for older children)
  • Bananas
  • Apples and pears

Healthy drinks

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. Remember the cocktail umbrellas or pirate flags!

Homemade juices are easy to prepare and water at hand is even better. Organic fruit juices are easily available from the supermarket rather than sugar filled cordials and fizzy drinks.

Birthday cupcakes

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.

Healthy options

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.

Hope you’ll win your little critics over with this fantastic selection of great-looking and tasting treats, and you’ll please the parents with healthy and nutritious catering. Win-win!

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