Your little one is about to turn another year older, and you know what that means: It’s party time! But gone are the days of hot dogs, hamburgers and a simple box cake. Thanks to platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, parents are seriously upping their kids party food game with snacks, meals and — of course — desserts that will be remembered long after the candles have been blown out.
Looking for kids birthday party food ideas that pop, but don’t require 15 types of fondant and an ice carver? We’ve rounded up 22 easy, (mostly) healthy kids birthday party food ideas guaranteed to be a hit.
Appetizers and finger foods for kids
You’ll want to set out some finger foods to have available as your guests arrive. These appetizer recipes are all simple, kid-approved and picture perfect.
1. Individual salad cups
The key to getting kids to eat anything healthy often comes down to presentation — and a tasty dip doesn’t hurt either. Little guests will love having their very own salad cup to walk around with, like this one from Fortuna’s Catering Co., and your adult guests will appreciate the healthy option. Put in some cheese sticks for added protein and customize it for your child’s party theme by putting the salad in themed or color-matched cups.
2. Mini pancake stacks
Very few kids will say no to a pancake, and these mini pancakes from Fifi Mhamad will make an adorable addition to your appetizer table. Stick to topping them with fruits, such as berries, to avoid any potential food allergy issues. Customize them by topping them with a decorative skewer that matches the party theme.
3. Unicorn Chex mix
Every kid will go nuts for unicorn Chex mix! This magical cereal mix is made with Chex, chocolate candy melts and some sprinkles, and it couldn’t be easier to make. Perfect for a unicorn or fairy party, it’s easily customizable for any theme by simply changing the color of your candy melts and the accompanying sprinkles.
4. Watermelon heart cutouts
These watermelon heart cutouts from Yes Vegan Lis are super easy and make for a seriously versatile menu option. Use cookie cutters to cut out hearts or letters spelling out the names of your littlest guests and then put on skewers. If you want to get crazy, you can add some honeydew and cantaloupe to the mix as well.
5. Colored deviled eggs
6. Fairy bread
You’d be hard-pressed to find something prettier than this fairy bread from Pass the Treats. The Australian favorite is traditionally just made with white bread, butter and sprinkles, but you can create a healthier protein-packed version for your child’s party by using cream cheese or sunbutter.
7. Fruit skewers
Another really simple and healthy option? Fruit skewers! Not only are they yummy, but they’re easy to customize. Put googly eyes on the strawberries for fun, use strawberries to create a Santa hat for a December birthday or use a cookie cutter to place a watermelon star at the top and turn them into magical fruit wands.
Fun and easy dip ideas
Whether you’re looking to go hearty or sweet, Pinterest-perfect dip ideas are a great addition to any kids party.
8. Lion dip
With a pre-made bowl of hummus (or any veggie dip) as the centerpiece, the only thing you need to do to create this healthy lion dip from Lunchbox Mini is slice up some veggies. While it’s ideal for an animal-themed party, this dip is too cute for any kids to resist.
9. Veggie train dip
10. Individual seven-layer dip cups
All of the layers, none of the double dipping. This yummy dip is filled with veggies and protein — including guac! Customize it for your child’s party by choosing a specific cup color or putting a theme-appropriate flag or decorated skewer into each dip cup.
11. Unicorn dip
Unicorn dips have taken over the world — and with good reason. Not only are they super versatile and generally easy to whip up, they’re crazy fun to eat. We love this colorful unicorn dip from Paris Bennett, complete with a side of graham crackers.
12. Funfetti dip
Healthy main dishes that are totally Instagram-worthy
The main dishes are the star of the show, and you will want to have a good mix of options available for your guests. These dishes are all filling, adorable, healthy and perfect for little hands.
13. Sandwich wheels
These Italian sandwich pinwheels from Tornadough Alli are made with Italian meats and cheeses, but you could use pretty much anything to make them. Use ham, turkey or even an avocado spread and simply roll them up in a flour tortilla for a yummy, healthy main dish.
14. Mac ‘n’cheese bites
You’d have to travel pretty far to find a kid who doesn’t like mac ‘n’ cheese. A staple on kids’ menus for years, this mac ‘n’ cheese bite recipe from The Best Ideas for Kids updates a traditional dish to a portable, party-friendly version.
15. Sandwich kabobs
16. Pizza pinwheels
These pizza pinwheels from I Heart Naptime are the upgraded version of ordering a few pizzas for the party. You can make your dough from scratch or buy pre-made dough to save time and effort. Less messy and more portable than a pizza slice, this one will be a hit with all of your party guests, big and small.
17. Snake sandwich
How cute — and simple?! — is this clever snake sandwich from Lindsay Harmon Knight? All you need to do is arrange a catered sandwich in the right way, add a few olive eyeballs and boom! Snake on the table!
Birthday party desserts that aren’t cake
You’ll likely be serving birthday cake at your child’s party, but it’s a nice idea to have other desserts available for guests who may not like cake or simply to round out your dessert table. These are all tasty, simple to put together and will have your guests oohing and ahhing.
18. Apple “doughnuts”
Bright and colorful, these apple “doughnuts” from Mumma of Two Youngins are almost as fun to eat as the real thing. Simply slice up some apples and top them with colored cream cheese and sprinkles. So cute!
19. Galaxy ice cream
20. Melted yogurt Olaf cups
21. Unicorn popcorn
Serving up a perfect balance of salty and sweet, this unicorn popcorn from Modern Mom Life will have all the kids running to the dessert table. Change up the colors to make this work for your child’s party and set out party-themed cups for guests to put their popcorn into.
22. Cake pops
While cake pops are technically cake, let’s be honest here: They’re a whole lot more fun. And the best part? Everyone gets to choose the exact flavor they want, not just the guest of honor. Winning all around.