22 easy and Instagram-worthy foods to serve at your child’s birthday party
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. These days, many parents spend hours scouring Pinterest for inspiration to create the picture perfect spread for their kid’s birthday party.
Few items on the birthday party to-do list are quite as stressful as deciding what food to offer. Keep these tips in mind as you plan the menu for your child’s birthday party:
Factor in dietary restrictions and food allergies. For a young child’s party, it’s usually best to stay away from highly allergic foods, like peanuts.
Keep the menu as healthy as possible. You’re certainly going to offer up a few delicious sweets, but try to keep the menu balanced with healthy main choices, as well.
Divide your menu up into sections. To keep all guests satisfied throughout the entire party, plan for at least two to three finger foods to have out when guests arrive, a dip that will be available during the entire party, three or four main dishes for variety and some non-cake dessert options for the final portion of the party.
Write up a detailed schedule beforehand. That way, you know what you can make ahead of time and how long everything will take to make. This will help ensure that you’ll actually enjoy the party and get to take a few pics of your kiddo.
Ask your spouse, nanny or a good friend to help. If someone’s helping with prep work, you won’t be stuck in the kitchen during the entire party.
It sounds like a lot of planning, but don’t worry, we have a list of easy, (mostly) healthy, kid-approved, Instagram-worthy suggestions to make your birthday party pop! This list of 22 food and menu ideas can be customized to fit your child’s birthday party theme.
Appetizers and finger foods
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.
The key to getting kids to eat anything healthy often comes down to presentation. Your little guests will love having their very own salad cup to walk around with, and your adult guests will appreciate the healthy option. Put in some cheese sticks for added protein and customize it for your child’s theme by putting the salad in a themed cup or theme-colored cups.
Very few kids will say no to a pancake, and these 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 your child’s party theme.
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 cutouts
These cutouts are super easy and are a seriously versatile menu option. Use cookie cutters to cut out letters spelling out the names of your littlest guests, put them out on skewers or simply use a number cookie cutter that matches your child’s new age and make up a plate of them to set out on your appetizer table. Another option is to use a theme-appropriate cookie cutter or mix and match. Watermelon is the easiest to use for the cut outs, but honeydew and cantaloupe will work, as well.
Whipping up a batch of these colorful deviled eggs is the perfect way to sneak some protein into your appetizer lineup. Creating the dyed effect on the eggs requires you soak them the night before, so make sure you plan on extra time for this one. These can work for any party theme by switching up the color of the dye.
6. Fairy bread
This 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. Start by spreading cream cheese or sunbutter on a slice of bread. Using the cookie cutter of your choice, cut a shape into a second slice of bread and place that on top of the first slice. Finish it off by topping the cut out portion with sprinkles or nonpareils that match your party theme, and you’re good to go!
Another really simple and healthy option, these fruit skewers are also 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
Dips are the ideal party food because you can leave them out during the entire party for guests to nibble at while chatting or in between party games. These Pinterest-perfect dip ideas are easy and healthy.
8. Lion dip
With a pre-made bowl of hummus as the centerpiece, the only thing you need to do to create this healthy dip is to slice up some veggies to create the lion’s face. While it’s ideal for an animal-themed party, this dip is too cute for any kids to resist.
Healthy and sure to get the attention of your little guests, this veggie train dip uses bell peppers as the train cars and slices of cucumber as the wheels. Fill the pepper cars with your favorite veggies and choose either hummus or any other kid-friendly dip. This would be a serious hit at a Thomas the Tank Engine party, but a veggie train dip will impress pretty much any group of kids, no matter what the theme.
All of the layers, none of the double dipping. This dip is yummy and filled with veggies and protein. 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.
Unicorn dips have taken over Instagram, but most aren’t healthy enough to put out at a kid’s party unless it’s at the dessert table. Luckily, this one is an exception. Made with yogurt and set out with veggies for dipping, this dip is all about the presentation. Change it up for your child’s party by subbing in other colors for the pinks and purples.
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.
12. Sandwich wheels
These sandwich wheels 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.
You’d have to travel pretty far to find a kid who doesn’t like mac and cheese. A staple on kids’ menus for years, this recipe updates traditional mac and cheese to create a portable, party-friendly version.
14. Sandwich skewers
These deconstructed sandwiches are a ton of fun for kids to eat, healthy and super easy to make. Use any of your favorite deli meats, cheeses and breads to create a variety of skewers for your guests.
15. Pizza pinwheels
These pinwheels 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.
16. ‘Moana’ googly eyed croissants
While, they’re ideal for any sea or fish-themed party, these adorable sandwiches would make pretty much any little guests happy. Cut open your croissants and stuff them with the sandwich ingredients of your choice. To finish up your crabs, simply glue some googly eyes to the tops of toothpicks and stick them into the croissants.
These mini burgers are the right size for little hands, but sophisticated enough to satisfy your adult guests. Make some with cheese and some without and line the outside of your platter with pickles to accompany the burgers.
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.
Bright and colorful, these doughnuts are almost as fun to eat as the real thing. Simply slice up some apples and top them with colored yogurt and sprinkles. Add some small berries to the top of them for added vitamins. To customize them for your child’s party, simply change up the color of the yogurt and sprinkles.
19. Galaxy ice cream
Sweet and incredibly easy, this ice cream recipe doesn’t require any churning at all. Change up the colors and sprinkle toppings to customize it to match your child’s party theme.
These yogurt cups are designed with your favorite “Frozen” fan in mind but would fit in perfectly at any winter birthday party. Use Greek yogurt to make these a bit more healthy.
Serving up a perfect balance of salty and sweet, this popcorn 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.
This cheesecake dip is as easy to make as it is lovely to look at. Serve it with graham crackers and fruit on the side for dipping. As with the other options, this is easily customized by using sprinkles that will tie in with your child’s birthday party theme.