These tasty treats will make you the best party-thrower on the block.
On the surface, planning a child's birthday party food menu seems like an easy task, but as many parents and experts will tell you, choosing the right food can get tricky. This is perhaps one of the most difficult tasks on your party "to do" list.
There are four important main things to consider when creating your child's birthday party menu.
- Factor in dietary restrictions and food allergies.
- Keep the menu as healthy as possible.
- Prepare food that doesn't stain clothing.
- Write up a detailed schedule beforehand, so you know what you can make ahead of time and how long everything will take.
- Ask your spouse and nanny to help with the prep work, so you aren't stuck in the kitchen during the entire party.
Here are eleven party food and dessert ideas that take into consideration all of the above, but most importantly, are sure to be kid-pleasers.
Michele Gwynn, from San Antonio, Texas, suggests keeping it simple when kids are involved. Chopped up vegetables like carrots, celery, broccoli and tomatoes are often a hit at birthday parties. Pair the veggies with dips like peanut butter, which is yummy and offers healthy protein. Or try a cucumber yogurt dip for another healthy alternative.
Food on a Stick
Assemble little kabobs for your guests. You can make them ahead of time and this presentation never fails to please. Depending on the age of your guests, you can use skewers, coffee stirrers or popsicle sticks. Try these skewer ideas from Gina at Skinnytaste, which include combinations like ham and cheese and shrimp, tomato and cucumber. Assemble mini fruit kabobs for a sweet snack.
Mac and Cheese
A great dish and no-fail crowd pleaser, mac and cheese can be made into a healthy kids' party dish by using "whole wheat elbow macaroni, freshly grated cheddar cheese, low calorie and low sodium butter and skim milk," says Gwynn.
Is your little one a pizza fanatic? Try this recipe from Plain Chicken for an easy, fast and simple to clean-up dish. This twist on the old favorite makes pizza more fun (if that's even possible!).
Corn Dog Muffins
These are always popular with kiddies, but this greasy fried food isn't the best thing for their bodies. Try this inventive spin on the tried-and-true corn dog by making them into muffins with this recipe from Laura at Heavenly Homemakers. If you are looking for healthier alternatives, turkey sausage makes a great substitution.
Deli Sushi Rolls
Looking for a more unique approach to the normal finger sandwiches? Get inventive with these deli sushi rolls from Tanya at Mommy Goggles. Roll up your ingredients into whole wheat white bread and provide some ranch or soy sauce for dipping. You may want to avoid the chop sticks, though!
Mini Grilled Cheese
Cut down on your cooking time by buttering and toasting your bread before the party starts. When the kids arrive, simply place some cheese on the bread (butter-side out) and pop the sandwiches in the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese.
Decorate Your Own Dessert
Instead of the traditional cake, try having "Decorate a Cake Pop" or "Birthday Muffin Contest." You can provide lots of decorating products, like colorful icing and sprinkles. Give the children bibs and have the parents work side by side with their kids.
Rice Dream Sundaes
If you are trying to stay away from ice cream, Amy Roskelley at Super Healthy Kids recommends swapping out the traditional sundaes for Rice Dream Sundaes. This option is a healthy alternative that she uses in her own home instead of ice cream. Roskelley says that it's "not hard at all" to convince the kiddos to eat this sweet dessert rice. However, she cautions that if you promise ice cream and deliver a delicious serving of this dessert rice instead, "the battle" may ensue.
Oatmeal Cream Pies
Try these homemade oatmeal cream pies from Baked Perfection. They are the perfect birthday treats. They maybe a little messy, but they are sure to be a hit with kids. And white filling is a lot easier to get out of clothing than colored frosting.
Sliced Caramel Apple Sticks
Instead of a traditional caramel apple, slice apples into chunks, remove the seeds and place them on sticks. Then dip the apple slices into caramel and drizzle with chocolate sauce.
You can also check out Care.com's Pinterest board for more kid-friendly foods. With a little planning, creativity and forethought, you can create simple, enjoyable, party foods that will save you time, please your little ones and make the party a hit.
Jami McDonald is a freelance writer covering all things Colorado. Her work can be found on here.