The menu for your baby's first birthday party will depend on whether you're inviting other little ones or planning to include just the family. If you plan to have a number of babies there, you'll want to serve foods that are portable, with as little mess factor as possible. For a party with mostly older kids and grownups, plan a menu that's calculated to appeal to the majority but includes foods you can adjust to suit your baby's tastes.
If you're planning a casual party without a sit-down meal, choose foods that your little ones can pick up easily and eat without dishes or silverware. Set out plates of cheese cubes, crackers, and soft fruits cut into bite-sized pieces. Make a variety of sandwiches using peanut butter, American cheese, or cream cheese and jelly. Trim the crusts and cut them diagonally into quarters to make triangular sandwiches for little hands. Have apple juice, milk and water available for parents to fill sippy cups or bottles. Rather than serving cake and ice cream on plates, offer your tiny guests cupcakes and pudding pops.
If you're planning to serve dinner at your baby's first birthday party, choose foods that one-year-olds like and can easily feed themselves, such as macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, applesauce, noodles, cooked carrots, green beans and baked patties of ground chicken or turkey. Simplify the menu with a tuna-noodle casserole accompanied by peas, or a turkey-noodle casserole with cooked baby carrots on the side. Serve birthday cake and ice cream, cupcakes and sherbet, or pudding cups and cookies for dessert.
A party theme for a first birthday is usually as simple as balloons or cuddly animals. Serve round foods for a balloon theme. Use a melon baller to shape soft cheeses and fruits. Avoid serving harder round fruits such as grapes unless you cut them into small pieces, and use only the seedless varieties. Chop hard-cooked egg yolks, add enough mayonnaise to make the mixture spreadable, and slather it on round crackers. Make ground-turkey meatballs. Give each little guest a paper cup full of O-shaped breakfast cereal. Make a balloon cake by baking batter in two oven-safe bowls with round bottoms and putting the halves together. For an animal theme, decorate a sheet cake with animal crackers. Serve "safari punch," which can be any flavor of juice or a mixture of juices. Use tiny cookie cutters to cut animal shapes from apple and banana slices, or from soft cheeses and bread to make little sandwiches.
If you're making your baby's first birthday party a family affair and she'll be the only one-year old in attendance, serve foods that are appropriate for her and that will appeal to older kids and grownups, too. Macaroni and cheese or mashed potatoes, deviled eggs minus seasonings for the party girl, chicken patties cut into small pieces, green beans or carrots, a sliver of cake, and a spoonful of ice cream make a well-rounded birthday meal.
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