Cheap Graduation Party Meal Ideas

by Laura Nowak

When parents plan their child's graduation party, they often need to set a budget. They may find that they can only afford so much for the food. If parents determine what kind of party they wish to throw their graduate and plan a menu accordingly, they can create a meal that everyone will still enjoy.

Type of Meal

Parents must first decide what time of day they wish to host the party, which will help determine what kind of meal they will serve. While most parents often opt for an afternoon or evening party, which etiquette states that they must host a full meal, if they are on a budget, they may consider hosting a graduation brunch or a dessert dinner party.

Plan a Menu

For the traditional afternoon graduation party, parents may wish to consider ordering deli-trays from their local super market or Warehouse club like Sam's Club or Costco. They can serve those a variety of bakery breads and make some homemade coleslaw or potato salad, along with a fresh fruit tray and several kinds of potato chips. If parents wish to try hot food, they may prefer a "Mexican Bar," where they brown several pounds of ground beef and chicken, and set out taco and nacho fixings, including: cheeses, olives, tomatoes, onions, refried beans, salsa and sour cream, along with taco shells and tortilla chips. Parents can also cook things ahead and save money by using their crock pot. They can serve barbecued pork sandwiches, by allowing the pork roast to simmer in the crock pot for several hours, and then pulling it apart and serving it on sandwich buns. They could pair this with au gratin potatoes, baked beans, coleslaw and fresh fruit skewers.

Other types of parties

Brunch can be affordable because some of the main ingredients used to make breakfast items include milk and eggs. Parents could serve a variety of frittatas or quiches with assorted bagels and cream cheese. They may also consider having a pancake station, with different toppings and flavored syrups. If they choose to honor their graduate with a dessert party, parents can supply a variety of sweets, starting with a congratulations cake for the graduate. They may supplement that with a sweets table, laden with homemade cookies, brownies and mini-cheesecakes. Parents may opt for having an ice cream sundae bar, where guests can create their sundaes from different ice cream flavors and add their own toppings. They should include crushed cookies, nuts, fresh fruit and syrups of several flavors.

About the Author

Laura Nowak is a freelance writer who combines her love of travel and research to write travel articles. She has been published in various print and online publications, including the "Western Herald," where she wrote arts and entertainment articles. Nowak earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in practical writing from Western Michigan University.