Planning a menu for a kids' birthday party can be a difficult task. Many children are picky eaters whose palates are not quite developed yet. Others have food allergies and cannot eat common ingredients such as nuts, dairy or wheat products. If you are hosting a birthday party or other kids’ event, serve foods that are nutritious, fun to eat and easy on your budget.
Make Creative Versions of the Basics
Serve familiar foods in a new way at your kid’s party. For example, wrap mini hot dogs or sausages in bread stick or dinner roll dough to create pigs in a blanket. Use cookie cutters to create fun-to-eat sandwiches in a variety of shapes and designs. Make healthy, mini pizzas instead of serving the standard delivery-sized version. Use the ready-to-bake whole-wheat dough, rather than white dough, and offer turkey pepperoni, mushrooms, olives, bell peppers and other types of vegetable toppings.
Don't Forget the Healthy Foods
Serve fruits and veggies in a playful way at your child’s party. For example, create brightly colored fruit kabobs with a melon scooper. Simply place watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew balls on wooden skewers that are easy to hold. Provide yummy dips, such as peanut butter, caramel and whipped cream, for fruits. Offer mini carrots and cut-up broccoli served with ranch dressing.
Plan a Theme Menu
Match your menu to fit a theme. For example, if your daughter is having a Strawberry Shortcake party, plan to serve strawberry shortcake made with a low-fat angel food cake, fresh strawberries and whipped cream, along with blueberry muffins, mini lemon meringue pies and mini oranges. For a Mexican theme party, complete with a piñata, serve nachos, along with a make-your-own taco bar. Provide whole-wheat tortillas or iceberg lettuce as a healthy alternative to the hard corn taco shells. If you’re having a beach-themed party during the summertime, serve pineapple, coconut, grilled or popcorn shrimp, coleslaw and hush puppies. For a western-themed party, serve barbecued chicken or smoked turkey breast, pinto beans, potato salad, and a cold tomato and cucumber salad with a creamy Caesar dressing.
Offer a few varieties of drinks, along with water. Crowd-pleasers include Kool-Aid and lemonade. Plan to provide two to three drinks per guest, and use durable versions of disposable cups. If your event will include kids younger than 7, you may want to serve juice drink boxes to help prevent spills and messes.
Desserts and Sweets
You can't miss by serving a birthday cake or cupcakes as the main dessert. Make your child's favorite flavor of cake, and buy or create a cake that matches the overall theme of the party. You don’t have to be a professional baker – simply add cake toppers and icing colors that fit the theme. For other types of parties, serve a few types of cookies or brownies.