A jungle theme totally works for a baby shower, particularly if the baby-to-be is a boy -- just break out the "King of the Jungle" banners and signs. For a girl, you can have fun with the concept of "Mama's Little Monkey," with decor and food to match. Baby shower food should consist of light appetizers, preferably finger food. The focus isn't on the edibles, after all, but on the mother- and baby--to-be.
Bananas and Coconut
Bananas and coconut are almost a requirement for the menu of a jungle-themed baby shower. Coconut macaroons make for an smart finger food. If you prefer something more savory, serve coconut shrimp or coconut-crusted chicken strips. For bananas, opt for bacon-wrapped banana bits, banana chips or finger sandwiches made with bananas and peanut butter. If it's summer, you can offer frozen banana chunks on a popsicle stick, dipped in chocolate if you prefer. For the finale, serve a banana cake or a white cake with coconut frosting.
More Tropical Fruit
A jungle-themed baby shower should take full advantage of the variety of tropical fruit available at the market today. Tree and vine fruits are the best choice, as they echo the dense jungle foliage most effectively. Think beyond bananas and incorporate limes, kiwis, starfruit, lychee, passionfruit, pineapple, guava, papaya and mango into your menu. The easiest option may be a tropical fruit salad. For a more elegant presentation, place chunks of fruit on decorative skewers.
Animal Crackers and Cookies
For a low-fuss option, serve animal crackers or commercial animal-shaped cookies with or without frosting. If you're feeling ambitious, use jungle-animal-shaped cookie cutters to form rolled cookies and decorate accordingly. You can use the cookie cutters cut out other foods as well, from cheese slices and cold cuts to melon and cucumber slices or even sandwiches.
Stripes and Patterns
With a pastry bag and some icing, you can turn a wide range of cookies and cupcakes into tiger- or zebra-striped confections to serve at a jungle-themed baby shower. Or if you're a little more ambitious you can pipe cheetah and leopard rosettes. If you choose this route, coordinate your party decor in animal-print patterns to match. The end result will be extra-elegant.
Mix banana chips, cashews and pretzel shapes together for an easy savory party mix; include chopped dried papayas or pineapple, banana nut cereal, vanilla wafer cookies, coconut flakes and chocolate chips -- chocolate is, after all, a tropical treat too. Mix and match to your taste.
A tropical fruit punch -- spiked or alcohol-free -- makes your baby shower extra-festive. If you're a little more ambitious, serve tropical cocktails such as banana daquiris or pina coladas. The mother-to-be, of course, should be served a virgin version of these libations. If you're going completely alcohol-free, a carafe of two of pineapple juice, an agua fresca -- a Mexican-inspired mixture of fruit juice or pureed fruit, sugar and water -- or even an iced tea garnished with tropical fruit on a skewer will do just fine. Or concoct an alcohol-free tropical punch from ginger ale or carbonated water plus ingredients such as fruit-flavored sherbert, pineapple juice, lime juice and mint. If you want a hot beverage, go for coffee -- it comes from jungle climes.
Lori A. Selke has been a professional writer and editor for more than 15 years, touching on topics ranging from LGBT issues to sexuality and sexual health, parenting, alternative health, travel, and food and cooking. Her work has appeared in Curve Magazine, Girlfriends, Libido, The Children's Advocate, Decider.com, The SF Weekly, EthicalFoods.com and GoMag.com.