Although your little one's first birthday party is a big event, preparing the food doesn't have to take all of your attention. Serve a variety of simple, light offerings that appeal to both adults and kids at the party. Choose foods that you can make ahead of time so you can spread the preparation over the days leading up to the party.
Kids and adults alike eat a variety of types of sandwiches, and you can make them even more kid-friendly by cutting them into shapes with several different cookie cutters. Use soft wheat bread to make simple sandwiches, such as cream cheese and jelly, hummus and cucumber, peanut butter and banana and cold cuts and cheese. Get the birthday child involved by having him put his hand on the cookie cutter and helping him press it down to cut the sandwiches into shapes.
A cold pasta salad is an easy make-ahead-of-time component for the birthday party. As early as two days before the party, cook frozen vegetables and mix them in with cooked short pieces of pasta. You can also add small pieces of meat, such as ham or chicken. Your birthday child can help hold the spoon while you mix in your favorite salad dressing to bring it all together.
Picky eaters who refuse vegetables and grains rarely refuse their favorite fresh fruit. Prepare a platter with sliced fruits that appeal to both kids and adults. If your little one has a summer birthday, you have plenty of seasonal options, including berries, peaches and melon. For a birthday in other months, pair bananas with a seasonal favorite, such as apples in the fall or citrus in the winter. Serve the fruits with vanilla yogurt as a dipping sauce.
No first birthday party is complete without a cake or at least cupcakes. These self-contained cakes are much easier for little ones to feed themselves. To give parents at the party the option to limit their kids' sugar intake, make both full-sized cupcakes and miniature cupcakes. You can even make muffins sweetened with fruit, such as bananas or applesauce, to provide a healthier option. Lightly sweetened whipped cream makes an easy low-sugar frosting.