Make Party Time Stress-Free
The first birthday is a major milestone that deserves a celebration. But for the party planner, creating a menu suitable for kids of all ages and sophisticated enough to satisfy the taste buds of adults can be a source of stress. With a little planning and preparation, however, you'll be able put together a simple menu that all your guests will enjoy, especially the 1-year-old.
Appetizers and Finger Foods
The trick with good appetizers for a 1-year-old's birthday party is to provide foods that are easy for the kids to eat, but tasty enough for the adults to enjoy. Some good options include pigs in a blanket, Swedish meatballs and bruschetta. If you’re serving cut vegetables, offer kid-friendly dips such as ranch and French dressing, along with your famous cheese dip. Tea sandwiches, or sandwiches with the crusts cut off, make good finger foods for both kids and adults. Fill your sandwiches with cucumbers and cream cheese, turkey and Swiss cheese, and apple slices with brie.
Main Dish Options for Everyone
Chicken nuggets, pizza, hamburgers and hot dogs satisfy young taste buds, and some older ones too. But you may be able to make both groups happy by serving chicken and beef skewers with seasoned potato wedges. To add a little sophistication to your hot dog meal for the kids, cook up specialty sausages such as bratwurst, knackwurst or kielbasa. A taco bar also makes a good main dish menu item. For the kids, keep it simple with seasoned ground taco meat, and for the adults offer seasoned fish, sliced chicken and sautéed veggies. Serve with both corn and flour tortillas and a variety of toppings such as shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sliced onions and cheese.
Of course, you need to have cake at the 1-year-old's birthday party. But no one is going to want to eat sloppy seconds from the birthday baby. If you’re creative, make a themed cake for your guests to ogle over and enjoy eating. Or serve cupcakes or a simple sheet cake. For those who prefer a healthy dessert, serve fruit skewers made with strawberries, pineapple, watermelon and star fruit. To keep the young ones occupied as the party winds down, consider a sundae bar filled with different types of ice cream and yummy toppings.
Keeping Your Party Safe
When throwing a party with a lot of young guests, it’s important to be aware of choking hazards. Foods to be careful with include raw vegetables, hard candies, marshmallows and whole grapes. And when your guests are RSVPing, be sure to ask about food allergies so you don't serve anything that might make someone sick.
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Jill Corleone is a registered dietitian and health coach who has been writing and sharing her love of food, nutrition and health with anyone who'll listen for almost 20 years. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Diabetes Self-Management and Working Mother.