Finding the right balance of healthy food that kids will eat at parties can be quite a challenge, particularly with the popularity and brand recognition of fast foods. However, with a bit of creativity and effort you can make healthy food look appetizing and fun to eat and here are a few tips.
Instead of serving bread with hundreds and thousands/sprinkles on it, make a variety of sandwiches with different fillings, for example cheese, ham, tuna, egg, cheese and tomato or tuna and sweet corn. Small, quality sausages, such as chipolatas are also an excellent addition to any party and popular with children. The children are more likely to eat these if you present them in a fun way.
Instead of lots of chocolate, place dried fruit on toothpicks, ensuring that you use a variety off different colors to make it look fun. You can also have muesli bars and you can buy carob coated rice cakes. You could also make carob coated chocolate rice krispies treats. You can use cornflakes as a wheat free alternative but please ensure that you check the package in case of children with allergies.
If you want to offer vegetarian, dairy free or wheat/gluten free party food, then here are a few different ideas for you to try:-
, If you are able to locate them, Scottish oatcakes (some oatcakes may contain wheat or gluten – check the packages for further details) are an excellent choice served with tuna and sweet corn.
, For a sweet idea, rice cakes with a carob chocolate topping or for a savory idea, you could add some cheese, pineapple, aubergine (eggplant) or a variety of pureed vegetables. Make sure that these are colorful to attract the children’s eye.
, You can add cheese to muffins (you can make these gluten free) and place them under the grill. Try placing some fruit and shredded zucchini (courgette) inside them also. You can also make them into little pizzas and get the party boy/girl to help you make them.
, Waffles are also another good idea (these may not be gluten free though) and you can add all sorts of things, for example pureed fruits as a sweet alternative or freshly cooked beans as a savory topping.
, Tofu (bean curd) can also be used, although to make this attractive to children, you will need to ensure that you serve it in an interesting way. One way to do this is to slice the tofu finely and then dip it into some beaten up egg. Then add some sesame seeds and shallow fry it, serving it hot. The adults may prefer this but nothing ventured nothing gained!
, Home made pizzas cut into small rectangles, so that the children can eat them easily. You can add all sorts of different flavors and pineapple and cheese, tomato and cheese, or grated vegetables and cheese are excellent vegetarian choices. If you have someone at the party who cannot eat wheat or is a strict vegan, you can then add soya cheese and use wheat free dough. You can ask the party girl/boy to help you make them into funny faces. Getting the children involved with what you are doing is always a great idea, since they will then enjoy their party more as they have participated in the food preparation.
, You can also offer a variety of foods on a stick, for example cheese or fruit cubes.
, Falafels (a Lebanese delicacy made with chick peas).
, Rice crackers or pitta bread served with hummous and avocado dip, with carrot, zucchini and celery.