Setting the menu for children’s parties: A healthy approach PART 1

I remember when baby number one came into our world, as most Mums do, I laid out plans in my mind for the best start to life, starting with his health. A quick and nimble fellow from the beginning (crawling at 5 months and fast crawler at that), I limited his sugar intake to, well practically nil for the first year of his life.

Fast forward and my friendship formed with Naturopath Brooke Jenkins. Whilst chatting to her about kids parties, I asked the big question, is there a more healthy approach to planning our children’s parties? Of course when she forwarded me this article for the red elephant blog I was blown away at what there is to offer….as for the message, I love that we are still allowed to have our cake and eat it too, by adding or substituting just a few dishes at our parties we can have the traditional sweets and balance it out with a few not so sugary alternatives.

The recipes listed are also great for snacks for your little (and big) ones.

PART ONE

When its time to celebrate, we relax our food rules and enjoy things we don’t usually eat every day. Party foods are often sugary, processed foods with lots of fake colourings and non-food ingredients, but enjoying food at a party doesn’t need to be a fake-food affair. Its easy to prepare and serve a menu of nutrient dense wholefoods that everyone can enjoy.

Here are some exciting and appetising ways to provide nutritious food at your child’s next party!

Something substantial

Dedicating a time for everyone to eat together can be a good way of making sure kids have something substantial before or inbetween all the snacking and party games. Whether you’re having a BBQ or serving some simple sandwiches or salads, this is a good opportunity to introduce some protein, which will keep the kids feeling fuller for longer and not constantly snacking on party food (whether its healthy or not).

–      Sausages, chicken or home made rissoles

–      Sandwiches or wraps: chicken and salad, tuna and avocado or hummus and salad

–      Rice salad: cooked brown rice, tempeh, mixed, diced vegetables and tamari dressing

–      Mixed raw vegetables: tomatoes, cucumbers, zuchinni, celery and carrot sticks

–      Vegetable ‘chips’: cut sweet potato into chips, coat in olive oil and a little salt, bake on a baking tray in the oven at 220° for 40 minutes. Serve with hummus

–      BBQ’d corn on the cob. Serve with butter and parmesan for a delicious side dish

Healthy snack alternatives

–      Colourful fruit platters

–      Fruit skewers can look as fabulous as they taste, but always consider the age of the children before you end up with a bunch of kids running around with sharp sticks!

–      Healthy brownies (see part two next week for a recipe)

–      Pikelets with sugar free jam

–      Rice crackers with hummus

–      Cheese cubes and chopped raw vegetables

Healthy banana ice cream (pictured. This is good, its really good, and toddler approved!)

Blend frozen bananas with a little milk of your choice until a creamy consistency is achieved. You can also add some raw cacao powder to make chocolate ice cream or some frozen strawberries to make strawberry ice cream.

Store your ice cream in the freezer until its time to serve. Allow a few minutes for it to soften and then scoop it into little bowls or ice cream cones for serving.

Ice blocks

You can be as imaginative as you want! There are so many combinations and flavours to experiment with. Here are a few favourites, each flavour makes 6 ice blocks:

Banana coconut

1 banana, cut into chunks

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Blueberry apple

2 cups blueberries

1/3 cup apple juice

1/3 cup coconut water

Watermelon lime

2 cups blended and strained watermelon juice

1 lime, juiced

Cucumber mint

2 cups blended and strained cucumber juice

1/2 cup of chopped mint steeped in 1/2 cup hot water, strained and cooled

1/3 cup coconut water

  1. Place all ingredients for ice blocks in a blender and process til smooth. Add a little water if necessary
  2. Pour into ice block moulds and leave to set overnight (or at least 8 hours)

Stay tuned to the blog for part two next week which includes a great cake recipe and some ideas for party drinks.

For more information about Brooke Jenkins, with lots of inspiration for healthy eating for children http://brookejenkins.com/

Spoons pictured by red elephant creative.

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