by Kim Bayne
Children’s birthday parties are one of the most joyous celebrations of parenting. A child turning one year older provides us with the chance to reflect on how much our children have grown and matured in the previous twelve months. Children learn at a very early age that parties mean party food and unfortunately, traditional party foods can be full of food additives that can cause adverse reactions in little bodies.
Bright colours attract children, and thickeners, gums and binding agents enable food like chicken and fish to be cooked in appealing shapes, yet some of the most widely used additives are not well tolerated by young children. This sort of presentation makes food fun and children are more likely to eat it.
The great news is that children’s party food can be additive free. The key is including a variety of fresh foods whilst making it look great!
Here is my sample menu for a children’s birthday party
Water. Filtered, bottled, or tap.
Try adding slices of lemons, oranges and limes with coloured straws for an appealing visual effect.
Make a healthy pizza sauce by mixing salt reduced tomato paste, a pinch each of oregano and basil, a zucchini and some mushrooms in a food processor. Thin out with a little water. Spread on wholemeal pita bread or other healthy bread base, top with grated low fat cheese and bake until the cheese has melted.
Use a wholemeal or higher fibre white bread. Top with additive free sprinkles.
Fruit Platter with Healthy Chocolate Dip
If there is enough variety, usually every child can find their favourite fruit. Grapes are very popular! To make a healthy chocolate dip simply blend an avocado and 2 tbs cocoa powder (raw organic tastes better if you can get it) in a food processor and sweeten to taste with honey, agave or maple syrup. Honey is best avoided for under 2’s.
Air popped popcorn
If you don’t have a popcorn machine, they are a great investment for a healthy, filling, additive free snack in minutes! Be mindful that popcorn poses a choking risk to younger children.
Fruity ice cream pops
Fill plastic icy pole moulds with layers of pureed fruits and some natural yoghurt. Freeze for 30 minutes in between layering for a stripy effect.
If time permits it really pays to make the cake yourself as you can control what goes into it. A home made cake usually has 5 or 6 ingredients, yet a commercial cake mix can have 4 times that many! If you are purchasing a cake, don’t be afraid to ask about the ingredients. Do some research online first, many businesses are embracing healthier food options. There are thousands of healthier cake recipes on the internet. Hopper Foods also have 100% natural vegetable food dyes to brighten your cake up additive free!
Another great resource for healthier children’s parties is Let’s Party Additive Free.
It is a lovely feeling when the party is over to know that your child and their friends had fun without harmful additives and simply lots of fresh, healthy food!
Kim Bayne is an aspiring author, writer and blogger at Life by Kimmy. A mum of 4 teenagers and a 5 year old, Kim is married to her soulmate and is passionate about educating and empowering parents based on her experiences and the things she has learned on her wonderful journey through life so far.