A delicious and nutritious 2 year old party!
The other week I was asked to cater a 2-year-olds birthday party. This was something very new to me but the previous week or so I promised myself that I would say ‘yes’ to more things, so I feel the timing of this request was a little serendipitous to say the least!
After I had said yes the excitement left and I got ‘chefs block’… I did not know what to put on the proposal list for Allie’s mother to choose from because I was so worried about the what ifs like… what if the kids don’t eat the healthier versions, what if what if…
I decided to write a list of party favourites and ways in which I could tweek them, knowing in the back of my mind that wholesome food and minimal sugar and preservatives were required. Mothers know first hand the impact that sugar and e numbers have on children’s behaviour!
On the flip side I don’t feel we need to remove all sweet things from a kid’s party and be super stringent. Parties only happen a few times a year and you want to teach children from a young age about balance and how to handle themselves when all types of food are around. A more relaxed approach is to see where you can do healthy swaps or minimise the levels of sugar, preservatives etc.
Studies have shown that in households where unhealthy foods are heavily restricted, children craved them more and went overboard on them when on offer. We can never ever have full control over what our children eat because they will go to other peoples parties who may not have your view about food.
It is important to note that if we are constantly labelling food as bad or good, and restricting all types of foods, we create a bad relationship with food by demonising it. At the end of the day food is just food- what we need to teach children is that some foods are more nutritious than others and how to eat foods in a balanced, enjoyable way.
With that being said my goal for the party was
- Have age appropriate finger foods
- Do healthy swaps where possible
- Boost the nutrients of dishes
|Beef sausage rolls
Lamb and mint sausage rolls
|I added as many vegetables as I could. In a food processor I shopped zucchini, carrot and mushroom|
|Brownies||Replaced sugar with natvia cooking sugar
*to be honest it made the brownies a lot denser. Sugar is obviously used in cooking not only for its sweetness but for what it does to the food re texture and look
Hawaiian & Margarita scrolls
|Use wholemeal flour which has more fibre and nutrients than white flour. Fresh pineapple instead of canned|
|Chocolate and coconut popcorn balls
|I used cacao and rice malty syrup instead of cocoa and sugar|
|Cauliflower hummus and crudités
|Added a yummy cauliflower|
|Cheese and chive puffs
|Used wholemeal flower|
Green chocolate cakes with cream cheese frosting
|Added 1 whole zucchini and broccoli head
Instead of sugar in the icing I used rice malt syrup just till sweetened
|Strawberry and ham sandwiches
|I used fresh strawberries instead of jam|
|Homemade tomato sauce
Decided to make my own sauce from scratch which contained less sugar, preservative and salt. It was very ‘gourmet’ tasting which I am sure the adults enjoyed
The end result:
I am so thankful to report that the kids and adults loved the food (phew) and there were no cases of food poisoning ! What I enjoyed hearing was that no tantrums or crying occurred, which usually goes hand in hand with birthday parties at some point! It is a wonderful reminder of what food does to our kids minds and behaviour and also that if junk food is not on offer, then junk food is not what they want!
Parties are a time where friends and families get together and it is a time when you can enjoy ‘not everyday food.’ If you have a birthday party coming up, look at the ingredients and think of ways you could either boost the nutrients or do healthy swaps with, but most of all enjoy the party and don’t forget to really enjoy the icing!
- Pick 2-3 savoury, 2-3 sweet, 2-3 fresh dishes as a good starting point (depending on numbers)
- See what ingredients you can swap around or add to boost the nutrient content
- Think of healthy fun ways to make i.e. fizzy drinks mineral water and real fruit pieces
- Get creative with food dyes use juices as colourings instead of artificial food dyes i.e. beetroot, carrot
- Plan which days you will cook each dish (this is project management at its finest and it was a life saver) For example I made brownies on the Wednesday because they could last in the fridge for a few days and I made sure the the sandwiches and fruit kebabs were done the morning of the party so everything was fresh
A little bit of brain storming, thinking outside the box and planning really helps when planning a fun, nutritious and delicious birthday party (for any age)