27 May, 2010

Party food can be a whole minefield what to serve, how to serve, when to serve, just for the kids or cater for grownups too?

What to serve?

From experience of hosting hundreds of children's parties I can tell you 2 things with certainty:

1 - parents over cater and
2 - kids waste lots

Kids parties are not the place to expect kids to go crazy for healthy choices. Kids are usually too hyped up to choose carrot sticks over party rings and cupcakes.

If you are keen for the kids to eat healthy party food you could:

  • prepare your own pizzas - or buy plain cheese and tomato pizzas and add healthy toppings like pineapple, ham, sweet peppers etc
  • Make sandwiches from ham, egg n cress and cheese
  • Go retro and make a cheese and pineapple hedgehog - cover half an orange in tin foil and push cocktail sticks with cubes of cheddar cheese, pineapple and the odd glace cherry into the covered orange.
  • Have cartons of fruit juice for the kids or prepare a jug of slightly diluted fresh orange or apple juice.
  • A nice dessert is fruit cocktail or chopped strawberries, apples and bananas with plain yogurts spooned over the top.


There's quite a debate about feeding the grown ups who stay at the party or not.

Parents generally accompany children to parties up until they get to year 1 then after that a party on a Saturday afternoon usually sees parents drop n run!

If the party is for ages 1-3 and you are expecting lots of parents or have had some parents say they will stay then you could prepare something but don't go overboard, you will have enough to worry about on the day without worrying about catering for grownups too.

Chances are they will be too busy attending to their children to have a proper bite to eat so keep it light - prepacked party food which can be found in the freezer dept at the supermarket should be a hit. Also tortilla chips with pots of ready made dips should also do the trick.

Worried about leftovers?

For parents worried about wasting food for parties with lots of guests we suggest that you think about preparing a small sandwich meal in a food box for the children.

Inside pack:

  • 1 sandwich pack made from 1 round of bread and either a cheese or ham filling.
  • 1 yoghurt in a tube
  • 1 carton of orange juice or apple juice
  • 1 small pack of plain crisps


If you are using the food time to take a chunk of time out the party then you may want to think about serving savories first then small cakes, sweets and dessert. This should take a crowd of 20 children about 20-30 mins to eat.

If you are short on time then serve everything at once which can shave off 10 mins or so.

We always recommend that parents serve food after an hour to fit in with childrens attention span. After an hour of party games and activities children are usually about ready for a rest so planning to sit down and eat after an hour gives them a chance to rest up ready for more games later.

Hopefully these hints and tips will help you to plan your birthday party. If you use any of our ramblings please do let us know!

Yours colourfully, Angela x

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