Have you ever hosted a kids party where your backyard became like a Lord of the Flies scene with normally well-tempered kids suddenly snatching, shouting, whacking and then crying at a moment’s whim?
I had one year in particular like this where I got a little over excited in the food preparation and went with the thought of “Bah! It’s a party! Let’s go for it!” and go for it I did. We had mini pies and pasties for lunch, several different coloured fizzy drinks, cupcakes, tiny teddies in chocolate cars, a bowl of lollies, fairy bread and that was all before the cake.
By the end of the day I knew I had gone too far as I apologised to parents as they rolled their children out the door who were virtually snorting the bags of Wizz-fizz and crunching through the lolly pops I had “generously” added to the loot bag. I knew the night they had ahead, I had the same night ahead myself and it wasn’t pleasant.
Two addicts who needed to be brought down from their high, cleaned up and gently coaxed into bed that party time was indeed, over.
I cringe at the fact that I actually held back a tray of chocolate frogs in jelly which I stoically made my own way through over a few days.
That was a couple of years ago and after that party I felt like I learnt my lesson.
Our last party – look I’m going to go out on a limb here but… it rocked. And I think it had a lot to do with the fact that the kids were a little less high and the parents could in turn relax more.
You might think what has reducing the amount of sugar at my kids birthday party got to do with being sustainable? It’s just about bringing it down a level. Going back to the basics of what makes a great party, which for my kids is mainly the fact that their mates are there.
Here are my top 10 party food ideas to reduce the after-party horror hour.
Sounds boring but for two years now I have done Ham and cheese sandwiches cut into the shape of star. I don’t know what it is about the fact that they are star shaped but they are always a huge hit.
- Vegetarian Sausage rolls
They had no clue that these were actually mashed vegetables and lentils, they covered them in sauce and assumed they were the real deal party food. Why would they think anything else? Recipe will be out next week.
- Home-made ham and pineapple pizzas
Toasted muffins, tomato sauce, ham, pineapple and cheese – it doesn’t get much easier than that. To make it a bit more
messy exciting you could always give them a variety of toppings and let them make their own.
- Home-made chicken nuggets
I got this really easy recipe from Planning with Kids.The best thing is you can cook them, freeze them and just pull them out the night before the party. Of course you could just buy chicken nuggets but sometimes I wonder if the hidden extras in store bought party food is a major part of the party-crazed-child (let’s call it what it is people, they go freakin loco).
- Fruit skewers or fruit balls in a cup
Again something about changing the shape of the food and the under 5’s go wild for it. While sometimes the fruit can be the last thing to go, if it’s not competing with a table of treats it has a better chance.
- Soda Stream
I attended a first birthday party where the mum had set up a soda stream for people to help themselves. I loved the idea of bringing back the soda stream and ended up having several glasses of fizzy myself just for the fun of using it. Add a little juice to the fizzy water and you’ve got happiness in a cup.
- Chocolate (and zuchinni) cupcakes
Let’s face it, there does have to be treats. It is a party at the end of the day. So have a balance of a chocolate and zuchinni cupcake with fancy icing on top. They’ll be so blown away by what’s on top they won’t even notice what’s being snuck in on the bottom. Plus you will find with the addition of the zuchinni the cake is much more moist and delicious.
- Home-made Biscuits
Use a basic biscuit recipe and decorate at your will. The good thing about this is you can change it to any theme you want, dinosaur shaped, funny face, pirate, fairy shaped etc. More importantly you control how many goodies you put on and what has gone into the biscuit.
$1.80 bag of popcorn, a sprinkle of icing, some fancy cups (reusable or made from recycled materials of course!) to present it in and you are on a winner for everyone.
- Warm Milo
I served these up on a tray just as there was a small drizzle of rain breaking out. With a plate of homemade biscuits it was a great way to finish off the sweets. The kids assumed it was chocolate milk…. I let them think it was. Everyone was happy.
I think I can safely say that at this age kids aren’t going to claim over their babycinos the next day, “Can you believe they put zucchini in the chocolate cake? I’m just saying….That’s the last party of theirs I attend.”
Do you have any party favourites to share?