Make Your Kid’s Party a Healthy Treat
by Tracey Pollack
Do you think that all children’s parties must be sugar-stuffed, frosting-filled, junk food jubilees? Well, you’re in for a surprise because it’s easier than ever to host a healthy children’s party packed full of wholesome treats and a whole lot of fun. Try these five smart ideas to make your better-for-you bash into the best party ever!
- Present Fresh Food, Not Fast Food
Fed up with how greasy, take-out pizza is always invited to a child’s party? Sure, it’s a convenient crowd-pleaser, but it’s not the healthiest choice. This year, think outside the pizza box by serving a fresher feast. If everyone pleads for pizza, try delivering a healthier version—and make the food part of the fun—by having kids make their own mini pizzas with whole-wheat English muffins, healthy cheeses, and lots of fresh veggies. Or, pass on the pizza altogether and set out a make-your-own taco bar or DIY sandwich station. Add some color and nutrition with a platter of fresh fruits and vegetables, served with a side of hummus.
- Treat Kids to Sparkling Sips
Say so long to the syrupy sodas and sugary beverages typically served at parties. It’s time to rethink your drinks. Since nutrition experts say it’s best for kids to drink water or milk, try dressing them up for the party with a few natural twists! Flavor plain or mineral water by infusing it with slices of ripe, fresh fruit. Mix bubbly sparkling water with some lower-sugar fruit juice. Blend your favorite type of milk with yogurt and fresh fruit for protein-packed smoothies. Or mix milk with unsweetened cocoa powder or a squirt of chocolate syrup to indulge that chocolate craving.
- Get the Kids Moving and Grooving
Let your little guests burn off all their energy and get some healthy exercise by planning fun activities. Take the party fun outside with a potato sack race, a thrilling game of tag, a silly scavenger hunt, or a rowdy relay race. If the weather isn’t party-perfect, keep the kids indoors with a prize-packed treasure hunt, a rousing round of freeze dance, or a lively game of limbo.
- Shake Up the Cake
Today, it’s a piece of cake to give your tiny guests a sweet party treat in a much smarter way. For a twist on the classic layered confection, sneak in some natural nutrition by serving carrot cake (without the cream cheese frosting!), banana bread, apple spice cake or individual strawberry shortcakes. For chocolate-loving children, prepare a healthier fudgy cake with yogurt, avocado, black beans, or applesauce. The icing on the cake is topping your tasty torte with Greek yogurt, or frostings made with better ingredients like nut butters or tofu. To cut out the cake completely, offer a build-your-own yogurt parfait buffet, pass out fruit-based popsicles, or set up a chocolate fountain with fresh fruit to dip.
- Give Out Good-for-You Goody Bags
While sending guests home with goody bags is always a sweet gesture, the sweetness usually comes from the sugary candies inside. Rather than lollipops and chocolates, you can build a better bag filled with more nutritious nibbles and lots of wholesome fun. Try some sweet surprises, such as whole-grain granola bars, small boxes of raisins, apples, tangerines, and less sugary cookies like animal crackers and grahams. Kids love to crunch, so pack their goody bags full of unsalted nuts, baked whole-wheat pita chips, or lightly-salted pretzels. Then, feed their imaginations with boxes of crayons, colored pencils, puzzles and outdoor games.
You’re invited to have some fun with these kid-tested, parent-approved tips for healthy kids parties worthy of celebration.