submitted by Lauren Panoff, MPH, RD, www.ShopRite.com
Parties for kids are often defined by a few main things: high-energy attendees, fun activities, and lots of delicious food and snacks.
While all of these are great, if you’re looking to serve foods and desserts with a better-for-you twist that everyone will enjoy, read on.
Set up a make-your-own station.
It’s no secret that both kids and adults love pizza.
With a pizza station, everyone can create their own pizza masterpiece.
This can start with a crust as simple as individual wheat tortillas that partygoers can layer with tomato sauce, cheese, pineapple, and fresh chopped veggies.
Using cookie sheets, you can quickly bake multiple pizzas at a time.
Tie the food into a party theme.
Food is so versatile that it can be used to accommodate almost any theme your child loves.
For example, if you throw a jungle-themed party, you can serve a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.
If you’re feeling creative, make jungle animal shapes out of the food itself, and serve alongside a light dip.
Incorporate healthier snacks in goodie bags.
Kids love taking goodie bags home after a party. This is a great way to send them off with something healthy at the end of the afternoon.
For instance, a whole piece of fruit paired with a healthier packaged snack food, like nuts, whole wheat crackers, fruit snacks or fruit leathers made with 100% juice.
Swap traditional desserts for healthier sweets.
End the party on a sweet note that’s just a bit healthier by offering fresh fruit, such as orange slices or banana, dipped in chocolate.
You can also still serve cake and ice cream, but try dishing it out in smaller servings. Include options for kids with food allergies.
This is more of a side note, but it’s important to make sure that if kids with food allergies are coming, they also have food options.
Some of the most common food allergies are dairy, soy, wheat, peanuts, and tree nuts.
Non-dairy milks, gluten-free snacks, and seeds are easy to find and offer as allergen-free alternatives.
You can even find dairy, soy, and nut-free dark chocolate chips now.