On Thursday our first baby turns four!! I almost can’t believe it.
I like to make a really big fuss of our boys birthdays. I spent months (not kidding) planning Arjun’s first birthday party….fast track a few years with now two in tow and those ‘months’ have quickly become ah minutes?
Food at kids parties can be a tricky balance between providing healthy food, that is easy to prepare AND is still a ‘treat’. So I have picked five of the (less healthy) common foods that are often provided at kids parties and suggested some super simple switches for you!
1. Tomato Sauce
Many varieties of tomato sauce have a shockingly high amount of sugar in them. The brand featured below contains over 40% sugar (ekkk!). Here in New Zealand a company called Get Real Food have created their own tomato and barbecue sauce made from actual vegetables! With just 13g of sugar per 100g (and it’s not even refined sugar!) this sauce is a great switch and one we use all the time!
Personally I do not believe lollies need to be provided at children’s parties. Packed with added sugar, colours and additives lollies provide little nutritional value and are also not a food that children ‘get involved with’ – baking will actually encourage them into the kitchen and creating! Fruit contains high enough natural levels of fructose so something like a fruit kebab or using a cup cake holder to make a little individual portion can be quite fun.
3. Potato Chips
Another popular party food option that is very low in overall nutrients and yet high in energy. It is really the fun of finger food at play so why not just switch to a more nutrient dense option like Nairns Oatcakes (made from 83% wholegrain oats) or a similar whole-grain cracker and a really nice dip – my roasted pepper dip always goes down a treat and it’s super simple to make!
Did you know that juice actually contains almost as much sugar as coke? You can check out my vlog on this here and also a blog I wrote a couple of years ago on this here. I know that juice is often viewed as a healthier alternative but it is really not! As a suggestion try using a brand that has less sugar, and put half or ever a quarter in a milk bottle and then top up with soda water! All the fizz but not the sugar and anything in a milk bottle is instantly fun.
5. Fairy Bread
Ok now a little confession with this one! When I was creating this blog I was going to suggest replacing fairy bread all together and having something like sandwiches with my avocado and egg smash. I still think this is a great party option…however when I was making the fairy bread I was taken back to my own childhood. Now I don’t ever give our boys fairy bread, however it has been a traditional birthday party food and there is a part of me that wants them to experience this too. When I thought about I realised that in fact by simply switching the bread from white bread to a beautiful whole-grain bread, packed with seeds that actually this was a pretty good switch! As you can see – you can barely tell the difference!! For those that are gluten-free you could easily replace with a gluten-free bread too.
P.S For more healthy party ideas you can also check out an earlier blog I did on healthy kids party food (when Smushie was one at the start of the year!)
P.P.S I talk extensively about the impact of sleep deprivation on our ability to process sugar, more simple switches and ideas to combat cravings in my Sugar and Sleep workshops – I have just two left for the year one in Wellington (Nov 3rd) and Auckland in Howick on Nov 10th!
Happy Party Planning!
xxx Dr Julie Bhosale