How many of you have met Gia and her bff the Thermomix? Probably quite a few …
Gia and I connected recently over our passion for healthy eating and cooking for ourselves and our family. We sat down for a juice one day, after a session at the gym, got chatting about food (of course) and up popped the subject of kids’ birthday parties – we both agreed that food at these parties usually means a lot of junk, sugar and is usually high in saturated fats!
Both eager to do something about this, I asked if she would be up for (1) sharing some advice on healthier ways to cater for kids’ parties AND (2) challenged her (and her faithful sidekick “Thermie”) to create a sample party menu of a healthier spread that would still be appealing for both kids and adults.
Over to Gia ….
As a mother of 2 girls (9 and 4 years old), I have attended many birthday parties and have so often heard parents complain about the amount of junk food on offer – for both them and the kids.
So when it comes to my kids’ parties, I have made a conscious effort to try to reduce the amount of processed and packaged foods on offer. With my daughter’s birthday coming up, I was totally up for the Fit Malta Mums challenge and used the opportunity as a personal exercise to research ideas and recipes that I could use for the event.
Based on my previous party experience, here are my top tips on how to go about catering for a healthier kids’ party ….
MAKE IT EYE CATCHING: Kids eat with their eyes, so if they see something that looks chocolaty and sweet, they’ll eat and enjoy it. Try making treats that look similar to the packaged food they are used to but are instead made with raw cacao, coconut oil, dates and small amounts of maple syrup/honey/coconut sugar. It still tastes sweet and chocolaty, but is a lot healthier.
Example; Raw Snickers Bars, Raw Cacao Seed Bars and Healthy Rice Puffs
COLOUR, SHAPE & TEXTURE: Provide food in a variety of natural colours (think how appealing the fruit and veg display looks at a supermarket). Also consider a variety of snacks with different textures and tastes – crunchy, smooth, salty and sweet. Presenting it in a visually appealing way is important too; cut food into different shapes, use fun cupcake holders and colourful serving bowls and plates.
Example; Blueberry Cheesecake, Jam Drops, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Berry and Cheese Balls, Raw Carrot Balls, Lemon Tarts
PRACTICAL PORTIONS: Food at parties should be in bite-size pieces. Kids want to pick up the food and run to the activities. Adults want to pick up something small and eat while chatting and socializing.
Example; Healthy Chicken Nuggets with homemade ketchup, Homemade Seed Crackers, Gluten-Free Seed Bread
SAVOURY SNACKS: It’s not all about the sweet tooth, remember to have a platter or 3 of savoury foods. Most people like to eat something nourishing and delicious and it provides a nice contrast to the sweet snacks on offer.
Example; Variety of Colourful Dips (Beetroot Hummus, Red Pesto, Sweet Potato), Spelt Pizza Scrolls
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY: A small selection of delicious and well-presented food, is better than a huge selection of nutrient empty and highly processed junk food.
And of course…
THE BIRTHDAY CAKE! This can be a highlight whilst also being healthier than most birthday cakes. Substitute icing sugar and food colouring (which are full of additives) for icing made with dates or cashew cream or something simple and satisfying, like pure cream (or coconut cream) melted together with good quality dark chocolate.
I chose to make a Gluten Free Chocolate and Banana Cake Ta-daaaaa !
My family and I were lucky enough to be on the receiving end of this challenge and tasted all of Gia’s delicious snacks and treats. We gave Gia the thumbs up! In fact, it went so well that my little ones have requested I make some of the items again. Thanks for sharing Gia 🙂
All the recipes for the food mentioned in this article can be found on Gia’s Facebook page; Mixing it Malta
Thermomix® is a unique all-in-one kitchen appliance which provides you with healthy, easy cooking, giving perfect results every single time. Should you wish to find out more about it, feel free to contact Gia via her Facebook page.
Photo credits: Nadette Clare-Talbot.