I’m in a little bit of shock…my little munchkin turned 4 last week! It’s hard to believe that she’s such a big kid now – definitely no longer a baby (as she is happy to tell you!). It’s customary for kids in her preschool to invite the entire class, so we decided to host the party at a local gymnastics studio that can accommodate our large group with lots of playspace and a party room with a nice long table. Another draw to this particular party space is that they do not provide any food, so parents are free to bring whatever we want. Many of the other gyms and party locations require that you buy their food and prohibit outside food, leaving people stuck with only unhealthy processed choices. I’m not comfortable feeding a room full of kids foods I don’t approve of, so being able to control the menu was a really important consideration for me!
Despite the gymnastics locale, the munchkin requested a superhero theme, which I was happy to oblige. There were superhero balloons, superhero books as a party favor, and, of course some superhero touches on the menu. Typical birthday party fare in my area includes various forms of chips, pizza, juice, and some kind of very colorful cake or cupcakes. As you may have noticed by now, I have a little bit of and obsession with bucking food trends, so I didn’t serve any of these items! Instead, I came up with a snack menu that I thought was appropriate for the 4pm eating time, contained yummy but also chemical free foods, and carried through the superhero theme a little bit more.
Another consideration was food allergies – my daughter has several friends (including my niece) who have various allergies to nuts and eggs, so I wanted to try to plan a menu that was completely safe for these kids. I know most of these kids usually come to birthday parties prepared with their own snacks, so I thought it would be nice to have an event where they could just be like all of the other kids!
Here’s what I came up with:
- Chocolate Mini Cupcakes with Fudge Frosting (with various superhero cupcake rings/picks on top)
- Whole Wheat Sugar Cookies (cut into various superhero shapes)
- Popcorn (popped in a plain paper bag in the microwave and tossed with a bit of olive oil and salt)
- Fruit platter
- Baby carrots with ranch dip
I can’t say for sure what everyone was thinking, but from my vantage point the party was a success! The kids seemed to be enjoying their snacks, and I got lots of compliments and questions from the moms on how I made the cupcakes, cookies, and popcorn. I feel good that I was able to throw a party where the kids were happy and I didn’t have to compromise my own values to make that happen.
What do you all think? I’d love to hear your ideas and thoughts on throwing parties while also sticking to a real food philosophy!
*PS – apologies for the weak photos…was so distracted having fun at the party that I neglected to get good shots of the set-up and food! I hope you can use your imaginations!