Keeping it real with kid’s birthday party food

Yesterday Ana turned three.  She has been negotiating the specifics of her party for the last few months.  The friends on her guest list (including, most recently, Santa), The Dora Explorer themed decorations, balloons and the most important part, a chocolate Dora cake, with candles.  Her birthday party wishes (all except Santa attending) were granted.

The Princess Dora chocolate cake with its sweet cherry filling and and purple and green icing was purchased from the store.  I didn’t bother to check the ingredients or nutritional panel like I would normally would when buying something in a package.  I knew it would be filled with stuff that I normally wouldn’t like her to have.  What I did do, however, was to ensure there were lots of healthy options available for Ana and her esteemed guests prior to the Purple Princess Dora making her appearance.  Alongside various salad sandwiches and plain popcorn where veggie and fruit platters designed with a three year old in mind.  Both were a hit amongst the preschoolers and parents alike.

Carrots, snow peas and baby tomatoes are a healthier filling for cupcake papers.

I filled bright colored cupcake liners with carrots, snow peas and grape tomatoes.  

The cupcake liners not only looked festive but made perfect kid sized portions.  I was considering using strips of bell peppers and cucumber slices too but I decided against it due to cut vegetables being wetter in the cups and also a bit more in preparation time.  I was really happy with how these turned out just as they were and not a single veggie was left at the end of the party.

Grapes stalks, watermelon hearts, carambola stars grew out of a watermelon in a sea of berries.

Grape stalks, watermelon hearts and carambola stars grew out of a watermelon in a sea of berries.  

So many different fruits can be used in something like this.  I was planning on doing pineapple flowers (using a cookie cutter to make the flower) with cantaloupe centers (using a melon baller to make the stigma).  I ran out of time for my pineapple / cantaloupe flowers but pineapples, cantaloupe, honeydew and papaya cut with various cookie cutters can be turned into all sorts of funky flower like things.  I also thought kiwi fruit circles would look cool and a pitaya half would have made an awesome base.  I’d be a little weary of using fruit that browns quickly (such as bananas and apples) unless you were making it just before it was being eaten.  Also, I’d avoid anything too juicy or too soft.  I’ve kept the skewers for another occasion.  I had a lot of fun putting it together and everyone enjoyed pulling it apart!

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4 Responses to Keeping it real with kid’s birthday party food

  1. I haven’t seen carambola before. What perfect stars it makes! Kiwi fruit cut lengthways can look great as leaves.

  2. I love when parties offer these foods — LOVE IT! It is hard to change an entire culture (and my own fellow adults aren’t really on board), but I think it’s realistic and achievable to make these things treats. I’m not so extreme as to say “no” to all things sweet or processed (especially during festive periods), but I definitely get the impression I *seem* over the top to certain others, at time.

    • runningmelon says:

      Me too! And it is a fine line to tread but I think it’s important to at least have healthy options available even if there are treats too. Apart from anything it sets a good example. I’ve just been reading your blog by the way. It’s great!! I’m a kiwi living in the US!

      • Have you found so much depends on the language surrounding food? When parents tell children that they can have gut rot for a “treat” that makes gut rot more attractive. I wonder what would happen if you handed a kid a slice of cake and said “Would you like some gut rot?”

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