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Simple Healthy Ideas for Kids Parties

This is something I get asked about a lot - healthy easy ideas for kids parties!! It is a tricky balance between providing food that children (and adults) will eat, is easy to prepare (or buy), is actually healthy and does not cost a fortune.

Before I had children I had visions of being a mum that spent hours planning parties, posting ideas on pintrest, creating magnificent cakes and my children's celebrations as being a 'not-to-be missed occasion''. Fast track 3 years on - two children and a full time working schedule have quickly humbled me!

In saying that I do actually love food, enjoy being in the kitchen and like having people over. Most of all as a nutritionist I do feel it's important to show your children you can have real food at parties - needless to say the party-struggle is very real for me.

So here is some tricks I have thus used so far to navigate hosting children's parties (I am sure as my children get older we will get even more savy at the party-hosting bizo...

1. Food

Remember for young kids parties you are feeding adults as well - this makes it more tricky but may also expand your options of food - here are my top tips:

- Keep it simple and ask for help: Two things I am still learning to do but honestly when it comes to hosting people it will make a huge difference! We all know how much work it is to put on a party with kids in tow and many people like to bring something so don't be afraid to ask and be direct with people on what to bring - so you don't end up with 4 green salads!

- Provide real food: I know it sounds like a nutritionist's motto - but meat, vegetables and fruit are just great at parties. It actually fills people up, kids will eat the meat (salad if you are lucky) which will do wonders to offset any less nutrient options. For more child-friendly options, vegetable sticks and fruit kebabs have always been a big hit at our parties and while not 'gourmet', it's hard not to go pass cheerio sausages - on the day of Sahan's party the boys had eaten a good portion while still at the supermarket in the morning (oh my life!).

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- Finger foods: cheese, crackers, vegetable sticks with dips and humus make great finger food and are fast to prepare. In regards to homemade verse brought finger food, in a perfect world we would make everything from scratch but a lot of store brought options are fine just check you have less than 10g sugar/100 as a bit of a guide.

- Small snacks: I have found some old-school sandwiches and savoury muffins (recipe here for you) appeal to lots of children and adults will also eat them, both of which can be made with little time or preparation.

- Sauces: this is tricky as a lot of current options for sauces contain a lot of sugar, we now use Get Real Food sauces which actually have vegetables in them!

2016-01-17 15.18.342. Drinks

I take a fairly firm line here and do not buy (nor will serve) fizzy drinks of any nature. The volumes of sugar and caffeine in them sent slight shivers through me and I just cannot do what I do and support the companies which produce them (read my blog here on the sugar content in drinks). As a 'middle ground' I do buy juice - the 50% less sugar kind and mix it half and half with soda water - along with just offering just soda water. I know there will be a time that my children will consume these drinks while I am not around - but for now I will protect them as much as possible from this. I find putting soda in milk bottles makes the drinks fun (yes even the adults like them!).

3. Cake

Most of you by now know where I stand on having a proper cake (i.e. a sugary, chocolaty creation) at a birthday party - that it is an important aspect of a birthday and learning to enjoy cake just as it is. For my first son's one year old party I actually was the pinterest mum. I spend hours browsing the internet for ideas, sourcing cake making tools and his creation took me 9 hours in total, with my sister helping me at midnight to roll fondant 3 times over. I have now conceded that while I do a pretty good job at creating cakes of the healthy variety - a 'proper' cake (like you should have at a party) is just not my forte. For my recent son's 1st birthday (and eldest son's 3rd) we brought cakes - why oh why did I not do that sooner! So now when my children ask for a certain cake I will just pass on their request to the experts - like Sophie of Lulu's Kitchen who made this divine creation.

Cake - Copy4. Decorations

So the perfectionist in me does like things looking pretty and all colour coordinated. I convince myself that in buying a few of these things like table cloths, paper plates, straws - it will save cleaning up (which it really does) but the real truth is I just like pretending I spent hours designing how it will all look - rather than rushing around the party store on the morning of the party (guilty!). Lots of decorations can now be brought online which is wonderful. I mentioned milk bottles before - these have been a worthwhile 'party investment' I got 40 from Sweet Pea Parties online for my first son's birthday which were delivered to the door and we have used them for all our parties to date! Remember, people do come to see you and your children, not your matching plates and bunting so your not the worst mum in the world if you forgo this part.

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5. Party Favours

I know this is pretty traditional but my 2 cents on this is that it is really not required, especially if you are filling them up with nutrient poor options like lollies and chocolate bars - honestly children just do not need this and it will save you time and money!

6. Savour the Moment

The days of motherhood can be very long and the nights even longer, there are times when you wonder if you will actually survive the next minute....all of a sudden your babies are 1, then 2 then 3...and no longer babies. I don't know about you but I always feel a bit emotional on their birthdays. It's a mixture of 'we survived' with 'I can't believe how much they have developed' all together. One the rapidly coming future our bubs will be celebrating their birthdays in a different way, maybe without us - savour the moment no matter how you do it.
Me and Smushie

xxx The New Mum's Nutritionist

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