Throwing a kids’ party can be a fun and memorable event. However, when it comes to serving up party food, it can be a challenge to get the balance right. As a health-conscious parent, you might be unsure of how to provide nutritious snacks for your child's upcoming birthday bash or family gathering. Ideally, you want to offer food that’s healthy, delicious and something they’ll actually want to eat. Read on for some gluten-free, nut-free, protein-rich party food ideas for kids that’s sure to keep everyone happy. Plus, some sweet treats for kids of all ages to enjoy, without (too much) of a sugar crash. Let's go.
How To Keep Kids Fed While Having Fun
Snacks are essential for any kids' party. However, it’s easy to overthink catering for kids, which can create more hassle than is needed. At the end of the day, the kids just need a couple of substantial options to keep them going, plus of course, a few treat foods to make things fun. Make things simple and take whatever shortcuts you need to make the day enjoyable for both you and your little party animals.
Ready-Made Snacks & Party Food Ideas For Kids
Why make things hard for yourself? There's no shame in opening a packet of chips and decanting some into a bowl for a kids' party (or any party!). For some tasty, savoury and ready-made snack ideas, why not try veggie chips, wasabi peas, soy crisps, seaweed rice crackers? Or, offer up a selection of dried fruit for the kids to grab and go as they please. Try tangy and chewy Australian dried mango, dried pineapple, dried apricots and dried apple. Finally, you can't go wrong with a mixed bowl of pretzels. Enjoy classic salted pretzels, milk chocolate pretzels or yoghurt-coated pretzels at your next kids’ party.
High-Protein Party Food Ideas For Kids
Keep the party going with these protein-packed options that are sure to fill bellies and keep up energy levels throughout the day.
- Mini Quiches: Mini quiches are versatile, easy to make, and can be served hot or cold. They also pair nicely with a side of salad for an added nutritional boost.
- Meatballs: Who doesn't love meatballs? Serve them with your favourite dipping sauce alongside some mini forks - the perfect bitesized morsel!
- Baked Chicken Tenders: Chicken tenders are always a hit and can be easily baked in the oven for a healthier alternative to cheaper and less healthy frozen options.
- Tuna and Avocado Sushi: High in protein and great for little hands, mini sushi rolls are an easy snack that kids love! Serve with some soy sauce and watch them disappear off the plate.
Gluten-free Party Food Ideas For Kids
For kids with dietary restrictions, here are some gluten-free party food ideas that will ensure everyone has something delicious to enjoy:
- Fruit and Veggie Cups: Serve individual cups filled with an assortment of fresh, colourful fruits and veggies. They're not only healthy and gluten-free but also a beautiful rainbow treat for kids.
- Gluten-free Pizzas: Use a gluten-free crust, top with tomato sauce, cheese, and your kid's favourite toppings, and you have a party dish that's sure to be a hit.
- Popcorn: Simple, light, and delicious, popcorn is a great snack that also happens to be gluten-free. Try adding different herbs, spices or nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavour.
- Gluten-free Brownies: If you’re really going for a sweet treat, chocolate brownies are a sure shot. They’re easy to make gluten-free with the right ingredients.
Nut-free Party Food Ideas For Kids
For children with nut allergies, it's important to provide inclusive food offerings that they can enjoy without worry. Here are some nut-free party food ideas for kids:
- Cheese and Crackers: Stick to simple cheese and cracker varieties that are free from nut traces. There are many delicious cheeses and nut-free crackers to choose from.
- Veggie and Dip Cups: Fill individual cups with a variety of colourful vegetables and a portion of nut-free dips, such as tzatziki or hummus.
- Mini Sandwiches: Use a variety of fillings like cheese, ham, turkey, or jam. Make sure to check that the bread and fillings are nut-free.
- Fruit Salad: A bright, fresh fruit salad can be a real crowd-pleaser. Not only is it nut-free, but it's also refreshing and healthy.
Delicious & Healthy Drinks To Keep Kids Hydrated
It can be tricky to find drinks that aren't sugary or laden with artificial flavours. Here are some healthier options to try at your next kids’ party:
- Homemade Iced Tea: Serve up some delicious herbal teas like chamomile or peppermint for a caffeine-free beverage that adults and kids alike can enjoy.
- Fruit Punch: Make your own natural fruit punch by blending fresh fruits like oranges, pineapples, and berries with a bit of honey. Add some sparkling water for an extra refreshing touch.
- Kombucha: Kombucha is a fermented drink that's becoming increasingly popular, and is a great alternative to sugar-laden soft drinks. Kombucha has gut-loving prebiotic benefits as well as being delicious and refreshing.
- Fruit-infused Water: Skip the sugary juices and sodas and opt for some refreshing fruit-infused water instead. Muddle up any fruits or herbs you have in the fridge, add them to a pitcher of cold water, and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight for a fruity and healthy option.
- Coconut Water: Coconut water is naturally sweet, hydrating, and packed with electrolytes, making it perfect for all the little ones running around at your party.
Serving Sweet Treats at Kids' Parties
My view is that a kid’s party ain’t a kid’s party without some sweet treats. How you go about serving lollies, chocolates, cakes and fizzy drinks is up to you. As long as there’s a balance of naturally-derived sweet foods and some confectionery to enjoy, you’ve got your bases covered.
These days, you may need to consider varying food requirements for some kids and parents. You might need to include vegan lollies, for instance. It's also likely you'll need to offer some nut-free and gluten-free alternatives for your guests. Also, wherever possible, avoid artificially-sweetened foods and foods with artificial colours and preservatives. These are the foods that’ll send kids sky-high for the day, with some nightmarish energy drops later on. Not ideal for your little guests, and neither is it for the parents!
Here are some classic lollies and confectionery to consider (in moderation) at your next kid’s party:
- Dutch Jelly Babies (made with natural colours!)
- Giant Chocolate Freckles
- Gummy Pythons
- Jersey Caramels
- Milk Bottles
- Red Frogs
- Dutch Salmiak Rocks
- Sour Peach Hearts
- Toasted Marshmallows
- Vegan Strawberry Gummies
Alternatively, you can make more substantial sweet treats for that wow factor at your next kids' party. Here's some inspiration:
- Frozen Yoghurt: Kids love ice cream, but you can make a healthier version by freezing some plain Greek yoghurt with a few berries and honey.
- Fruit Skewers: Put together some colourful fruit skewers with strawberries, melon, grapes and pineapple for a healthy treat that everyone will love!
- Dark Chocolate Bark: Melt some dark chocolate and add your favourite nuts or dried fruits for an indulgent yet nutritious snack.
- Frozen Banana Pops: Dip half a frozen banana into melted dark chocolate and top with sprinkles or nuts.
Wrapping Up Healthy Party Food Ideas for Kids
When it comes to kid's parties, it can be easy to get carried away with sugary snacks. Remember that balance is key. There's no need to forgo tasty treats altogether – just make sure there are plenty of healthy options available too. With some creativity, you can easily whip up an array of delicious and nutritious party food ideas that will keep your little guests energised and happy throughout the day.
Healthy Party Food Ideas For Kids: Recipes
Here are some healthy and delicious party food ideas to make for your next bash.
Classic Chocolate Crackles
Chocolate crackles are a classic Aussie children's party treat that's both delicious and easy to make. This recipe uses dark chocolate for a touch of sophistication and coconut oil for a healthier twist on the original recipe. These have a fun, crunchy texture that kids adore.
- 4 cups of rice bubbles (or any puffed rice cereal)
- 1 cup of coconut sugar
- 1 cup of desiccated coconut
- 200g of good-quality dark chocolate
- 1/4 cup of coconut oil
- Cupcake liners
- Place the rice bubbles, coconut sugar, and desiccated coconut in a large mixing bowl. Stir until well combined.
- Melt the dark chocolate and coconut oil together in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Ensure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir until the mixture is smooth and glossy.
- Pour the melted chocolate mixture over the dry ingredients in the bowl. Stir thoroughly until everything is evenly coated in chocolate.
- Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Scoop the mixture into the liners, pressing down slightly to compact it.
- Refrigerate the chocolate crackles for at least 1 hour, or until they're set and firm.
- Serve the chocolate crackles at room temperature.
Frozen Banana Chocolate Pops
A kids' party isn't complete without a cool, refreshing treat. These Frozen Banana Chocolate Pops are a healthy and fun sweet snack that can be easily made ahead, ready for your next party.
- 4 ripe bananas
- 200g dark chocolate
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- Sprinkles, crushed nuts, or desiccated coconut for decoration (ensure they are nut-free if serving to those with allergies)
- Peel the bananas and cut each into half. Insert a popsicle stick into the cut end of each banana half. Place the bananas on a baking tray lined with baking paper and freeze for about 2 hours, or until firm.
- Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and coconut oil together in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, ensuring the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir until smooth, then remove from heat and let it cool slightly.
- Once the bananas are frozen, dip each one into the melted chocolate, making sure it's fully coated. Allow any excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl.
- Quickly sprinkle your choice of decoration over the chocolate before it sets – you could use sprinkles, crushed nuts, or desiccated coconut.
- Place the bananas back on the baking tray and return to the freezer for another 30 minutes, or until the chocolate has set.
Gluten-Free Mini Pizzas
These gluten-free mini pizzas are a perfect party food idea for kids. Easy to make and fun to decorate, they're sure to be a hit with all your little guests.
For the Pizzas:
- Gluten-free pizza bases
- Tomato sauce/passata
- Grated mozzarella cheese
- A selection of kid-friendly toppings such as ham, pineapple, pepperoni or capsicum
- Preheat your oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Place the gluten-free pizza bases on the prepared baking tray.
- Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce over each pizza base.
- Sprinkle a generous amount of grated mozzarella cheese over the tomato sauce.
- Allow the kids to decorate their pizzas with their favourite toppings.
- Once the pizzas are topped, transfer the tray to the preheated oven.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and bubbling.
- Allow the pizzas to cool slightly before serving.