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Birthday Party Food & Sweets
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Birthday Party Food & Sweets
My kids must be getting older (they're elementary school age)
because now they're coming home with candy from birthday party
pinatas and goodie bags, in Valentine's Day cards from classmates
(despite the school's ''no candy'' policy), Easter egg hunts... No
more of the ''healthy snack'' and ''candy alternative'' stuff that
was always enforced in preschool! Anyway, I'm trying to figure
out how to moderate my kids' consumption of the candy that they
bring home after these occasions. I would say this comes up at
least once a month.
For Halloween, we follow the ''three day rule'' (eat as much candy
as they want for three days, then throw out the rest), as it has
been recommended by dentists and on this parents network. I
figured this was just a once-a-year thing, which I can live with,
but have been caught totally unawares by these birthday parties,
etc! Should I allow them the ''three day rule'' whenever these
other occasions arise? Or let them eat a few pieces post-party
and go straight to the ''Switch Witch''? (Though somehow I dislike
the idea that I would have to ''bribe'' my kids to not eat candy by
playing the ''Switch Witch'' every time.)
I will say that we don't usually keep candy around the house;
however, I normally do allow my kids other sweets (cookies, ice
cream) in moderation--so I'm not interested in hearing opinions
about avoiding refined sugar, etc. Thanks.
Confused about candy
We also experienced the same problem when our son hit elementary
We allow desserts 1x/week at home (I can't control the birthday
goodies that are distributed at school without making my teacher
do more policing than she already does and make my child a social
outcast which I don't want to do, over this issue anyway). So,
if my son brings home candy from parties, school, etc., I remind
him about what day of the week is dessert week and then we put it
away until then. If he asks for it that night, I bring it out and
he has a piece. Usually after eating one piece he never asks for
it again and I simply throw it out.
Good luck! HOpefully someday the food will change to something
We take every piece of candy my son recieves on all
holidays/parties, etc and we put it in this big glass jar. It
is unbelievably FULL, with every kind of candy you could imagine
(and we never buy candy). Then we let him pick a piece from the
jar after dinner. He doesn't always remember to ask for it, and
we don't remind him if he doesn't ask. But when he says ''where
is my after dinner candy'' we pull down the jar and let him pick
whatever he wants. That way we don't throw it out, his
consumption is always moderate (I know some think one piece of
candy every other day is outlandish sugar consumption, but we
will have to agree to disagree on that one), and he feels happy
and in control. Its worked really well for us. I even
sometimes ask him ''do you mind if I have a piece of candy from
your candy jar''? If he says yes, then I can have a piece. If
he says no, then too bad for me! He usually says yes, and it
makes him feel really good to share.
a little candy never killed anyone
This may not work with your kids for sure, but it works wonders
with mine: I say, ''Have one piece of candy, then we'll put the
rest in the freezer and save it for the next time we go to a
movie.'' I ended up, at first, with a huge freezer bag full of
candy, but eventually realized that the candy was completely
forgotten. So (cue in evil mom laugh here) I threw it all away. I
did the same with the Valentines and Easter candy. Mind you, I do
not toss it right away. I make sure the candy is good and
forgotten first. There is always a new collection of candy around
the corner that seems to help the forgetting along. Good luck!
Can anyone send out some ideas they have regarding food options
for a 4yr old birthday party. I don't want to serve pizza
(love it but tired of it).
I'm not sure who is attending the party, but I just did a 4
year old party for my son a few weeks ago. He loves any food he
can dip in something. So I took him to Trader Joes's with me
and he picked out a wide variety of dips that sounded good to
him and a bunch of dipping items--bread, veggies, fruit, etc.
We had a dipping party! It was a lot of fun and he ate quite
well. It's also very easy to do. I made a fruit dip with yogurt
and a little fruit spread, but otherwise I bought the dips.
At my daughter's 4th birthday I served a large tray of
sandwiches (egg salad, pb&j, creamcheese & jam) on a variety of
bread and used cookie cutters to make them into fun shapes. The
kids seem to really enjoy them. I broiled a large fillet of
salmon and had a salad for the adults but noticed that the
adults ate the sandwiches too.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches with the crust cut off and
cut into triangles or squares. Or hot dogs. Protien is a good
start before the cake. Cut up watermelon and grapes. And maybe
pretzels or those natural cheese puffs or something crunchy.
I don't remember doing this, but apparently the Annie's Mac &
Cheese with frozen peas that I added were a hit with the kids at
my daughter's b'day party last year. You don't have to do
annies, but mac & cheese is usually easy and usually universally
loved. Peas adds a veggie that kids don't mind much.
This year for a joint party for my 2 and 5 year olds we made mini
sandwiches with cookie cutter cutouts. They took a bit of work
to make (maybe 1 hour for two loaves of bread) but were just the
right portion for small kids and could be done ahead.
You need a small (about 1'' or so) cookie cutter and fairly firm
but not too crumbly bread to make this work easily. Take two
slices of bread, set aside one, cut four cutouts in the four
quadrants of the other, assemble the sandwich using the whole
slice of the bread and the slice you've cut out of, cut the
sandwich into quarters. Use leftover cutout centers to make mini
sandwiches (very popular with the kids). We did almond butter
and jam, cheese and meat, and cream cheese and jam, and I used
white bread for the tops and wheat for the bottoms, from similar
shaped loaves. On average the kids ate maybe 1+ tiny sandwiches
each (ie, two slices of bread makes enough for ~ 2-3 kids). We
also had pretzels, grapes, carrot sticks and cake.
Another party we attended at a park had a variety of snacky foods
(goldfish crackers, raisins, veggie tray, etc.) set out, but also
quesedillas. The mom said she did them all at once in the oven
wrapped in foil: just stack tortilla, cheese, tortilla, tortilla,
cheese, tortilla etc. and wrap the whole mass in foil and bake
for a while. They were still slightly warm even after an hour or
two at the park, and the kids loved them.
Ask your kid for suggestions - at least you know one kid will
love it! In general I find it hard to underestimate how much
kids will eat at parties, even the sweets.
I just had our 5 year old's birthday party and was really
successful finding food for it at Costco. I picked up finger-y
foods for the kids... cheese, veggie tray, pretzels, nuts,
grapes... and then a tray of turkey wraps and a tray of club
sandwiches for grownups and daring kids. The best part was that I
didn't have to cook a thing. The kids were revved up and more
excited about the cake then anything. I had food leftover and I
felt like other than the cake I didn't serve icky stuff and
everyone was relatively happy. Happy party!
My daughter's 2nd birthday party is next month. We are having it
at the Albany YMCA Kindergym on a Saturday from 3:30 till 5:30.
Since this falls right during dinner time for many toddlers, we
are going to serve some food along with the cupcakes. My
question is: what can we serve that is not too messy but that
toddlers will like? I thought about pizza, but my daughter
doesn't like it, so I don't know how the other kids will feel.
Will kids (and their parents) be satisfied with finger foods
like veggies, fruit, cheese, olives? Or, should I figure out
something more substantial?
I always like to serve PB&J sandwiches cut into shapes with cookie
cutters (stars, hearts, etc.)at toddler parties. If you don't want to
do PB do cream cheese and jelly or just strawberry flavored cream
cheese. Also, mini bagels, taquitos, chicken nuggets (traderjoes has
yummy ones). Pasta salad is also popular. Have fun!
Mac and cheese is always a winner with kids and adults. (You can even
make a vegan version with brown rice pasta and vegan ''cheese''--I know
because we make this for our wheat/lactose intolerant son.) Clarisse
We're going to have a picnic-in-the-park birthday party and want
to bring (cater?) food without having to barbecue (so we can
enjoy the party). Any recommendations for types of food and/or
specific restaurants that cater?
How about pasta salad, chips, dips, crackers, cheeses, rollup
sandwiches (made with lavosh bread, cream cheese, vegies,
turkey), pre-made chicken. Or you could do deli platters and
We used Rick & Ann's near the Claremont for our son's 3-year
birthday party. Go to their Web site (I think it's
www.rickandanns.com) and check out their offerings and prices.
You can email them with questions and arrange for pickup at
your convenience. The food is awesome and I thought reasonably
priced compared to some other places we checked.
We just had my son's 1st birthday party at a park. We had Togo's
sandwich trays, which were awesome. We got two trays that each had
three kinds of sandwiches to choose from. You can pick any type that
you want. They were ready to go right on time (right when they opened),
and they were very helpful and friendly... I got them from the Togo's at El
Cerrito Plaza. We just supplied chips and drinks (and a cake, course)
and were able to enjoy the party!! Have fun!
Check out the fried chicken boxed meals at Albertsons. We did
that for one of my son's parties. It was pretty inexpensive and
included potato salad or macaroni salad and bread. If you
combine this with bagged ceasar salad mix (very cheap at Costco)
it should be pretty easy to pull off.
a lazy mom
My son has a summer birthday and I have had success preparing a
variety of salads. Something with meat, something totally
veggie and some sort of third option. The food always
disappears and it's easy to move around. Usually it's warm so
the food temp is appreciated.
this page was last updated: Oct 3, 2012
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