While most parents ordinarily try to encourage healthy eating habits in their families, when it comes to children’s parties it can be all-too-easy to give up in the face of what seems to be an inevitable explosion of fairy bread and blue food colouring.
However, with a few simple swaps, strategies and creative recipe ideas, kids’ party season doesn’t have to a nutritional write-off and can be healthy instead.
I’m often asked at my workshops how families can keep their child’s sugar consumption, nutrition and food choices in balance when they’re constantly swamped with party invitations. So, to help you survive your child’s next celebration, I’ve put together some simple healthy swaps and top tips for both partygoers and party hosts around food.
Have a plan of action.
Before the party, discuss what your child thinks is an appropriate number of treats to indulge while they are there. While they may not strictly stick to what you agree on, at least they’ll know they need to slow down. Plus, by coming to an agreement together, it is much easier to set boundaries than if you simply lay down the rules on your own.
Make sure your little one is hydrated before they get to the party. A thirsty child is going to be tempted by sugary cordials and fruit juice, and because thirst mimics hunger, a thirsty child will also be more inclined to eat, eat, eat.
Fill little tummies with protein-rich foods before the party too so they don’t arrive hungry. Some nutritious options include Broccoli Tots, Beef and Veggie Meatballs, Veggie Quinoa Bites or even some Beetroot and Spinach Bliss Balls.
When they get to the party, encourage your child to fill only one plate of food and even hold the plate for them if necessary. It’s better that they keep coming back to their plate for food than straight back to the indulgent party table.