By Sofia Potente
So I have a confession. I used to dread going to kids’ birthday parties. Don’t get me wrong – I love the socialising and seeing my boys have fun. But I’d also have a teeny sense of dread about how I’d navigate the ‘food situation’.
Before you remove us from your party invitation list, hear me out. For years, we saw a direct impact of the food my son ate during the day, and how he slept at night time. His chronic gut issues and food intolerances meant an excess of sugary, processed, wheat-based or additive-filled foods would keep him awake at night with tummy pain.
So I’d arrive at each party in Helicopter Mum mode – armed with gut friendly party food and ready to distract my toddler from the brightly coloured foods that called for his attention.
Thankfully, after several years on a gut healing protocol, he is now able to handle the odd bit of ‘junk’ without huge consequences at night time. So parties are now much more enjoyable and Helicopter Mum has retired.
BUT I still can’t help but wish that there were fewer Red Frogs, and more wholefood options at kids’ parties. Yes, Fairy Bread is an ‘occasional treat’ or only ‘every now and then’ but the reality is that kids’ parties are actually more often than we think. There seems to be a constant reason to have these party foods – play dates, morning teas, special themed days, celebration days and sometimes just because ‘they deserve a treat’. But is it really a treat if it leaves the kids bouncing off the walls, having a meltdown or with a tummy ache at the end of the day?
Now call me a party pooper but isn’t the fun of parties about playing with their friends and having a great time, rather than eating brightly coloured, processed foods?
Now this doesn’t mean kids need to miss out. Here are 10 wholefood options for kids’ party food that they will actually eat – all are gluten and dairy free so less likely to upset their tummy. And remember – keep it simple! I’ve deliberately chosen fuss free options that won’t have you in the kitchen all day.
- Fruit, fruit, fruit. Nature gave us the most colourful, sweet treats in the perfect package – fruit! Try fruit cups, fruit kebabs or fruit platters. Just don’t overdo it – as fructose can still upset some sensitive tummies.
- Meatballs – try this delicious, easy recipe – I’ve substituted the breadcrumbs for buckwheat flour and it turns out well. Stew in a plain passata sauce or serve with tomato sauce for extra taste.
- Sushi or rice paper rolls – find a local fresh caterer for a simple, stress free option that everyone loves!