The weekend before last was the best weather I could have asked for in February. It started off a little misty but then by 10am it was glorious sunshine which continued through out the day. The perfect weather for a party! Oh wait, no we’re in lockdown #3.
That didn’t stop my daughter having a great day celebrating her 3rd birthday with a whole day of excitement. Determined to make it as fun as the birthday party she couldn’t have we arranged doorstep visits for people to deliver cards and presents, we put some fresh sand in her sandpit, put up a child size gazebo for her picnic lunch and my partner put up her new swing set.
I’d stayed up the night before endlessly baking two Troll themed chocolate cakes and 12 cupcakes and decorating the downstairs with borrowed balloons and bunting from Hunter Gatherings so when my little one came down in the morning there would be her favourite Troll characters on helium balloons, a stream of pink balloons and not one but two chocolate Troll cakes with cupcakes!
Being a nutritional therapist who specialises in child nutrition, I am always conscious about what my daughter eats and how the food will affect her mood and energy levels through out the day so it was important to me to give her a nutritious lunch but one that still appealed to a 3 year old on her birthday!
I thought I would share how different foods affect our children and my tips on how to make healthy birthday party food for a child. It doesn't have to be complicated. Children tend to like plain simple foods and eat small portions. There is always a tendency to over cater for children's parties but they only really sit still for 20 minutes to eat so small finger foods that are colourful and attractive are all you really need.
The foods I tend to avoid are foods high in sugar, ultra processed, unhealthy fats, that contain additives and salt.
Foods I try to include are vegetables, fruit, protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, fibre.
The Sugar Thing
Sugar is the main thing I aim to avoid because they get their sugar fix with dessert at the end and so don't really need it with the main party food too. A recent 2018 survey conducted by Public Health England found that children are consuming double the amount of recommended sugar per day.
Recommendation is for a 4-6 year old to consume a maximum of 5 cubes or 19g, 7-10 year olds 6 cubes or 24g and 11+ year olds 7 cubes or 30g.
A mini cupcake with icing can contain approx 10g of sugar, an carton of apple juice for kids can add up to 13g of sugar and with those two items you've already exceeded your sugar count for the day before you've even got to the slice of cake or jelly.