Party Food for Children
Party food for children can be simpler than party food for an adult party. But, feeding children at a party is not without problems. There are some things you must consider, and parents are at the focus of this consideration.
Among the considerations a party for children causes with regard to party food for the children is dietary considerations. Some children are unable to eat certain snacks, especially foods with nuts or peanuts, which are not technically in the nut family. This is the result of food allergies, a condition a child might fail to report.
Another problem is forbidden foods to members of a religion. This might be as simple as pizza if both cheese, a dairy product, and meat are both present.
The problem might be a parent being concerned with sugar. Or with any of a number of other foods.
A successful party is respectful of restrictions, even those you do not agree with them.
What Foods Make a Party Fun for Children?
Unlike a party for adults in which people mingle with a small plate of party food, children are more likely to sit and eat as a group, then pursue other activities. So, party food can be different.
Pizza is often a good choice. You need something substantial other than snacks. Other possibilities are hot dogs and hamburgers. Small hot dogs and hamburgers in the form of sliders can work. One thing that might also work is chicken fingers provided there is no objection to fried food.
The food need not be fancy. Children like the things they normally enjoy on a regular basis. It may be possible to offer finger sandwiches, and that might make parents happy, but it is not likely to impress children. Adding potato salad or mac and cheese might make the food more filling, and these could be acceptable.
Children get dirty when playing. Sending a group of children to wash up at one time is asking for trouble. Have them go in smaller groups to wash their hands. To minimize dirty hands food can be served before play begins.
Hand sanitizer may kill germs, but it might not remove whatever is on the hands of the children. Also, children are apt to complain about the chemical odor, and become reluctant to eat after applying hand sanitizer.
What Does Not Work
Passing trays of food does not work, nor does having a table set up buffet style containing the food. Passing food requires people to be ready to eat as the tray passes, not as a group. Setting a buffet table does not consider children are not likely to understand portions, and it only takes one or two children to deplete a food intended for the entire group. Correcting them can cause friction with their parents, so it is best to serve the food to them.
If it is a birthday party, the birthday cake is a must, although cupcake trees now can substitute. Other desserts can be cookies. Candy is a problem for those who are not allowed to eat sugar.
If something is not allowed for a child, do not point it out. Make it appear the child selected something else. Singling out a child can cause more problems for that child even after the party is over.
Use Plenty of Plates and Napkins
Paper plates and napkins are a must. Plastic plates can be used, but they may be offensive to environmentally conscious parents. But you certainly do not want broken plates, nor the burden of washing plates or napkins. Plastic utensils can be used, and probably are small enough to avoid criticism.
Drinks are likely to also be served, and paper cups are in order.
You can use the plates and napkins to help decorate the party. These are available for many party themes.
An inflatable cooler for the drinks can also help with the party décor.
For party food safety please read Party Food and Safety. Party food is often out for a period of time. Make certain the food is safe when eaten. There are items available to help with this.
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