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Party Food: General Tips

The main thing to remember with kids' party food is this: keep it simple. Even if you're a gourmet cook and really enjoy cooking, save your skills for adult parties. Food is a must-have, but much lower on the priority list for kids than playing games with friends, opening presents, and eating cake and ice-cream. So keep it simple and rely on standard kid foods, and be prepared to let your nutrition standards slip a bit (many kids consume more sugar at a birthday party than they do in an entire month, but fortunately it probably won't happen that often).

Your party theme and time of day will influence the type of food you'll want to serve. Some parties, such as a Mexican Fiesta, Tea Party, or 4th of July Party, really need certain foods to support the theme. Keep in mind that if you have a slumber party or overnight campout, you'll need to provide dinner, evening snacks and breakfast as well.

If serving a main meal, consider giving each child has his/her own Food Box. You can buy colored boxes from craft or restaurant supply stores, and decorate them with stickers, stenciling or designs to go with the party's theme. Some suggestions for the box contents include a veggie dog, pizza slice, celery and carrot sticks, a bag of chips and a box drink.

Here are a few other general party food tips:

  • Check with parents beforehand to determine any food allergies or special diet considerations for guests (kosher, vegetarian, diabetic, etc.)
  • Consider using pre-prepared, take-out or delivered foods for a party (many pizza restaurants will deliver to just about anywhere, including parks and schools)
  • Plan on 1-3 drinks per child and have extra on hand. If they're playing hard, they can really down a lot of beverages; supply plenty of water as needed
  • Serve everything in small (but repeatable) portions
  • Presentation can make all the difference: make the food look fun, with edible faces, or dress up the serving dishes with small plastic characters; cut sandwiches into shapes such as stars and hearts, etc.
  • If the parents are likely to stay for the party, you'll need extra food

Food boxes with kids party food

cupcake with tons of candles