Sue Joy | 98five blogger
Do you find it easy to make healthy choices most of the time but then let yourself down when birthday parties come around?
Is making yummy healthy food too difficult to achieve? Do you worry about fussy eaters and that they may screw their noses up? Maybe you don’t have the time to prepare a healthy version of everything. Then there’s the issue of trying to impress your guests who may be expecting chips, lollies, cakes, sausage rolls, etc.
This can be completely intimidating. But hosting a ‘healthy’ birthday party may not actually be as intimidating as it sounds. Your guests may actually, even if secretly, be happy about being provided with better options, especially if they have a food allergy.
Who knows how many additives you would find in the typical party food of chicken nuggets, sausage rolls, frankfurters, biscuits, lollies, birthday cake, Cheezels, and fairy bread (preservatives, colours, flavour enhancers, MSG, gums and thickeners — just to name a few).
Additives in food can cause the following symptoms in sensitive people: headaches/migraines, insomnia, behavioural problems, asthma, nausea/vomiting, rashes, heart palpitations, difficulty concentrating.
You may be wondering where do I start? Where do I find recipes? Where do I find the time for prepping and baking?
It is harder than just popping to the store and you’ll need to plan but think of the health benefits to your loved ones. I will help you with the recipes and your time. You will predominantly use a food processor or blender to assist with the speed and ease of prepping. Most of these recipes can be made ahead of time or frozen. I think you will feel a lot better with yourself and accomplished when putting in the effort to provide healthy options, what a great example you will be to your guests. It’s a compliment when your guests enjoy the food and don’t realise it’s additive-, grain- and dairy-free.
Here are some recipes to make your birthday celebrations that much healthier but have the same amount of yummy.
Most importantly, the birthday cake.
As not everyone is into chocolate, I have a Pineapple Coconut Cake with Lemon Icing, which can be served a few different ways, and then of course the Chocolate Birthday Cake with Marshmallow Frosting.
The Pineapple Coconut Cake with Lemon Icing (also with a nut-free option, see recipe ingredients) can be made into a no-fuss slab cake drizzled with lemon icing, or into a double layered birthday cake or cupcakes.
My Chocolate Birthday Cake is an impressive large moist and fudge-y cake. It’s a perfect cake to bake ahead to save time when preparing for your party. I like to use my Chocolate Frosting as a filling and Marshmallow Frosting for the top and sides, and decorate with fresh strawberries. It can also be made nut-free.
This is more an adult treat for your guests: Raw Pecan Slice that can be made up to one week beforehand and kept stored in an airtight container in the fridge or frozen for up to a month.
There’s also crispy Chocolate Cookie for your party, which are so quick and easy to make. They have no eggs, gluten/wheat or dairy and can be made into a delicious nut-free version (perfect for school lunch boxes too). My grandkids love them!
And some Chocolate Avocade Muffins are delicious with their moist mudcake texture. The addition of fresh avocados, not only helps with the texture, but gives you lots of healthy heart fats. I’ve topped them with macadamia nuts and raw cacao nibs, but they’re also delicious topped with Chocolate Frosting. They can be made two days ahead and stored in an airtight container.
My yummy Mini Pizzas are perfect for a birthday party. The bases can be pre-made and frozen. The flour combination makes a strong base that holds up well. They are free of gluten, grains, soy, eggs and nuts. Have a pizza-themed party! You could put out bowls of different toppings and have the children top their own pizzas.
Here’s some further savoury ideas for your party:
Salmon Patties (make into small finger-food size)
You can find lots more party ideas in my Christmas e-book — Paleo sausage rolls, Salmon Pate and Sesame Crackers, Cucumber Appetizers, Popsicles and more.
Children like to eat food off toothpicks or skewers. Why not make some vegetable and fruit skewers, or ham, pineapple and cherry tomato skewers. A platter of vegetable sticks and hard boiled eggs will look colourful as a centre piece. You could also make gummies made with pureed fresh fruit, coconut water, a little honey and gelatin, and set in shaped molds.
Traditionally when the party is over a child goes home with a bag of lollies. It is seen as a gesture of thanks for coming to the party. So why not break the trend of what has always been done. A gift bag in itself is a fabulous idea but think outside the box: glowsticks, $2 toys, bubbles, a box of dried fruit (preservative free). Or have a big lucky dip box where upon leaving each child is able to reach in and grab a lucky dip present. Parents will be sure to thank you when their child goes home without a bag of sugar and food colouring.
Enjoy planning your healthy birthday party!
Sue joins Mike on Mornings fortnightly on Mondays.
Sue is Perth born and bred, married to her soulmate Bryan (40+ years) and together they have three adult sons, three daughter-in-laws and four grandchildren, with more on the way. Family is one of Sue’s greatest pleasures in life. For the last 15 years of her working life, Sue has managed Chiropractic clinics. She is a member of her local independent Baptist church, enjoys teaching Sunday School to young children and is the author of THE JOYful TABLE cookbook. Sue has battled with Chronic Fatty Liver Disease, arthritis and digestive issues and decided to conduct her own research on what food choices could help her conditions. These choices culminate under what is termed a ‘paleo lifestyle’. susanjoyfultable.com | Follow Sue on Facebook | Instagram