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Healthy Party Snacks for Mainstream Guests

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Hey everyone!  At the end of the month I'm having a birthday party for my two girls. There will be about 10 children and 10 adults, including myself, my husband, and our children.  Everyone coming is pretty mainstream, the kids usually drink soda, and most parties we go to are riddled with junk food and HFCS drinks.  

 

My DH wants to have iced tea (both sweetened and unsweetened) and water, and that's it.  Both in pitchers.  I'm ok with that- it's all we drink here (though I am a Dr. Pepper lover and have some when I go to work once a week!).  I just don't want to feel like I'm not being a good hostess, and not catering to my guests needs (wants?).  The same goes with the children.. would I be rude only offering water?  

 

And snacks.. I'm not *too* worried, but I was planning on a veggie tray, a cream cheese ball and crackers, hummus and pita/pita chips, and spinach and artichoke dip.  I was planning on doing the carrot cake from the Waldorf Kindergarten snack book, and cream cheese frosting (with minimal sugar).  And fruit salad on the side.

 

Can anyone help me out with ideas?  What about that drink situation?  If water and iced tea won't suffice, what should I offer? 

 

Also, the party is after lunchtime but before dinnertime for 3 hours.  

 

No guests have any food allergies or dietary restrictions.. only my children, who are sensitive to artificial dyes and we limit sugar.

 


Edited by WindyCityMom - 12/6/11 at 11:04pm
post #2 of 25

Given the time of year, I would say HOT tea and maybe cocoa for drinks + water.

 

If you want relatively festive & somewhat healthy cold drink, I would recommend an orange juice punch.

 

Take plain frozen concentrated orange juice and make according to the directions.  Then add a couple of bottles of seltzer water before the party. Instead of ice cubes, scrub  a couple of oranges  really well and slice them thinly into  rounds and then freeze. Before the party, add the frozen sliced oranges & they will keep the punch cold and won't thin it out the way ice cubes would.

 

re: food - sounds good, but maybe pop a few big bowls of popcorn? Relatively healthy & the kids would probably like them more than the pita  & hummus, cheese & crackers, & spinach and artichoke dip. Those seem to be more "grown up" type snacks.

 

Have fun!

post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input!  I forgot about popcorn- I was going to do that as well.  

 

The orange juice punch sounds really good!  How much seltzer water to orange juice?  An approximate ratio, maybe?

 

I was wondering if cucumber sandwiches would be good for the younger kids.  Or would that be weird?  Would your kid eat a cucumber sandwich?  What if it was cute, like this? 

441162355_d65ab87ec7.jpg

 

What about those veggie puffs?  They're like cheetos, but.....not.  Haha, I don't know how to explain it.  Let me google.... like these:

 

veggie-stix.jpg

They seem like a healthy alternative to chips, which there are usually a overabundance of at our family parties.

 

 

 

post #4 of 25

If your guests are really quite mainstream, they will probably still think alot of this is weird. Sorry, I've just BTDT. I do think the veggie straws are a good idea, you can also get organic cheese puffs (Bearitos or Barbaras) and "natural" cane juice sweetened soda (Blue Sky or Hansens). An easy way to figure it out is to go to Costco (if you can) and get all the organic snacks they have. THAT is what really mainstream people can wrap their minds around, especially kids. I hope this all doesn't sound too critical or judgmental. You are absolutely correct in wanting your guests to feel comfortable while maintaining something of yourself.

PS i do like pp suggestion of hot drinks too. And I do think you should have some of the food you have planned for the adults, but I wouldn't go to the trouble to make so many different things for so few people.

post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jess in hawaii View Post

And I do think you should have some of the food you have planned for the adults, but I wouldn't go to the trouble to make so many different things for so few people.



I am quite fond of leftovers ;)

 

 

I'm probably going to get a few boxes of Annie's snack mix on Amazon (yknow, the bunnies!).  I did that last year and it was a hit with the kids.  I just really wanted to try and stay away from prepackaged stuff... 

 

I want there to be balance, both for the guests and for our family.. but sometimes I feel like I should stop trying to please people so much.  I go to parties where it's summer, and the coolers are full of pop and HFCS drinks, and have to bring my own water for my kids, and am ok  with it.  I wish I could just serve homemade, healthy stuff and call it a day.  I guess the things you (jess in hawaii) mentioned are good mediums, though.

 

 

post #6 of 25

Considering you're in a cold part of the country, and it's December, I would absolutely go with some warm foods/drinks.  A crockpot of hot apple cider is always popular - add water before heating it up, since the crock pot will evaporate some of it (and most people won't be able to tell if it's watered down).  A warm dip like artichoke, maybe something like a fondue if you can borrow a fondue pot.  But if you want to stick to room temp food, that would also be fine - just minimize the cold foods.  

 

For DS' 1st bday, we had about 30-40 people, most mainstream.  We served hummus with a veggie tray, a plate of cheese, a plate of cold cuts, a basket of rolls (to make sandwiches), crackers, and a plate of fruit cut up for little fingers.  Nobody gave us any weird looks, or said anything about the food being weird.  And most of it disappeared.  We did have a cooler with Hansens sodas in it, but it was also the hottest day of the year.  For a winter party (which my bday parties always are), I never serve soda, I stick with hot apple cider (maybe eggnog) and plan to put a kettle on if anyone wanted tea. 

 

Honestly, at this time of year, so many people have so many parties, and there's so much junk food and so many cookies/candies/pastries that most people get sick of it.  I'd stick with simple and warming. 

 

I like the idea of a big bowl of popcorn, but personally I'd skip the "chips" and the bunnies.  You have enough food for 10 people.  But that's me. 

post #7 of 25
Honestly, OP, none of the food you're planning to serve strike me as odd. A cheese ball and spinach dip are pretty mainstream fare. I wouldn't bother with the chips and such, either.
The only thing I'd suggest is buying some juice (or making the PP's punch) for the kids. We don't do juice normally but I've noticed that visiting children seem to expect it. My three-year-old seems to accept that juice is an occasional treat and doesn't demand it when it's gone.
post #8 of 25

I wanted to suggest a warm winter drink - gluhwein.

 

http://dreamingofwinter.blogspot.com/2009/08/gluhwein-recipe.html

 

It makes the house smell divine, too.

post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 

That sounds so good!  I don't even know how to pronounce it, though, lol.  Unfortunately it needs to be a zero alcohol party- I have a 17yo sister in law that um.... yeah.   I wonder if there's a way to make it virgin.  I don't drink either- heck I turned 21 in June ;)

post #10 of 25

It wouldn't be quite the same, but I bet if you used something like a cranberry/grape juice combo it would be very similar and yummy, but non alcoholic. Also i think you can evaporate off the alcohol by boiling, but I am not sure how long you would need to.

post #11 of 25

My dd would like fruit, cheese, whole grain crackers, or pretzels for snacks. She would not eat cream cheese, hummus or dip of any kind. She would not touch cucumber sandwiches no matter what shape they are. Dh and I would eat whatever was there.

My dd will drink juice, iced tea, lemonade, water, soda pop, hot chocolate, and apple cider. She would not touch hot drinks at all when she was younger.  I would happily drink water or iced tea year round but I would still offer punch, juice or soda pop in addition to that at a party.

 

Deviled eggs always show up at all of our family gatherings.

Dd liked this cracker recipe.    http://smittenkitchen.com/2011/03/whole-wheat-goldfish-crackers/#more-7210 I use a small star cookie cutter for our crackers or just cut them with a knife into squares.

 

post #12 of 25

My dd invited her whole class for birthday for K and 1st grade, and they are as mainstream as they come.

 

We just served water, nothing else, and the children were fine with it.  The kids didn't even notice that there was nothing else.  I was grateful because I did not want to spend all of my time cleaning up juice spills.

 

The parents noticed, and were very grateful. All of the children, especially my dd, inhaled the veggie straws.  The popcorn didn't get eaten, nor the pretzels, but maybe because they were next to the veggie straws. 

 

Unfortunately, no one touched the hummus. 

 

I offered grapes and bananas, and some of the kids liked that. 

 

I think your cucumber sandwiches are gorgeous.  I would eat them.  But, no, I don't think my dd would eat them, and she used to love cucumber sandwiches.

post #13 of 25

Hot cocoa

juice 

unsweetened apple cider

 

post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleDouble View Post

I wanted to suggest a warm winter drink - gluhwein.

http://dreamingofwinter.blogspot.com/2009/08/gluhwein-recipe.html

It makes the house smell divine, too.

takes me back to the christmas markets in germany smile.gif
post #15 of 25

re: punch  - I don't really remember the proportions. Maybe  try in a glass  1/2 juice & 1/2 selzter (or soda water) and see what you think?  Then maybe try a bit more seltzer? 

 

Once you know what proportions you like,  wait until shortly before the guests arrive to mix it (prevent it from going flat).

 

 

 

post #16 of 25
Thread Starter 

Ah, thanks! :)

post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by jess in hawaii View Post

Also i think you can evaporate off the alcohol by boiling, but I am not sure how long you would need to.


Actually, you can never evaporate all the alcohol.  I believe with boiling you can get it down to about 20% of it's original content (90 minutes of boiling), but you can never get it all out...  you can read about it here: http://www.ochef.com/165.htm

 

 

post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by cristeen View Post


Actually, you can never evaporate all the alcohol.  I believe with boiling you can get it down to about 20% of it's original content (90 minutes of boiling), but you can never get it all out...  you can read about it here: http://www.ochef.com/165.htm

 

 

Wow! Thank you! I am totally a food science nerd, this was very informative smile.gif
 

 

post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleDouble View Post

I wanted to suggest a warm winter drink - gluhwein.

http://dreamingofwinter.blogspot.com/2009/08/gluhwein-recipe.html

It makes the house smell divine, too.

This is definitely going to be an addition to our party next week! smile.gif

I think all your food sounds good, I had a lot of the same things for both our DD's birthday parties. Most kids liked the hummus, we added a sour cream/ranch dip and we had slices of cheddar and monterey jack cheese for the crackers which went fast. Veggie straws would be a hit but I wouldn't bother with the bunnies. Fruit salad was completely eaten by all but I had it separated into piles of each fruit because of some kids not liking some kinds.
Deviled eggs, also eaten by all kids but I don't think any of them would eat the cucumber sandwiches except the adults, which would be nice for them. I think the adults would really love the hot dip too and I bet the cider would go great. We had nothing but water and no one thought it was weird. There were mostly healthy families but with some mainstream also.
post #20 of 25

A variation on the wine theme - this dessert (Pere al Vino Rosso):

 

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/5044/poached-pears-in-spiced-red-wine

 

Dh makes it, and his recipe always includes cloves. He serves pears with whipped cream and reduced sauce. It's absolutely delicious!

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