Fixing fun party food for kids doesn’t have to mean opening up bags of junk food. By using natural ingredients, you can eliminate preservatives, refined foods, trans fats and excessive salt from your party snack trays. With the assortment below, you can meet the challenge of accommodating a wide range of food preferences, making sure there is something for everyone. Pique the curiosity of the young party-goers by introducing foods they may not have tried, but that taste so, so good and are healthy, to boot.
Chips With Dairy-Free Guacamole Dip
Fix this savory salt-free snack with low-salt or salt-free corn chips, veggie chips, potato chips or any other chips cooked with trans-fat-free oils. Into the open bag of chips, toss in a few dashes of chili powder, onion powder and garlic powder. Close the bag and shake to distribute the seasoning. Serve the chips plain or for dipping with a dairy-free guacamole made simply by mixing mild green salsa with mashed ripe avocado–or, for a salt-free option, by using fresh lemon juice instead of the salsa.
Maple Popcorn Squares
These scrumptious popcorn squares are an alternative to caramel corn. Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. Air pop 1 cup of popcorn in batches and set aside. Over medium heat, melt 2 cups of pure maple syrup and 4 tbsp. of butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Remove from the heat when a candy thermometer reaches 260 F. Stir in a tsp. of natural vanilla flavoring. Immediately pour the maple syrup candy over the popcorn, toss and mold into the baking dish. Cut into squares and serve when cool.
Kids love vegetable crudites, too–especially with these vegetables. Offer black olives, roasted red peppers and fresh organic raw green beans tossed with extra virgin olive oil and fresh garlic. If you can get them, add fresh water chestnuts to your tray–the kids will be amazed at their sweet, crunchy taste, which is much better than canned. Buy hard, unbruised water chestnuts from your local farmer’s market or Asian grocery store and prepare them by washing, peeling and slicing them.
Call these almond-stuffed dates “candy roaches” to get a giggle and a shudder out of the kids at the party. They will love them despite the name. Insert a roasted almond into each fresh or dried pitted date. For variation, stuff some dates with toasted shredded coconut.
Offer a tray of whole grain crackers with an assortment of toppings, including cashew butter, jalapeño jack cheese, Swiss cheese and cheddar cheese.
Creamy Fruit Salad
To plain yogurt, add pure maple syrup or brown rice syrup, a squirt of fresh lemon juice, cut-up fresh pineapple, banana slices, pecans and dried tart cherries.
Natural Bug Juice
In batches using a smoothie blender, Vita-Mix machine or any blender that can handle frozen ingredients, blend a gallon of water with 3 cups unsweetened frozen strawberries, a tsp. of vanilla and a 12 oz. container of unsweetened frozen apple juice concentrate for a sweet, natural drink.