Put down the fork and knife and make life easier by serving finger foods at your child’s next party. Swap out cake and ice cream for cupcakes and ice cream sandwiches. Replace large slices of pizza with bite-size pizza rolls. Look for foods that won’t make a mess or leave a trail of crumbs and skip foods that need a dip or condiments, unless you are looking forward to cleaning up trails of ketchup and splatters of ranch dip.
Portable Cake and Ice Cream
If you’re throwing a birthday party, some form of cake and ice cream is a must. But you don’t need to serve crumbly, large slices of layer or sheet cake or drippy scoops of ice cream. Serve mini-cupcakes that children can eat in a bite or two instead. You can arrange the tiny cupcakes in a pattern that spells out “Happy Birthday” or the child’s new age if you have enough. Give the children ice cones instead of bowls. Avoid drips by packing the ice cream deep into the cone, leaving only a small mound on the top.
Fresh Fruits and Veggies
Set out a tray of fresh vegetables and another tray of fresh fruit at your next party. Other parents may be glad to see healthy food on offer instead of the usual chips and sweets. Serve vegetables and fruits that are already bite size, such as cherry or grape tomatoes, baby carrots and berries to cut down on prep time. Avoid serving fruits that will turn brown quickly, such as apple slices and bananas.
Hand-Held Main Dishes
If you are serving lunch or dinner at a child’s party, give the children a wide range of hand-held food options. Some children love chicken nuggets, while other might go wild for fish sticks. Cut back on the mess by serving miniature versions of other popular favorites. Replace hot dogs on buns with pigs in a blanket. Serve pint-sized sliders, instead of full-sized burgers. If you go the pizza route, consider tiny pizzas made on bagels, English muffins or pita bread instead of slices from a large pie.
Other Snack Ideas
Give children a range of finger food snacks to choose from. Set out bowls of pretzels and potato chips for the less-adventurous eaters. Spread triangles of pita bread with a thin layer of hummus for children with more exotic tastes. Set slices of cheese on the top of crackers and arrange on a platter. Make sandwiches, such as peanut butter and jelly or grilled cheese, cut into quarters and served on a tray.
Other Dessert Ideas
If birthday cupcakes won’t be the main attraction at a child’s party, offer a range of other finger food-style desserts. Serve petite cookies, such as mini-chocolate chip or oatmeal cookies. You can also spread the cookie dough into a sheet pan and serve the cookies as bars instead. Fudgy brownies are popular with children. Turn the brownies into ice cream sandwiches by slicing them in half width-wise and spreading a layer of ice cream between the two halves.
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