“What is she doing up there?” My husband and I exchanged annoyed glances. It was 9 p.m. and our 3-year-old was still banging around her room hours after her normal bedtime. No, she wasn’t sleep walking or sick or in distress. She just hadn’t come down from her post-birthday party sugar high yet.
When you are a parent, it is hard not to get excited about your child’s birthday. Her pure joy and love of that day spills over to the entire family, and you can’t help but get swept away. You want to make that day as special as possible, and part of that includes the right food.
Our daughter had spent the afternoon consuming insane amounts of candy, birthday cake and ice cream, so she was not falling asleep any time soon. But those sweets were not the only source of sugar. Sugar is sneaky and hides out in all our favorite birthday party foods, like pizza sauce, boxed mac and cheese, even chicken nuggets!
No one looks forward to a sugared-up toddler, so what’s a fun-loving, health-conscious parent to do? Serve green smoothies and kale chips for the party? There might be a riot!
But there are easy and delicious ways to make rich, beautiful party food that’s good for you too. Don’t believe us? Here are three of our favorites.
Mini Whole Wheat Pizzas
1 can refrigerated whole wheat biscuits
¾ cup pizza sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup chopped pizza toppings (this recipe used turkey pepperoni, turkey sausage, onion and green pepper)
1. Preheat oven to 375 F degrees. Mist a muffin tin with cooking spray.
2. Split each biscuit into 2 halves (an 8-biscuit can will yield 16 mini pizzas) and press each half into a muffin tin (16 total).
3. On each pizza, sprinkle a heaping tbsp. of mozzarella, a heaping tbsp. sauce and desired toppings.
4. Bake 15-20 minutes and serve.
Baked Chicken Nuggets
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
Extra virgin olive oil
½ cup whole wheat bread crumbs
3 tbsp. parmesan cheese
¼ tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Combine the breadcrumbs, parmesan, garlic salt and Italian seasoning in a shallow bowl.
2. Coat the bottom of a medium bowl with olive oil (a few tablespoons) and add the chicken pieces. Toss to coat, then coat each one in the breadcrumb mixture.
3. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray and arrange the chicken nuggets on it. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn and bake for an additional 3-5 minutes, until cooked through.
4. Serve with ketchup, honey mustard or barbecue sauce.
Pineapple Ice Cream
2 cups diced pineapple, frozen
¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
3 tbsp. fresh-squeezed orange juice
2 packets powdered stevia
1. Pour all ingredients into a food processor and blend on high.
2. Enjoy right away or freeze for later!
Treat bags are another favorite hiding spot for sugar. It’s always fun for the little guests to leave the party with a thank you gift, but no one wants more sugar or tiny toys that will just pile up in the playroom. Here are some of our favorite fun, quality toys for your favorite party-goers.
Small coloring books & crayons
Little picture frames for party pictures