Party Foods for Kids & Adults

by Peggy Epstein
A party menu can be planned to please kids and grown-ups.

A party menu can be planned to please kids and grown-ups.

At large gatherings of family and friends, hosts often feel the need to prepare two menus: grown-up food and kid food. However, by coming up with ideas for party foods that please both groups, the party givers not only save on time but also create a family-friendly atmosphere. They also provide instant entertainment when guests get involved in preparing menu items.

Considerations

Creating a party menu for both kids and adults is challenging; however, it helps to keep in mind that for kids’ food, even food at a party, it is first all about appearance. Even putting together a recipe made from foods kids like will not guarantee they will even try something new. That’s one reason that letting guests participate in creating party food is a successful option for entertaining families. For some items, having two variations on one menu item works; for example, a host could serve plain cheese pizza and a more sophisticated pizza with artichoke hearts, capers, spinach and mushrooms for adults.

Wrapping It Up

Using wraps, such as tortillas and pita bread, guests can create individualized creations to suit their tastes. For example, while a parent might take full advantage of platters filled with grilled chicken, tomatoes, lettuce, sliced avocados, chopped onion and shredded cheese to wrap in a tortilla, the child might enjoy simply creating a tortilla filled with cheese. Grilled lamb and feta cheese might fill an adult’s pita bread wrap, while kids might like a hot dog with pita bread as an alternative to a bun.

Filling Your Bowl

Handing kids and adults small bowls to create various menu items is a way to serve the same food but with variations. For example, letting guests create their own perfect version of a trail mix is one option for a party snack. Using small spoons, guests fill the bowl with options like sunflower seeds, chocolate chips, dried fruit, cereal and nuts. Serving fruit salad the same way guarantees less waste; everyone serves themselves only the fruits they like, placing them in individual fruit bowls. Pasta is served the same way, with a choice of sauces on the side.

Morning Anytime

A party menu, any time of day, that is made up of breakfast favorites pleases kids and adults. Slight variations add to the fun. For example, for kids, bettycrocker.com suggests creating a piggy pancake: a small pancake with two holes for a snout is placed on a larger pancake; blueberries make the eyes and two small pancake halves become ears. Meanwhile, more sophisticated pancake choices for adults might be pancakes made with the addition of crumbled bacon. Chocolate chip waffles suit kids, and waffles with various fruit and nut toppings are a possible choice for adults. When serving French toast, kids’ portion are cut into toast strips.

Cautions

When serving party food to both adults and kids, especially those they will take part in preparing, it’s important to keep in mind that food allergies might limit the choices for some guests. By asking ahead of time, the host will not have to rush around during the party trying to find alternative treats. Placing serving spoons into candy dishes and serving individual portions of chips and dip will help hold down the germy practices of grabbing up a fistful of candy and dipping chips that have already had a bite taken out of them

References

  • “Dad Cooks Up a Party: The Complete Guide to Entertaining Family and Friends”; Bob Sloan; 1996
  • “Petit Appetit: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry: Easy, Organic Snacks, Beverages, and Party Foods for Kids of All Ages”; Lisa Barnes; 2009

About the Author

Peggy Epstein is a freelance writer specializing in education and parenting. She has authored two books, "Great Ideas for Grandkids" and "Family Writes," and published more than 100 articles for various print and online publications. Epstein is also a former public school teacher with 25 years' experience. She received a Master of Arts in curriculum and instruction from the University of Missouri.

Photo Credits

  • party food image by Bartlomiej Nowak from Fotolia.com