How To: Healthy Party Foods For Kids
June 26, 2019
A faux cake is a great way to add fun without the sugar! Healthy Party Foods for Kids

Make Healthy Party Foods fun for kids

How To: Healthy Party Foods For Kids

We've been talking low sugar party menus for a while now and why it's important to cut down on our sugar consumption.  (kids and adults alike!) Some of you are on board {welcome!} But some need a little more help. This my friend is a post just for you, the “How To” of healthy party foods for kids. We'll start easy and work into the fun stuff! And most of these ideas work just as well when planning healthy party foods for adults as well.

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How Can I Have A Healthy Buffet?

  • Cut down on food quantity
  • Reduce dessert options, two choices is usually fine
  • Base desserts on fruit
  • Ditch the candy. Use dyed popcorn, beans, or rice as decor instead.

Make healthy party foods fun!

  • Color coordinated food
  • Add accessories
  • Creative food name labels
  • Create food art
  • Sweet alternatives

Cut Down On Food Quantity



As adults we think: Food = Party

But even when a party is during mealtime, children are rarely able to wind down enough to eat a proper meal. Whenever I make lots of food for a children’s party, I end up with… you guessed it, lots of food left over! So keep it simple. Give them variety but don't make much of any one thing.

Do Kids Need Food At All?

For an OFF-meal time, you may not need more than a cake and ice cream. Also consider cupcakes, smoothie bars or yogurt popsicles. These compact pre-portioned treats are simple to serve and even easier to eat. Bonus: you reduce the need for an additional dessert plate and spoon.

BUT it's always nice to balance the sugar with a little actual sustenance. {“Best healthy party snacks” coming soon}

Reduce Sugary Options

Fondant shark cake topper

It's ok to have a few treats. This IS a party right? But instead of a dozen darling cake pops, sculpt a fondant masterpiece for a cake topper. So you still get your wow factor but kids get their sugar in other ways.

Healthy Party Foods Start With Fruit

Chocolate strawberry owls by Foodbites

Using fruit as the base of any treat is a win. It tastes great and is flexible enough to become a decorative treat in it's own right. I follow Foodbites on Instagram for amazing fruit art inspiration like these strawberry owls (or penguins)!

Bushel of apples for girls night harvest party ideas

You can also get custom imprinted fruit like these Harvest Party apples from Fun to Eat Fruit. The perfect party favors for any theme!

Ditch The Candy Buffet 

Rainbow colored popcorn in glass vases down the center of a table set for an Art Party

Use fun colorful items that relate to your theme and display them instead. Are people really eating all those jellybeans in the apothecary jars? How about swapping them out for vases of rainbow colored popcorn? Save some money and calories by making a simple switch. This centerpiece cost me $16 to create!! {Find out how to DIY it for your next party!!}

Rainbow centerpiece from my our Party Like Picasso birthday. Snag the flags for FREE here. 

Make Low Sugar Party Foods FUN

There are so many ways to make healthy party foods appeal to kids. Even picky eaters could be enticed to try something new. You never know what a child might like until they have a chance to taste it! After a few tries, they just might decide they like it!

Color Coordinated Food

Low sugar party menus can still be fun! Like this prehistoric dinosaur plate

With your theme you've most likely chosen a color palette. Use these colors to guide your food choices. The very best healthy party foods start with fruits and veggies. Our green dinosaur party menu featured tons of herbivore friendly veggies, green grapes, kiwis, and homemade gummies.

Nature has provided a whole spectrum of foods so we can literally “eat the rainbow“.

Rainbow grilled cheese Unicorn themed birthday party ideas

But when nature fails…food coloring comes in handy! Try coloring the cheese for your next sandwich! And a few sprinkles never hurt! More Unicorn party foods here.

Add Food Accessories

Why I Say NO to Dessert Buffets | Halfpint Design - Kids these days already consume way too much sugar. Let's give them all the fun without the crash. Making regular food fun! Cantaloupe sailboats for a nautical party.

Turn ordinary food into something special by adding accessories. Cantaloup slices become simple sailboats from Catch My Party.

Be Creative with Food Labels

Kiwi and Bugles make Brachiosaurus tails and dino claws using food labels at a dinosaur birthday party

Food labels are great for turning those grapes into ” Dino Eggs” and kiwi as sliced “Brachiosaurus tails” from our Prehistoric Dinosaur birthday party. Creative naming can sometimes even encourage picky eaters to branch out. Be creative with the menu and even simple items can take on a personality for the party theme.

Shop Dinosaur Party Food Labels HERE

Create Food Art

Dragon veggie tray and Dragon eyes for Dragon Party

Make A Creature

Turn the food into a character, bug, or animal like this veggie-based charcuterie dragon!

Why I Say NO to Dessert Buffets | Halfpint Design - Kids these days already consume way too much sugar. Let's give them all the fun without the crash. Make food fun! Eating a crab-wich is way cooler.

Or these crab croissants from Tuesday Morning

*Pro Tip: Creative food production can be time consuming so I like to save these for the top layer of the platter for optimal display. Let’s face it; even if you DID have time to make 30 of these hermit crab sandwiches {which you don’t}, they’d all get piled up onto the tray anyway. Some will be hidden, and many won’t even be eaten.

4th of July Decoration Ideas for a festive table

Make Shapes

Create a fruit tray like our American flag tradition. Serve it up with yogurt and make patriotic parfaits.

Sweet Alternatives

Watermelon Cake

Why I Say NO to Dessert Buffets | Halfpint Design - Kids these days already consume way too much sugar. Let's give them all the fun without the crash. A watermelon cake is a great alternative to a birthday cake.

Serve a watermelon “cake” for a summer birthday with a decorative topper.

Banana Bread Cake

Butterfly Banana bread cake alternative a healthy party foods for kids

Make a banana bread “cake” for that smashcake tradition.

For my daughter’s first birthday she still hadn’t consumed much sugar and I wasn't too excited for the “smashcake” tradition. So I made a banana bread cake sweetened with agave and frosted with cream cheese. It tasted way better than the store bought cupcakes! She loved it and we didn’t have to deal with the sugar crash at the end.

Faux Cake

Decorate a faux cake for a centerpiece or purchase a beautifully crafted faux cake for your theme.

Decorated Frozen Bananas

Girl eating frozen banana Healthy party foods for kids

Serve frozen bananas instead of ice cream. Dip bananas in peanut butter or yogurt and let the kids add their own toppings. You can fit the toppings to any holiday, like these Halloween mummies!

Healthy Donuts

apple donuts on a tray - Healthy Party foods for kids they'll love

HAVE that Donut birthday party or Baby Sprinkle, with a twist…using Apple Donuts instead, or in addition to!

Healthy Party Foods

Do you think any of these ideas for healthy party foods can be used to transform your next party menu? Such simple things make a huge impact and you may just get a picky eater to try something new. The better kids eat, the brighter their futures! Let's all cut down on a little more sugar together. And if we do it right, I promise you won't even miss it!

Pin it for later

Healthy Party Foods made fun

Additional Healthy Party Foods Reading:

Until next time my friend,


  1. Brenda Mani

    I love the choc covered strawberry owls…do you make them for people??? I am not talented like this!

    • Brianna Adams

      The owls are so much fun! I actually did not make them myself and I don’t think the lady that did sells them. But if you showed this to someone in your area that does confection work I’m sure they’d be able to re-create them for you. The candy eyes can be purchased:

      And the noses are candy covered sunflowers seeds but a yellow tic tac could work too.

      Best of luck!!

  2. Memon ali

    Thanks for sharing this quick updates

    • Brianna Adams

      You are so welcome. There are so many ways to make it fun AND keep it healthy.

  3. Donna Moynihan

    love this site

    • Brianna Adams

      Thank you! I really love what I do. I appreciate you taking the time to let me know.

  4. Jackie

    it’s always a challenge to ensure there’s a good balance of kid friendly food at any party. Love these suggestions!

  5. Susan @SugarPartiesLA

    I love all the great ideas you always share !

  6. Holly

    Such good healthy ideas! I always appreciate non-sugary options. Fruit definitely has enough natural sweet!

  7. Beth

    Bri, this is a wonderful post! We’re all about healthy snacking and especially love all the fruit ideas–especially the Fun to Eat Fruit apples and strawberry penguins!

  8. Sarina Kinnunen

    You are so good at up with healthy food ideas. I really like the apple donuts with sprinkles. They look like real donuts! Oh and that fun sprinkles grilled cheese sandwiches! How fun. Thanks for the ideas!


    So many great ideas! I love the idea of serving healthy food options at kid’s parties, but kids come to expect a sugar overload. Making healthy food options fun like these ideas is a great way to get them excited about eating the healthy food!!

  10. Jennifer

    I love all of these fun food ideas but the strawberry penguins are my favorite! Thank you for putting these together! SO helpful!

  11. Lori

    What great heathy ideas!! I’m all for better choices at any celebration!! But I love how much fun you can have with kid food! I especially love the owls & crab croissants!


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Nice To Meet You!

Gingerbread houses in a row as table runner centerpiece for a Christmas Cookie Exchange Party I’m Bri of Parties With A Cause. I’m a mother to three crazy awesome kids, interior designer, & party planning junky. I love reading, globe trotting, and frozen yogurt. And I’m elevating the party experience one cause at a time! Read More

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Healthy food substitutions lists

Grab the Healthy Food Substitutions List for BEGINNERS

If you're ready to improve your lifestyle and the health of your family, join me in the "Healthy Hostess" movement. Where we serve great food to the people we love. With food that nourishes the body and events that feed the soul. Use this food subtitution list to plan more intentional holidays and gatherings. Collect healthier recipes, less stuff, and more meaningful memories, with me at Parties With A Cause. 

You are on your way to Healthier events! One food substitution at a time.

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