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Party Food that is Kid Approved!

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Let’s be honest.  When you have a house full of kids, none of them are going to sit down for a plate of asparagus, drizzled with a delicious lemon sauce!  Maybe at a party for the Queen, but the only queen around here is my drama queen, Erica!

Since our house tends to be the gathering place, I find it helpful to have some fun foods on hand.  On typical play dates, the kids friends are only allowed to eat pretzels.  This has been our standing rule for a very long time! Otherwise, my food bill would consume me.   However, I of course make exceptions when we are babysitting, or kids are staying all day, having a late night, or spending the night.  These are my secret weapons! The things that get eaten 99% of the time we have other kids over.

GRAPES:  We had 4 kids over late on Friday night, with two of them staying all night.  These kids are great. Whatever food I put out, they eat. If I put out chips, they would eat the chips. But of course I didn’t put out chips, I put out grapes.

DSC_1216 Within a few hours, they had eaten them all!   All $6 of them!

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POPCORN: Need I say more! You can’t go wrong with popcorn!! We buy 8lbs at a time of popcorn kernels. (less than $0.20 for the entire bowl)

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CHEX MIX While this may not be as popular around here as plain old popcorn, it gets eaten sometimes.  Although I have to admit, chocolate chips or M&M’s are usually the first thing to go.  I mix such things as

  • popcorn
  • pretzels
  • dried fruit
  • nuts
  • chocolates
  • cereal

Spread it out on a pan. Spray some butter flavored cooking spray and sprinkle with cinnamon. Then bake for a few minutes, just until the cinnamon sort of melts onto the mix.

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CINNAMON CRISPS or CINNAMON CHIPS

These easy “chips” were just made with whole wheat tortillas.  Sprayed with butter flavored cooking spray, and sprinkled with cinnamon. Baked until crispy. The neighbor kids love these. 8 crisps (one whole tortilla), approximately $0.30

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Olives and cheese (one stick, $0.20 if I get the string cheese on sale.)  Or just a bowl full of olives.  Some kids like these, some don’t .  Completely unpredictable.

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DRINKS: Water.  I always have plenty of cups.  We have the water dispenser on our fridge, and as long as there is cup access, they feel the comfortable enough to get their own water, anytime!  The benefit: I don’t freak out when it spills… and it ALWAYS SPILLS!

So, what snack food do you put out when there are extra kids in your home for sleepovers, hanging out, parties, etc?


25 Comments

Love these ideas for kids party food. Not sure the olives and cheese sticks would be a big palette pleaser but the presentation is kid-kool! Our new Fun to Eat Fruit delights kids. Love to hear your comments…http://funtoeatfruit.

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I love your fruit Beth! Great idea! Sometimes presentation is everything. I know my kids would love to see something fun on their apples.

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Vennesa

I don’t like olives, but some of my kids do. I think those cheese/olive sticks are a great idea. We do grapes, popcorn, granola bars and homemade cookies.

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We like to eat “Magic Wands” They are basically just fruit kabobs sprinkled with coconut. The kids love them.

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Pretzels are my “too many kids are here” snack, too. Baby carrots are popular. Once I served blanched broccoli. That disappeared. The little-friend’s mom was shocked that her daughter ate broccoli; she usually hates it. Then she said she only serves the frozen kind. The blanched is so much firmer and sweeter.

Canned pineapple chunks are a hit, too, but $$ for too many kids.

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Eliece

I put out a bag of baby carrots Saturday and the next time I came in the room, they were GONE! I had a neighbor kid asking me if I had another bag. Goes to show that kids will eat what you give them, doesn’t have to be sugar. I like your popcorn idea.

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Eliece- I totally agree! Kids are great. Especially when they surprise their own parents like that.

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LOVE these ideas!!! Love how CHEAP they are, too. Thanx! I also love your pretzels only rule for your daily standby. I am definitely going to start doing that, as I’m discovering that our house is also becoming the neighborhood hang-out, and you know, where there are kids, they are HUNGRY! :)

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I’m convinced, based on your post, my experience, and the experience of those who commented, that kids will eat a super-nutritious diet if you present them with healthy choices. Give them greasy chips and that’s all they’ll eat. But put out a healthy spread, and they’ll gobble it right up. My go-to snack for a crowd is fruit smoothies. My sons’ friends adore them. Basically I just blend together 100% fruit juice with frozen fruit, banana, and lowfat fruited or vanilla yogurt. The choice of juice and fruit varies depending on what’s on hand. Banana/strawberry and orange/mango are huge crowd pleasers.

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We buy the 8lb container of kernels and Costco, and we pop 1/3 cup at a time in a paper sack in the microwave! It lasts us at least 6 months!

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When we have a lot of kids over, I serve tons of water and fruit. Watermelon, strawberries, grapes and pineapple are the favorites. Popcorn and pretzels are popular as well. the kids will eat what you serve them, so I try to limit the sugar. Great tip on the popcorn at Costco and the smoothies for friends – thanks.

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Karri

Standard snacks here are:

-plates of fresh veggies (cut up into bite-size portion seems to be key, I’ve found young guests to be much more willing to try something if they can just pop one bite in their mouth, and served with hummus NOT dressing or dip)

-fresh fruit (here, I like to leave it whole, it limits portion servings better, and fruit shouldn’t be as carte blanche as fresh veggies, or set out in portioned servings)

-homemade trail mix (a mix of whatever unsalted/unsweetened nuts, seeds, raisins, etc. my discount grocery store had that month)

-homemade granola bars (again, served in single servings, not bite-sized, to encourage appropriate portions)

-homemade whole grains (biscuits, breads, waffles, etc. – all made with a mix of whatever grains I have on hand, flax, oatmeal, millet, spelt, wheat germ, etc.)

-homemade pickles (made without alum)

-homemade applesauce (no sugar added, the right mix of tart and sweet apple varieties yields an applesauce that simply doesn’t need any more flavor!)

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Liz

How do you do the popcorn in the microwave? Do you just put it in a paper lunch bag? Does anything else go in it? How do you keep it closed? How long do you usually put it on for? I’d like to try that!

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Karri

No problem Amy. You know what I think would make an interesting blog discussion this week? Healthy Easter candy alternatives. My kids wanted to do plastic Easter eggs this year because we’ve never done them, and we compromised by agreeing to do plastic Easter eggs for the big family hunt this weekend – but filled with *healthy* options.

So far we’ve come up with grapes, a seasoned popcorn, mini homemade granola bars, but I would love some more ideas, maybe some more festive ones (festive I am not that good at!)

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emily

I have seen several posts where you are using the butter flavored spray. Why? Making homemade butter is easy and fun for the kiddos, costs less and only has 1 ingredient (whipping cream). You can melt it and brush it on the tortillas just as easy and then you aren’t feeding your kids chemicals

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It’s true Emily- we’ve been using a lot more butter these days.. we still buy the spray for cooking eggs and such, but butter for other foods.

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Sandy

Buffalo Chicken Dip w/ Tortilla Chips, goes a long way w/ teen boys and they love it.

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