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Healthy Birthday Parties for Kids

03/28/2017 01:32PM ● Published by Hood Magazine

Photo courtesy of Finished Vision Photography

By Kelly Thurman, Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center 

 


A child’s birthday party is a day when healthy eating is often put aside for treats of sugary cake, candy, and pizza.

Amanda Viau, Executive Chef for Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center, said parents increasingly are opting to incorporate healthier options during special events such as birthday parties.

“It’s becoming a trend,” she said. “People are thinking more about health than they have in the past. We want to teach our kids how to eat healthy now because they will someday be making those decisions on their own.”

At a party of any kind, it’s hard to please everybody. But kids also follow each other. If one child is opting for the fruit, the others are more likely to try it, too, Amanda said.

Parents who want to keep party foods healthful should look to fresh, whole foods. “Anything that is overly-processed is usually not so good for you,” Amanda said.

That can be tricky with children, who often are picky eaters. The key is to choose fun items kids can easily grab and to keep in mind a child’s palette isn’t as sophisticated as that of an adult. That means children tend to like sweeter foods such as fruit and certain vegetables. Kids also are drawn to foods by look. If it looks unappealing, they probably won’t want to eat it.

“Things that are bright in color appeal to kids,” Amanda said. “Fresh fruit is always a hit.”

One way to appeal visually to a child’s palette is to have fun with design, taking advantage of the bright colors of fruits and vegetables. One example of this is plating the food to look like Sesame Street characters — use strawberries for Elmo, broccoli for Oscar the Grouch, or blueberries for Grover. Small containers of yogurt dip can be the eyes, while black olives or blackberries can form the mouth.

“Fruit and veggie kabobs are always really popular,” Amanda said. “You can do them ahead and they’re cold.” The kabobs can be paired with a yogurt dip.

Amanda also recommends fresh fruit salsa paired with apple or pear chips. Other healthier options include whole wheat pretzels or Goldfish.

“Macaroni and cheese bars are popular right now. You can make your own mac and cheese, and it doesn’t have to be completely bad for you,” Amanda said. Using whole-wheat pasta and skim cheese cuts down on calories and fat, and adding items like diced chicken, spinach, carrots or tomatoes adds nutrition.

The same can be done for another popular option: pizza stations. By using whole-wheat crust and offering healthy topping choices, parents can make it a healthier choice. Using hummus instead of pizza sauce is another option that Amanda said kids love.

For a sweet and salty option, use a waffle cone and fill it with lightly salted popcorn instead of ice cream.

On the treat side, Amanda is seeing increased requests for fresh fruit cakes, using watermelon as the base and other fresh fruits as the “frosting.” Ice cream sundaes can be replaced by frozen yogurt with fresh fruit.

“Instead of having those candies you’re really just incorporating more fresh fruit,” Amanda said.

Using whole, unprocessed foods also cuts down on allergy risks, though some children are allergic to fruits and vegetables.

“In fresh food, you’ll find fewer allergies than most processed foods. So you’re actually safer,” Amanda said. “If you’re serving things like frozen yogurt and fresh fruits there’s just fewer allergies involved in that.”

When it comes to planning any party, don’t forget to leave time to enjoy it. Do as much prep work ahead of time as possible, Amanda said. For macaroni and cheese, toppings can be prepared ahead of time so that the day of the party all that remains is making the noodles and cheese sauce.

“Keep it simple because you are going to be busy and you don’t want to be so overwhelmed that it’s not fun,” Amanda said. 

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    Getting away with murder can be so much fun… and there’s no better proof than the knock-‘em-dead ...


  • Tot Time

    02/01/2018
    05:30AM — 10:30AM

    Tot time is designed for toddlers and other little tikes, 6 years and younger, who may not be com...


  • Walking Program

    02/01/2018
    08:00AM — 10:00AM

    Location: Morningside Community Center, 2400 South Bahnson Avenue Walking is one of the best w...


  • 2018 Spring Classes

    02/01/2018
    08:00AM

    Register for spring classes at the Community Learning Center at your Washington Pavilion! We want...


  • Skyzone Toddler Time

    02/01/2018
    09:30AM — 11:30AM

    Toddler Time is a great shared experience for child and parent. A time for your little ones to di...


  • Toddler Time

    02/01/2018
    09:30AM — 11:30AM

    Toddler Time is a great shared experience for child and parent. A time for your little ones to di...


  • Little All Stars

    02/01/2018
    10:00AM — 10:50AM

    LITTLE ALL STARS (Walking to 6 years )


  • Wee Play & Learn

    02/01/2018
    10:00AM — 11:15AM

    Come with your child to play, meet other families, and talk one-on-one with child development exp...


  • Inflatables and PlayDome

    02/01/2018
    11:00AM — 08:00PM

    The County Fair has family entertainment for kids of any age—from our inflatables and Play Dome j...


  • New Baby & Me

    02/01/2018
    01:30PM — 03:30PM

    This group for new moms and their babies meets weekly. Moms can join in open discussion on topics...


  • Creative Kids

    02/01/2018
    03:15PM — 04:00PM

    Elementary-aged children are invited to join us for books, activities, and a craft. For more info...


  • S.T.E.A.M. -N- Thursdays

    02/01/2018
    03:30PM — 04:15PM

    Discover science, technology, engineering, art and math through activities. This month's theme: S...


  • A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER

    02/01/2018
    07:30PM — 10:00PM

    Getting away with murder can be so much fun… and there’s no better proof than the knock-‘em-dead ...


  • Walking Program

    02/02/2018
    08:00AM — 10:00AM

    Location: Morningside Community Center, 2400 South Bahnson Avenue Walking is one of the best w...


  • 2018 Spring Classes

    02/02/2018
    08:00AM

    Register for spring classes at the Community Learning Center at your Washington Pavilion! We want...


  • Inflatables and PlayDome

    02/02/2018
    11:00AM — 08:00PM

    The County Fair has family entertainment for kids of any age—from our inflatables and Play Dome j...


  • First Free Friday

    02/02/2018
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    Join us for Free First Fridays, whether you are new to the area, new to the Pavilion, or even a r...


  • Little All Stars

    02/02/2018
    06:30PM — 07:20PM

    LITTLE ALL STARS (Walking to 6 years )


  • Teen Night at Skate City

    02/02/2018
    08:00PM — 11:00PM

    This session is directed toward, but not reserved for, middle to high school aged skaters.


  • MallWalk 2018

    02/03/2018
    08:00AM — 10:30AM

    Pre-register your team for MallWalk 24--Saturday, February 3rd at the Empire Mall! Here's how! ...


  • Walking Program

    02/03/2018
    08:00AM — 10:00AM

    Location: Morningside Community Center, 2400 South Bahnson Avenue Walking is one of the best w...


  • MallWalk

    02/03/2018
    08:00AM — 11:30AM

    Join us as we Walk and Roll for people supported at LifeScape. 100% of Mall Walk proceeds will he...


  • 2018 Spring Classes

    02/03/2018
    08:00AM

    Register for spring classes at the Community Learning Center at your Washington Pavilion! We want...


  • Ice Fishing 101

    02/03/2018
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    Winter is the perfect season to explore your frozen waterways while enjoying the cool calming atm...


  • Little All Stars

    02/03/2018
    09:00AM — 09:50AM

    LITTLE ALL STARS (Walking to 6 years )


  • Tai Chi

    02/03/2018
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    f you are looking for a way to reduce stress, consider tai chi (TIE-CHEE). Tai chi is a gracef...


  • Decorating Days

    02/03/2018
    10:00AM — 02:00PM

    Call us by Friday and you can come in and decorate cookies on Saturday! We do cookie decorati...


  • Morning Skate

    02/03/2018
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    This session is directed toward, but not reserved for, beginner skaters and their parents.


  • Saturday Morning Family Skate

    02/03/2018
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Spend Saturday morning with the whole family at Skate City! Parents skate for FREE admission with...


  • Pioneer Day

    02/03/2018
    10:30AM — 12:00PM

    Bring the family to experience our prairie heritage. Churn butter, make newspaper twists and butt...


  • Inflatables and PlayDome

    02/03/2018
    11:00AM — 08:00PM

    The County Fair has family entertainment for kids of any age—from our inflatables and Play Dome j...


  • Open Gym

    02/03/2018
    12:00PM — 01:00PM

    OPEN GYM (Ages 6-18) $80/10 punch card


  • Bookworms Reading Program

    02/03/2018
    01:00PM — 01:30PM

    Join local celebrities and Zoo Educators for a free story time and animal encounter. Bookworms Re...


  • Weekend Open Gym and Game Room

    02/03/2018
    01:00PM — 05:00PM

    Open gyms are a time for people to drop in to play basketball. If space allows, volleyball may al...


  • Weekend Open Gym and Game Room

    02/03/2018
    01:00PM — 05:00PM

    Open gyms are a time for people to drop in to play basketball. If space allows, volleyball may al...


  • Weekend Open Gym and Game Room

    02/03/2018
    01:00PM — 05:00PM

    Open gyms are a time for people to drop in to play basketball. If space allows, volleyball may al...


  • Weekend Open Gym and Game Room

    02/03/2018
    01:00PM — 05:00PM

    Open gyms are a time for people to drop in to play basketball. If space allows, volleyball may al...


  • Weekend Open Gym and Game Room

    02/03/2018
    01:00PM — 05:00PM

    Open gyms are a time for people to drop in to play basketball. If space allows, volleyball may al...


  • Saturday Cookie Decorating Days

    02/03/2018
    02:00PM — 04:30PM

    Call us by Friday 605-978-0991 and you can come in and decorate cookies on Saturday! We do cookie...


  • SUPER SATURDAY

    02/03/2018
    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    Join us for SUPER SATURDAY each Saturday from 6-8pm! 2 hours of RUNNING, JUMPING, PLAYING FUN! ...


  • Walking Program

    02/04/2018
    08:00AM — 10:00AM

    Location: Morningside Community Center, 2400 South Bahnson Avenue Walking is one of the best w...


  • 2018 Spring Classes

    02/04/2018
    08:00AM

    Register for spring classes at the Community Learning Center at your Washington Pavilion! We want...


  • Sensory Sensitive Sundays

    02/04/2018
    09:00AM — 11:00AM

    Chuck E. Cheese's is proud to support families who have children with autism and special needs. W...


  • Sensory Sensitive Sundays

    02/04/2018
    09:00AM — 11:00AM

    Join us from 9AM-11AM Chuck E. Cheese's now offers a sensory-friendly experience on the first Su...


  • Yoga

    02/04/2018
    09:30AM — 10:30AM

    Bring your yoga mat for a one-hour session in the warm, lush Butterfly House. It's a peaceful, se...


  • Inflatables and PlayDome

    02/04/2018
    11:00AM — 08:00PM

    The County Fair has family entertainment for kids of any age—from our inflatables and Play Dome j...


  • Weekend Open Gym and Game Room

    02/04/2018
    01:00PM — 05:00PM

    Open gyms are a time for people to drop in to play basketball. If space allows, volleyball may al...


  • Weekend Open Gym and Game Room

    02/04/2018
    01:00PM — 05:00PM

    Open gyms are a time for people to drop in to play basketball. If space allows, volleyball may al...


  • Weekend Open Gym and Game Room

    02/04/2018
    01:00PM — 05:00PM

    Open gyms are a time for people to drop in to play basketball. If space allows, volleyball may al...


  • Weekend Open Gym and Game Room

    02/04/2018
    01:00PM — 05:00PM

    Open gyms are a time for people to drop in to play basketball. If space allows, volleyball may al...


  • Weekend Open Gym and Game Room

    02/04/2018
    01:00PM — 05:00PM

    Open gyms are a time for people to drop in to play basketball. If space allows, volleyball may al...