We can assume that “healthy” is not the best word to describe party food.  It is difficult to plan a child’s birthday party without all the yummy treats that we look forward to at a birthday-bash, however, recipes and treats can be altered to reduce the total consumption of refined sugar and wheat on that special day, and provide the children with more nutritious colourful snacks in place of a highly-likely-sugar-coated-frenzy.

We have put together a few tips for consideration when making more health-conscious party treats:

Reduce total consumption of sugar

  • Use recipes low in refined sugar
  • Replace refined sugar in recipes with sugar-alternatives such as honey, maple syrup, stevia or xylitol.

Reduce total consumption of wheat

  • Use grain-free almond/ coconut flour to make cakes, brownies or cookies
  • Use other gluten-free flours in your baked goods in place of wheat flour
  • Use corn tortillas to make wraps in place of using bread

Add fruity treats – kids love their fruit pre-cut and ready to eat, so create fun colourful displays of fruit:

  • Fruit kebabs
  • Chocolate fondue and fruit lollipops (1 slab of melted chocolate will go a long way!)
  • Chocolate dipped strawberries
  • Fruity ice-lollies
  • Smoothies made from fruit + frozen yoghurt
  • ‘Make you own’ ice-cream sundaes using frozen yoghurt, fruit, nuts, chocolate and sprinkles
  • Banana pancakes/flapjacks with fruit coulis

Add nutty treats

  • Nutty trail mix (make using nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips and sprinkles)
  • Chocolate, coconut and nut clusters
  • Chocolate date balls with nuts, rolled in coconut or sprinkles
  • Oat, nut and seed based breakfast bars/crunchies

Add LCHF treats

  • These Banting-style treats are lower in carbohydrates and high in fat, which increases satiety and keeps children fuller for longer – so they are less tempted to eat the whole cake!

Make a nutritious birthday cake

Cupcakes are perfectly sized for portion control, although a large cake is always a showstopper! There are significant quantities of recipes online that make use of fruit and vegetables as an ingredient (e.g. beetroot, sweet potato, pumpkin, butternut, carrot, zucchini) to make more health-conscious cakes – for example:

Sprinkles can be primarily made from sugar, however the serving size is very small. Nicoletta’s Love Notes and Heavenly Hearts wafers contain no added sugar, while Nicoletta’s Shimmers contain no calories whatsoever.

Reduce hyperactivity

Hyperactivity is always a concern at children’s parties, and sugar as well as food colourants are at the forefront of our minds. The effect of artificial colourants on hyperactivity in children was popularized in the 1970’s. A 2007 study completed by Southampton University suggested that the consumption of certain mixtures of artificial food colours in conjunction with the preservative sodium benzoate, were associated with increased hyperactive behaviour in children. The following additives were tested in the research and are now known as the formidable “Southampton Six”:

  • Azo dye: Tartrazine (E102)
  • Artificial colourant: Quinoline yellow (E104)
  • Azo dye: Sunset yellow (E110)
  • Azo dye: Carmoisine (E122)
  • Azo dye: Ponceau 4R (E124)
  • Azo dye: Allura red AC (E129)

Both the FDA and the European Food Safety Authority independently reviewed the results from this study and each has concluded that the study does not substantiate a link between the colour additives that were tested and behavioural effects. However, what we do know, is that some parents may experience hyperactive symptoms in their children after eating foods high in azo dyes/ some artificial colourants. Whether this is from the sugar usually associated with the highly coloured products/ the colourant itself remains to be known.

Nicoletta’s retail range of sprinkles and icings are free from the above mentioned AZO-dyes. Although natural colours are more expensive and sometimes not as bright/ luminous as artificial colours, Nicoletta endeavours to reduce the use of artificial and azo dyes where possible – because we know that making sure that the colourants in our products are not harmful/controversial will hopefully be appreciated by our customers.

If a product contains only natural colourants – this logo will be evident on our labels.

no artificials

Avoid allergies

These days it is good practice to ask Mom’s if their children have any food allergies on the invitation – this avoids embarrassing trips to the emergency room for any children with serious allergies:

The common allergens to look out for are:

  • Peanuts
  • Tree Nuts (Almonds, Brazil nuts, Cashews, Hazelnuts, Macadamias, Pecans, and Pistachios)
  • Significant cereals (Wheat, Rye, Barley, possibly Oats)
  • Egg
  • Cow’s Milk
  • Shellfish (Crustaceans, Molluscs)
  • Fish
  • Soya