How can we maintain a fun atmosphere while still integrating healthy natural principles into our lifestyle? In today’s era, being natural is an up and coming trend. Everywhere we look, we find references to gluten free living, as well as other natural strategies for healthy living. Incorporating healthy and natural strategies into daily living can be easy with regular planning. With special events like children’s birthday parties, it can take a little more effort to be creative. Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Let’s start with the birthday cake. Sticking to gluten free is relatively easy today—there are a variety of gluten free cake mixes available. With many of these mixes, they require that you add in the sweetener. To make a healthier cake, you can substitute the regular sugar in the recipe with palm sugar or coconut sugar which are lower glycemic, or maple sugar which is rich in minerals. As for frosting, there are some fun recipes that combine cocoa powder, butter substitute such as earth balance, palm oil shortening, and natural sweetener such as honey or coconut sugar. Another great frosting recipe combines maple cream, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, a small amount of milk substitute such as rice milk, with a dash of sea salt. This recipe can be found on the blog: naturallivingfamily.com.
2. Party Favors—Avoid Candy! Even without sweets, party favors are treasured by young ones. Consider offering children’s books as favors, or maybe some stickers and colored pencils. Some other ideas include creating your own party favors such as homemade chocolate lollipops that are naturally sweetened and dairy-free. A great chocolate recipe can be found on the blog: naturallivingfamily.com. It combines cocoa butter, cocoa powder, honey, vanilla extract and sea salt. Once the mixture is poured into candy molds with lollipops sticks and hardens, you can then remove the chocolate lollipop from the mold and wrap it in a fun way.
3. Feeding Your Guests: Birthday parties often fall during mealtime where serving food is an essential requirement. Pizza is the most common food to serve at children’s parties and can easily be made gluten free. There are many different ready made gluten free pizza shells that can be purchased or your can make your own. In addition, more and more pizza restaurants are offering gluten free pizzas and often, they will deliver. In addition to pizza, you can offer a fruit salad or fruit ‘kebobs’. Some other ideas found on www.eatright.org include baked sweet potato strips, fruit smoothies in small cups, and peel-and-eat edamame.
4. There are lots of natural and fun environmentally friendly ways of decorating for parties. Some creative ideas recommended on www.attachedtoparenting.com include hanging a clothesline and wooden clothespins and attaching paintings or drawings by the birthday child. In addition to artwork. You could also hang photos of the birthday child from various years of the child’s life. Of course balloons are always a welcome addition to any party. Another great place to find ideas for natural homemade birthday party decorating is on www.pinterest.com.
The key to offering a healthy natural environment for your child’s birthday party is planning time, and even more importantly, a little quiet time for brainstorming. There is a wealth of creative ideas out there, many of which can be accessed through simple internet searches on sites such as www.marthastewart.com. As a parent, particularly one that is so committed to raising a healthy natural child, it is important to loosen the reigns at times. As my husband often says, if only to reduce future rebellion. But equally important to consider is where the reigns need to be loosened. Giving refined sugar to our children at a birthday part is easily avoided while still maintaining a super fun atmosphere. The first step is not assuming that the childhood we experienced many years ago is the standard for today. Just because we may think that our child would be devastated if we don’t offer sugary lollipops as a party favor, doesn’t mean that they actually will. Try offering fun healthy suggestions first and take it from there!