Create healthy, affordable partiesBirthday and other parties are great opportunities for family and friends to come together and celebrate.
By: By Mary Schroeder, Extension Educator, The Republican Eagle
Birthday and other parties are great opportunities for family and friends to come together and celebrate.
With the increased cost of food and entertainment, a birthday party that doesn’t cost too much may seem impossible.
There are several easy ways to make these celebrations healthy, active and inexpensive.
The foods you serve at a party can be healthy, without your guests even knowing it.
Serve raw vegetables for color. Choose baked chips instead of fried chips. Offer 100-percent fruit juice mixed with club soda instead of soda pop. Frost cakes with a small amount of frosting or whipped topping. When serving the cake, top it with fresh, frozen or canned fruit.
You can create excitement at parties by trying new and different foods. Offer a fruit tray that includes different varieties of apples. Try grilled turkey or veggie burgers instead of the traditional hamburgers. Sample foods from different cultures.
To save money, try serving snacks or a “mini meal” instead of a full meal. Ideas may include a fruit kabob made from mandarin oranges, strawberries, and bananas, smoothies or small sandwiches.
Save money by preparing less expensive snacks that will feed a lot of people, such as watermelon slices or popcorn.
Make preparing a meal part of your party activities.
Making a homemade pizza can be fun and less expensive than ordering a pizza from a restaurant. You can make the crust from scratch or try refrigerated pizza dough. Refrigerated biscuit dough or English muffins can also be used to allow guests to make their own mini pizzas. Top the crust with pizza sauce and toppings such as hamburger, veggies and cheese, limiting choices to three toppings if the ingredients stretch your budget.
Being active makes everyone feel good. Keep your guests active during the celebration.
For younger children try traditional games such as “Duck duck gray duck,” “Simon says,” or “Red rover, red rover.” For older children and adults do the limbo, conga dance, kick ball or scavenger hunt.
Parties can be a low-cost, fun way to bring people together.
Mary Schroeder is a health and nutrition educator with University of Minnesota Extension.