What is right with today’s birthday parties?

We have been attending quite a few birthday parties suddenly. And its been a great experience for Disha- all the kids, the balloons and the festivity.

But not so great in another sense. Tons of chocolates, creamy cakes, frozen foods- in short a sugary junk haven. And the return gifts!

So,  we are denying our daughter the “good” in life. But, I don’t think sugar will do my daughter any good- may make her hyperactive, may get her hooked on to junk food for life. I do not believe that it will help her gain weight in a healthy way. Anyway, why are we all so hung over our kids weight?

I did not question this way of celebrating until I became a mom. Or for a fact, when we became parents, our outlook towards various aspects of life has undergone a profound transformation.  For the better, I hope.

This made us resolve even more that we need to make sure that birthdays are celebrated, yes, its a special day. But in a way that is in sync with helping our children grow in a healthy manner. Not  by shoving them towards materialism and junk food. Give them something of real use as gifts, if you do want to give gifts.

We have set ourselves up for a challenge!

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10 thoughts on “What is right with today’s birthday parties?

  1. Chetana, Many kids and their parents come to birthday parties with expectations 🙂 What about them? Poor kids, give them cakes. Dieting can wait for the adulthood 🙂

  2. Hi Chetana – here is a recipe for a cake sweetened with bananas and dates:

    5 medium very ripe bananas, mashed
    2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
    1/3 cup oil (sunflower or other tasteless oil)
    1/3 cup warm water
    1/2 TBS yeast
    1 cup dates, chopped
    1/2 tsp salt

    mix it all up, put into a cake pan, let it rise for 1 hour (will double in bulk) and then bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes until done.

    Other treats I have made for kiddie parties are:

    – Remove pit from date and put a peanut (or two) in its place
    – bread with hummous and tomato slice
    – carrot and cucumber sticks with lemon juice and salt
    – fruit salad
    – roll out some pizza dough, put bowls of various toppings on the table and let kids assemble their own pizza. Bake their creations and serve them. You can also use toasted bread as the pizza base if you wish.

    I usually get tender coconuts pre-scored so that I can just open and serve them at the party and it is always quite a hit. I also do “watermelon eating contest” where the kids each get a semi-circular piece of watermelon and eat it without holding it in their hands.

    Do the kids eat these – yes! I also find that one or two games to get the ball rolling are useful in the beginning but once the kids are all together they will play and entertain themselves and you don’t need to conduct games for the entire duration of the party. When I have held the party in an open space I don’t think I conducted any games at all.

    Regarding party favours (I do not use the phrase “return gifts” as it suggests that a gift was expected and that this is “return” for that), last bday party of Ks, all the kids painted and took their paintings home. The same thing took place at a party she had attended before, and kids and parents were happy with it. At another one the host gave every child a seed to plant at home. We have also made masks, sock puppets … There are so many ideas.

    • Thanks Aravinda Amma for the recipe. I tried it out once with whole wheat and next time with sprouted ragi. Both were super yummy. Ragi one was the favorite at home. I added more bananas- around 8 for the ragi, keeping the other proportions the same.

  3. Pingback: Birthday party – let them eat cake? | Ask Amma

  4. Hi Chetana, I thought of you when I recently attended a birthday party held under some trees next to a creek.

    Served were the following snacks:

    chopped fruit arranged colourfully on toothpicks (called “rainbow fruit kabob”)
    chopped carrots, celery, simla mirchi, cauliflower and broccoli
    crackers
    hummous for dipping

    For 2 hours the kids simply ran around, slid down the mud into the creek, played in the water and periodically stopped by the table to gobble some goodies.

    There was cake at the end – we almost had to drag them out of the creek to have it, after which they resumed their games till it was time to leave.

  5. I am newly into parenthood (4 months!) and just reading up things on how to raise a child green, healthy and vegan. I am not sure if I will host parties, but if I ever have to, making it healthy isn’t a big problem. The major problem I see is when he has to go to other kids birthday party. As a child won’t he be compelled to eat the unhealthy, non-vegan stuff served over there due to all the peer pressure? How do you manage that?

    • This article has extensively and very nicely explained the answers you are looking for. As far as we go, we almost always carry a snack from home with us when we go out. But we also do not very strictly control what she wants to taste and explore outside home. Since D is a little older now, we talk about why we avoid or do not eat certain foods. She was very fascinated when she discovered that some people ate animals. And was full of questions on why we did not. She went through a phase when everything she ate was chicken. So imagination helps! Some of my friends skip going to the birthday party and go later. Other friends carry snacks with them or offer dinner/lunch to their kids before they go to a party. We too do variations of these things. There are times when D has cake or ice cream or chocolates and other junk. But we can see that she also has a self limiting ability- she doesn’t finish what she took. Sometimes she just tastes it and then takes off to play or do something else.

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