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  • Writer's pictureTracey

Real Food in the Real World: Birthday Parties

Updated: Nov 17, 2019


plates of food

Birthday parties can be tricky when you’re trying to feed your kids real food. My oldest daughter has never met a stranger so I’ve had several opportunities over the last few years to figure out the best way for me to manage staying within our real food guidelines while still allowing my kids to have fun and eat foods similar to their friends at parties.

All three of my kids react differently (from behavior problems to eczema outbreaks) when they are exposed to gluten, dairy, food dyes and refined sugar; so those are the things we avoid or at least minimize when choosing treats and making baked goods.

Since birthday cake is almost always on the menu, I send my kids with cupcakes because they are easy to transport and basically the same as a slice of cake. I started out making a batch of cupcakes before each birthday party, but that quickly turned out to be too much work with each invite. So, I came up with a better way to keep them on hand and I’m going to share that with you today along with a list of treats that work well for us to send to parties for them to eat. These aren’t things that they get to eat every day, so they get pretty excited about them and they aren’t too far from the foods that their friends are eating. I hope this will give you a few ideas for your next birthday party if avoiding gluten, dairy and food dyes and minimizing processed sugar is something you’re trying to do too.

Prepping your cupcakes:

- I bake a big batch of 24 cupcakes (gluten, dairy and refined sugar free) in a parchment paper wrapper

- Let them cool to room temperature - this is important!

- I take 4 cupcakes in their wrappers and place them on a large square of plastic wrap.

- Make sure to cover all of the cupcakes in plastic wrap.

- Wrap them tightly, without squishing them, to prevent lots of air from being trapped inside.

- Once the cupcakes are wrapped, place them in a sandwich sized Ziploc bag (it doesn’t have to be freezer specific) and squeeze out all of the extra air without smashing the cupcakes.

- Zip the top and label them with the date they were baked and make sure to use them within the year.

Before the party:

- I allow 12 hours for the cupcakes to thaw wrapped in the fridge before I need them.

- Once they are thawed and ready for frosting, I set them on the counter to come to room temperature for about an hour before frosting.

- Once they’re frosted, I put them in whatever I have on hand to use as a to-go container (a clear plastic punch cup with plastic wrap over the top, or 2 paper bowls fastened together with tape or staples) and we’re ready to party!

This is what the cupcakes look like after being frozen, thawed, and ready to frost.

Other treats that I choose from to send with them:

Larabars (this is one of our favorite flavors)

Annie's bunny fruit snacks

Homemade popcorn (popped in avocado or coconut oil)

Organic juice boxes, dye free (such as these)

Homemade snack mix (usually raw seeds, nuts and dried fruits and coconut flakes)


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