A few weeks ago my son turned one. Which is way more of a celebration for parents than it is for baby – that rite of passage for mom and dad that celebrates a year of keeping your child alive and not killing each other in the process. Like all new parents celebrating parental awesomeness, we hosted a par-taaaaaay! But planning a healthy birthday party can be tricky. Here is how we offered healthy yet tasty options for our guests.
My son loves dogs. Unfortunately, our dog does not love him. That’s a whole other story. Anyhoo, his puppy-themed party had a hot dog bar with tons of toppings and sides. I realize a hot dog bar sounds like the most unhealthy meal ever, but I got a ‘lil creative. We served traditional options like The Hot Diggity Dog (beef frank topped with jalapeños and banana peppers), The German Shepherd (a bratwurst topped with saurkraut), The Chili Dog (because anything is amazing topped with homemade chili), and a super healthy option for peeps like me – The Downward Dog (an organic chicken sausage topped with avocado).
What’s a party without sweets? Answer: a lame party. And if you haven’t heard of puppy chow, not only have you been sleeping under a rock, but you’ve been missing THE most addicting sweet, munchy-goodness you’ll ever put in yo’ mouth. True life – I ate most of the leftovers one morning with coffee. It was naughty nirvana.
Traditional puppy chow calls for one stick of butter, one cup chocolate chips, and one cup peanut butter (melted together), added to Chex or Crispex cereal, and coated in powdered sugar. Does that sound totally delicious and totally unhealthy? Yeah, well It is.
So I ‘healthified’ the traditional version and it was still amazing. Just sub the peanut butter for almond butter, use extra dark chocolate and grassfed butter, then half the powdered sugar or omit entirely. Let the mixture cool at room temperature and store in the refrigerator.
Of course ya can’t forget the SMASH CAKE for a first birthday!! Every new parent has heard of the smash cake (baby gets a small cake, proceeds to smash it all over his/her chubby face, etc). I love this idea, but wanted a healthier alternative for the birthday boy’s cake. I found a Paleo Banana Cake recipe from Culinary Couture that was so easy to make and free of the junk. For an amazing smash cake, half the recipe and bake in a 6″ greased baking dish. Once it’s cooled, flip it upside down and frost with the coconut cream/date frosting. Try not to lick your fingers because you won’t be able to stop (word of caution – the frosting is highly addicting).
This is what happens when a one-year-old refuses to nap and is melting down by the time the smash cake was presented. Here is how it went down:
“I’m not touching that thing”
“But mommy worked hard on this for you so you are going to eat it, even if I force it in your mouth my sweet darling”
“Ok I’ll try it”
“Oh, this is really good!”
“Yup I just pooped, party’s over”
Moral of the story is this: I believe celebrations can have a mix of traditional ‘party’ food and ‘healthy’ food. I believe moderation is key (don’t eat your weight in puppy chow) and I believe that we are the best examples for our children when it comes down to letting loose – choosing healthy alternatives, but treating yourself now and then, celebrating milestones lavishly, laughing, indulging, and loving.
PUPPY CHOW!!!!! Omg, I want some RIGHT NOW (and I’m going to try your version)! Super cute idea for B’s birthday party! And absolutely love that family photo!
I know right?! No one can resist puppy chow. Thanks girl! xo
Awww happy birthday to your sweet pea! Sorry that your doggie doesnt love him 🙁 Ive got a 2 year nephew that 1 of my dogs follows around non stop while the other runs and hides. Of course he wants the one that runs from him! Kids are so silly 🙂
Ugh I know, it’s like the toddlers love things that are off limits or pets that are uninterested! Makes life interesting. Thanks Kat!
Jul's Arthur says
I love all your details at this party…the homemade signs, “fetchables”, the cute dog bowls and the entire theme.
I completely agree that we set examples for our children and moderation and realistic living make a healthier life. Love the suggestions to ‘healthify’ existing delicious, but non-healthy recipes.
Your Birthday Boy, is so adorable and your writing style had me engaged and laughing the entire way. Thanks!
Thank you so much Jul! You made my day!
LOL at the smash cake. We work hard on those things and the kids just look at it like “what is this?”
That healthified puppy chow sounds pretty easy and yummy. Thank you for sharing! I hope your son had a wonderful 1st birthday 🙂
So true. I did the same thing for his 9 month photos – made this adorable, spray painted blue truck out of a huge box. Thought he would love sitting in it – NOPE! Oh we sure learn patience as moms don’t we? Thanks so much Danielle!
So cute! I agree that the best parties have a balance of healthy food and some fun treats in moderation. It drives me nuts when my kids come home from a birthday party and tell me they were served cake, ice cream, M&Ms, donuts, cotton candy and cookies.
Gross! I am sure you LOVE when your kids are totally hopped up on sugar all day too! 😉 Thanks so much Alyssa.
I so look forward to reading your blog! Your writing style is so entertaining, paired with great recipes or a good workout -however, this is my favorite blog thus far!! Beautiful family, adorable little boy! Thanks for sharing his special day with all of us!
Thank you Shar! That means a lot to me!
He is so cute and this cake looks delish! I would’ve definitely eaten it for him 😉
Oh I TOTALLY did. Even though it was a mess, I had to save and eat it later!!
Ros Emely@stressfreemommies says
Aww beautiful birthday party! Love the theme and decorations. I hope your baby boy had fun!
Thank you so much Ros. We all had a good time, despite the chaos!
Blair @ The Seasoned Mom says
So fun! Congrats on surviving the first year! 🙂
I love all of your different hot dog names, and the poop at the end made me laugh. You never can predict what they’ll do next!
Thank you Blair! Gotta love the unpredictable, sudden poop during those milestone moments 😉
Shann Eva says
First, what a beautiful baby and family you have! Second, I love the theme! The “Fetch”tables and hot dog bar are awesome. I also did a healthy smash cake for my twins. They were preemies, so I didn’t want to feed them junky stuff. I made a banana bread with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. They loved it! Loved your post…very cute!
Awww thank you Shann! Love the naturally-sweetened banana smash cakes! Bravo momma! I appreciate you stopping by!
Rachel G says
Cute theme! I’m not the biggest hot dog fan, but the chicken dog with avocado topping does sound yummy to me, probably because anything avocado draws me like a magnet!
Hey Rachel – I am not a big hot dog person either. But my hubby loves bratwursts and I love chicken sausages (the Aidell’s chicken apple sausages to be exact) so those were our choices. I’m with you on avocado, I could eat dirt if it came with avocado!
Okay, this is SO cute! Such a great idea 🙂
I love this little summary post of his party with some practical ideas for keeping things more on the healthy side! Happy bday to your little man!
Thank you Erica! <3
Les @ The Balanced Berry says
Such an adorable party – congratulations on one year of parenthood! 🙂 The puppy chow and downward dog sound delicious, I’ll definitely need to try those at the next party I go to!
I will have to try that puppy chow recipe! What great ideas for a 1 year old party-I love the mix of healthy and fun.