If you are hosting a children's party, you may wonder what type of food is best. Having barbecue catering provides many fun, nutritious options that young people will enjoy. However, while you are working out your menu with your caterer, you should keep these four things in mind.
Children under the age of 5 are at a high risk for choking, so special attention needs to be paid when young children are eating at your party. You should make sure that there is adequate supervision, ideally one adult for every child, and that the children sit down to eat as opposed to snacking while playing.
You should avoid hard, round foods that pose a choking hazard. Additionally, items like hot dogs or chicken with bones should not be given to young children. Instead, opt for pulled pork or pulled chicken in barbecue sauce. You can ask your caterer to cut the meat especially small to make it child-friendly.
If the children at your party are particularly young, you may want to select pureed vegetables as opposed to potato salad or roasted carrots.
Hard to Chew Foods
Some foods can be difficult for toddlers of certain ages to chew and swallow. For example, children who do not yet have their upper and lower front teeth may find it difficult to eat corn on the cob, whereas toddlers with all of their front teeth may love it. Similarly, children who do not yet have their molars may find it difficult to chew pork or beef, while chicken and fish are easier to manage.
If you are hosting children under the age of two, you should consult with their parents to see what types of food they are able to eat. If you have an electronic invitation, you can quickly put this information into an email and send it to your caterer before you settle on a menu for your party.
Around 6 percent of children younger than three have a food allergy. Most common allergies include milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, wheat, soy, and nuts. While many barbecue foods are allergy-friendly, it is important to collect a list of allergies from your attendees. Young children may have a difficult time keeping track of their allergies so it is best to simply not offer foods that contain a known allergen. For example, if an attendee is allergic to milk, ask your caterer to make potato salad with a dairy-free dressing.
For particularly young children, you may want to avoid foods that are known to cause more severe allergic reactions, such as nuts and shellfish.
Messy Eaters and Stains
Barbecue sauce can be messy for adults to eat, and it can wreak havoc on a toddler's clothing, hair and skin. However, instead of opting for a less messy rub, you should consider letting your young party-goers dive into a delicious barbecue sauce. Not only will they enjoy the complex flavors, but they will also enjoy the sensory experience.
To avoid ruining their best outfits, you should warn caregivers that your party will include messy foods and children should be sent in play clothes as opposed to party clothes. After eating, you can have a fun time cleaning up under the hose if children are dressed in bathing suits. Otherwise, be sure to provide plenty of wet napkins for each participant.
Hosting a party with young participants doesn't mean you need to stick to boring, bland foods. Instead, you can give your young attendees a special treat by creating a barbecue menu specially made to accommodate the eating habits of toddlers or young children.