I’ve spent many years working as an event planner for a private catering company, and it may or may not surprise you to learn that a lot of people have their baby’s first birthday party professionally catered.
It’s a milestone celebration, and often includes a large guest list, and I think it takes some of the pressure off the parents to have the food provided by an outside source.
One thing I’ve noticed though, is that the adults are always well taken care of at these types of events, but very little thought goes into the menu that might work for the birthday boy or girl, and their little friends in attendance.
Over the years we got pretty good at reminding the parents that the guest of honour might need a menu designed specifically for them, something made up of easy finger foods that can be safely enjoyed on their special day.
Here is a list of first birthday food ideas I like to suggest, all of which are easy enough to prepare at home on your own. Keep in mind that kids of this age eat very little so there’s no need to provide a lot of food for this age group; a few bites per child should be enough. Add some milk, water, and 100% fruit juices, and a birthday cake (of course!) and you’ll be set for some pint-size partying.
1. Crustless Tea Sandwiches: fillings can include cream cheese and cucumber, mashed avocado, egg, tuna, ham and cheese, etc.
2. Fresh Fruit: berries, halved grapes, apple slices, cantaloupe pieces, watermelon wedges, etc.
3. Cheese: string cheese, cubed cheese, etc.
4. Mini Muffins: any flavour, but preferably homemade and healthy.
5. Kiddie Crudite: carrot sticks, celery stalks, cucumber slices, etc. are perfect for munching alongside some ranch or dill dressing, hummus, or bean dip.
6. Crackers: offer an assortment (include popular items like fish-shapes and animal crackers for the kids and regular crackers for the adults) and serve alongside some grown-up cheese options for the parents in attendance.
7. Devilled Eggs: fancy enough for the adults, but soft enough for the babies in attendance.
8. Mini Meatballs: made with beef, pork, turkey, or chicken and served with a sauce for dipping.
9. Mini Yogurts and/or Applesauce: This makes a simple and sweet addition to any party.
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