Kid birthdays today can be celebrated over multiple days and events when you think about celebrating at school, at home, and at a kids party. How does a mother limit the amount of sugar and fat a child eats in a concentrated period of time and meet all these expectations?
When Ella was in kindergarten last year, we brought cut cantaloupe and apple slices. The teacher loved it because it was healthy and there were no crumbs. The kids enjoyed them and ate everything.
However, for first grade, Ella wanted to do something different. We discussed cupcakes, but I urged her to think of something healthy. We agreed that frozen fruit bars would work. I went to Whole Foods and I bought the 365 store brand packages that to serve about 25 kids. The bars have real fruit and fruit juices, no fat, nut free, and 110 calories each. I brought them to school and offered them to the class. To my delight, the teacher inquired about them and when she heard how many calories they were, she was delighted since she was counting calories and had recently lost 10 lbs. This treat was within her range and she could participate too. Again the distribution and the cleanup were easy. My daughter was happy, the kids were happy, the teacher was happy, and I was happy too.
After the previous day’s excitement, there was anticipation building up. On the way out the door too much excitement was heading toward a meltdown. We agreed to pause and sit on the stairway near the front door for three minutes to collect ourselves. A couple of breaths later, we both walked out calm and prepared. Crying averted. Whew!
At Ella’s birthday party this year, we planned up to 90 minutes of skating at the Rink at Belmar. Afterward we had lunch at Lucky Strike. I ordered the usual cheese pizza (darn, I forgot to find out if they offered whole grain crust!) and water. A parent came up to me and thanked me for not offering fruit juice since the combination with cake is overload. This year I ordered a single layer cake and cut appropriately sized slices. Ella asked for a second slice, but she couldn’t finish it because the amount was making her sick! A single layer cake worked well – less waste and less frosting and therefore less sugar and fat (the frosting was buttercream). Also, a single layer cake is less costly and we didn’t have any leftovers to take home!
Celebrating at Home
This is my indulgence – to have a small family celebration. It may be over the top after having the other two, but she is my baby and I want that special time. I had to bypass the bakery cakes at the store since they didn’t offer a small cake. We picked up a chocolate cake produced by small manufacturer, but we didn’t have as much cake left over and it was more economical. We did serve it with vanilla ice cream (yum). Again, everything was in moderate portions – no giant slices and double scoops!
The nice part of this was that at the end of the weekend I didn’t feel over stuffed with birthday cake. While there were multiple celebrations, everything was in moderation and so I didn’t feel weighed down at the end of the weekend. I felt successful in meeting all of our birthday goals!