Chances are when you were the age your children are now, the party bags you were given after a friend’s birthday party were jammed packed with sugary treats to be freely consumed at your own discretion.
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Of course, it was the best bit of going to a party, wasn’t it?
Fast-forward 20 or more years where there’s an increasing focus on how much sugar our kids are consuming, the concept of a party bag can be controversial. Some party givers choose to skip it completely in favour of a donation to a charity; others try and balance it with healthy inclusions while a few may still be brave enough to load them with enough sugar to fuel a child for three days straight. So if your preference is to try and make your party bags a little healthier, here are some easy ways to strike a balance between fun and nutrition.
1. Go for chocolate over lollies
Naturally, kids love lollies but nutritionally if you had to choose between lollies and chocolate, chocolate would win simply because it does not have the concentrated sugars that lollies do, plus it tends to be consumed a little more slowly. The good thing about chocolate is that it can also be found in small, individual packets, and for small children, the smaller the serving size, the better. Specifically, child-friendly chocolates that feature a character too can take the focus off the food and onto the novel factor of the product. Ovalteenies, Kinder eggs and Furry Friends spring to mind as relatively small but child-friendly treats.
2. Look for healthier treats
There are now a few healthier treats such as dark choc rice cakes, choc dipped pretzels and even choc dipped fruits that you can add to the food mix in any party bag, which are much better choices nutritionally than jelly lollies and sticky sweets.
3. Go for a box rather than a bag
The good thing about packing a take-home treat in a little box is that you can fit more in, and when you can fit more in you can load up the party box with extra stickers, little toys and novel games that will take the focus off food completely.
4. Add in the cake
Often kids are given both a party bag and a piece of cake to take home and if you add the cake to the party box, you minimise the need for extra lollies and junk food to be added. Alternatively, you could bake some healthier cupcakes and add a couple of lollies to the icing top to strike a balance between healthier cake, a few lollies and a fun little cupcake to take home rather than a slab of birthday cake.
5. A packet of something
For better or for worse, small children love packets, so a small packet of pretzels, popcorn or wholegrain snacks like Messy Monkeys can go a long way in bulking up the party bag minus the sugars of lots of lollies.