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Challenge: Happy Birthday!

Planning a healthy puppy-themed birthday party

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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). A traditional hot dog bar with healthy themed options
First Birthday - Vegetable Sides and a Healthier Puppy Chow

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:

A healthy first birthday smash cake

“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”

Healthy Banana Smash Cake for a First Birthday Party

“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.

Celebrating my son's first birthday with healthy food options and a Paleo smash cake!

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