Whole Food First Birthday Party
It is hard to know how to handle birthday and holiday celebrations when you are striving to eat a whole food diet. I know that some families have to be extra careful due to food allergies/sensitivities, but in our house we tend to stick to the 80/20 rule. We aim to eat healthy, wholesome food 80% of the time and allow ourselves to have reasonable treats for special occasions (dates, birthdays, holidays, or the occasional “just because” splurge). But since several of our close family members have recently started eat more whole foods, I decided to try to create a reasonable menu for a birthday celebration for my son’s first birthday party.
So I hit the Pinterest boards, gathered some ideas, and decided on a theme: The Very Hungry Caterpillar. First, Eric Carle is one of my favorite children’s authors. Second, my son has a spring birthday, so the caterpillar/butterfly theme seemed appropriate. And last, the book lends itself to whole foods menu. I decided to serve all of the fruits that the caterpillar eats on his journey to become a “big fat caterpillar:” apples, pears, plums, oranges, and strawberries. Wholesome and perfect for little fingers and tummies. My mother-in-law was in charge of the actual meal, and she decided to grill hamburgers and serve it with some of our favorite sides: potato salad, baked beans, squash casserole, cole slaw. All wonderful whole food choices. But another option is to pick some of the foods from the day the caterpillar pigs out. You could do a cheese and meat (sausage and salami appear in the book) tray with pickles, make homemade ice cream, or slice up some watermelon.
If you’re the kind who likes to plan activities for a party, here are some ideas.
We had each child do their handprint on the same paper because all of the attendees were cousins, and we thought it would be a neat keepsake. You could do the same, or have each child make their own caterpillar.
Toilet Paper Roll Butterflies
I confess that we had an Easter egg hunt that included candy because of the proximity to the holiday, but we’re considering that part of our 20%. Also, you will note that white sugar is used in the icing recipe below. Again, I’m counting that as our splurge for the party, but since everything else was healthy I was ok with it. You can always leave it off if you want to. Also, a word about food coloring. You’ll notice that the icing coloring is not very vivid. I found some natural food dye in Earth Fare and decided to try it out. The red and yellow worked just fine, but the blue did not. Meaning that the green was a little sickly also. If you are interested in cutting out artificial dyes, here are a few other ideas from Kitchen Stewardship.
And now the moment you’ve been waiting for, what about the cake? I used Coco Cake Cupcakes idea but made all banana muffins instead of regular sugary cupcakes. This set up is perfect because you can give the caterpillar head to the birthday boy or girl to squish without fear that they with be absolutely sick from eating so much sugar for the first time.
Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing
Author/Source: Kim @ Once a Month Mom
- 4.5 cups white wheat flour
- 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
- .5 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 6 ripe bananas, mashed
- .5 cups plain yogurt
- .5 cups honey
- 4 eggs
- .66 cups applesauce (unsweetened)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, chilled
- 1 stick of butter, slightly softened
- 3.25 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- natural food coloring (optional)
In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In another large bowl, mash bananas. Mix in yogurt, honey, eggs, applesauce, and vanilla. Combine well. Fold wet ingredients into the flour mixture until just combined. Fill one greased 6 inch cake pan (I found mine in at Walmart) two-thirds full. Use remainder to fill lined cupcake pan using about 1/4 cup batter for each cupcake. Bake at 350 degrees. The cake will take about 20-25 minutes and the cupcakes will take 18-20 minutes.
Cook cake and cupcakes completely. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar and vanilla until combined. Divide and add food coloring if desired. I used about 3/4 to one cup of icing for the caterpillar head.
Cool cake and cupcakes completely and freeze in zipper bags. To serve, thaw and ice as directed above. Do not freeze icing.