The 'Healthy' Birthday Party Is One Parenting Trend That Needs to Disappear ... Now

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blowing out candles Have you been to one of those healthy birthday parties yet? The pinata is stuffed with kale chips. The snacks are raw. And the cake, well, who are you kidding? You don't give kids cake!

Welcome to 2013. Say goodbye to just letting kids be kids.

The healthy birthday party is officially a trend. And I, for one, am refusing to buy in.

Parents, feel free to keep your kids home from my daughter's yearly shindig, but my kid doesn't celebrate another year without sugar, food dyes, and more sugar.

It's tradition, and none of the mom blogs about the parents who, gasp, give their kids juice dyed pink with chemicals and turn out a cake with rainbow hues are going to convince me otherwise.

Those types of moms assume that moms like me are irresponsible (at best), throwing our kids' health away (at worst). Those moms are making some giant assumptions. And we all know what happens when you assume, don't we?

The fact is, I do care about what my daughter eats. I am very careful about what chemicals are in my daughter's nail polish and her body wash too.

Although I don't buy much organic food -- it is not widely available where we live and what is available isn't necessarily affordable or fresh -- I am a regular at the farmers' market, and I stick to the Environmental Working Group guidelines for safe fruits and vegetables. We don't eat a lot of junk food in our house, and what we do eat is largely homemade.

That's how we roll 364 days a year.

On the 365th, we party. Hard.

Yes, we are a "bad stuff in moderation" kind of family in no small part because I refuse to pass on my history of disordered eating to my daughter. But my husband and I also believe birthdays are something every kid should celebrate -- truly celebrate. 

To all the healthy birthday party folks, I offer this reminder: it's one day a year, people! It's one day when my kid gets to be sugared up and revel in still thinking birthdays are the bee's knees (rather than a sign of how much more her knees hurt these days!).

Do you remember those days? I'm trying. I haven't really "celebrated" one of my own birthdays in years.

Fortunately, my kid is still young enough to have a blast on her birthday, and I'm going to make sure it happens. She will indulge in a rainbow cake with my famous cream cheese frosting, break open a pinata filled with candy, and suck down juice straight from a box.

If you've got a problem with that, stay home. Eat your kale chips. Drink your water. We'll miss you!

Do you serve junk food at your kids' birthday parties?


Image by Jeanne Sager

activities, food, kids nutrition


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Pinkmani Pinkmani

I totally agree! Junk food won't kill you if you eat it every once and a while and excercise regularly.

When I go to a kid's birthday party, I expect a pinata, candy, cake, and entertainment for the kids. It's the rare occasion when I don't feel guilty about pigging out. 

MsRkg MsRkg

I serve both junk food and health food options at my son's birthday parties or events. Parents and children's can choose to eat what they please. Surprisingly ever since I did this I noticed that while yes the junk food is eaten more, a pretty significant amount of the healthy options is gone as well by the end of the party.

Maias... MaiasMommy619

It's a birthday party...I am gonna serve cake and pizza and whatever else my kid wants to eat that day!!

three... threeforme157

I find the "healthy kid's party" concept so annoying. Everyone knows that the kids who have parents that do this are the kids who go crazy stuffing their face every time they get a chance to. It can also lead to food issues. Lighten up, kid's are only kids for a short time and occasional treats will not kill them.

nonmember avatar Tammy

My kids never liked cake. So I was famous for themed parties that involved the kids making yummy treats, but were actually pretty healthy and they loved it. We did luau with fresh fruit, dips and the famous purple bread. I did make your own pizzas with fresh veggies and low fat cheese. The kids had so much fun and never missed candy and cake. We did do ice cream, but usually with fruit and nut toppings. My kids just didn't like cake, cup cakes or cookies. I wouldn't have cared and that would have been easier on me. Don't knock it until you've tried it :)

nonmember avatar Thinker

Agree - perfectly ok to enjoy junk food every now and then. Sorta related, a close friend of mine died in a car crash in college when we were both 19. Normally she was a salads only kind of gal but for some reason her last day on earth she hung out with her dad and had a huge pancake breakfast and then her favorite burger and milkshake with her brother at lunch. She also went shopping and had a mani/pedi in the afternoon. The accident was in the early evening and totally not her fault. She was killed instantly. I'm so glad she splurged and had fun that day because if you knew it was your last day alive would you eat salad? Splurgin on ANYTHING every now and then is good and healthy in my opinion.

nonmember avatar Hilary

I still remember going to a birthday party when I was 8 or so - we spent all day out playing in the snow, and we were so excited to come inside for the cake and hot chocolate that we'd been promised. We actually ended up with unsweetened, unflavored Ovaltine and a sugar-free, dairy-free carob cake. :(
I think it's far more important to teach kids how to eat and enjoy treats in moderation than to deny them anything that isn't 100% healthy.

nonmember avatar kaerae

Hallelujah, tell it sister! We had just as many birthday parties when we were kids, and had no obesity epidemic. NO ONE gets fat eating a couple dozen cupcakes in a YEAR! They need to worry less about the food, and more about the electronic presents with no limits on use!

three... threeforme157

@ Tammy, keep on telling yourself that but I can guarantee a few of those kids went home from the party thinking that the party was lame because of the lack of cake and candy.  I think you were "famous" for being a sugar nazi.

Michi... MichiganMom602

We recently went to a "healthy" party and the kids (who are 4) were looking very confused at why we were singing Happy Birthday over a vegetable tree instead of a cake.  They were looking around all confused.  After the party, we left and I took my son for ice cream. :)

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