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Nine Super-Useful Tips to Help Make Your Kid’s Birthday Party Low-Key Low-Carb

Nine Super-Useful Tips to Help Make Your Kid’s Birthday Party Low-Key Low-Carb

Kids. Love. Carbs. If you’ve ever tried to onboard your family to a low-carb plan after eating a more traditional Western diet, you already know that just about every meal that is a meal to kids is loaded with carbs. I’ve put together a list of cool, creative, kid-approved planning tactics to help you make a low-carb birthday party menu that is not only kid friendly but mom friendly.

Low-Carb Tip #1: Move the needle a little from keto to low-carb, just for the day
The average American eats anywhere from 200 grams to 400 grams of carbs a day according to Diabetes Self-Management. The minimum recommended amount of carbs for kids (and grownups) is 130 grams a day (or the equivalent of 130g of glucose for fuel). To keep from driving yourself crazy, think in terms of low-carb, not strict keto and aim to create a menu that will keep party food carb count under 70 grams. By the way, the other parents will thank you. Carbs make kids act a little crazy.

Low-Carb Tip #2: Use high-fiber to cheat the carb count
We’re not talking about BeneFiber and prune juice here, so don’t worry. But, you can expand your menu options by thinking in terms of net carbs and looking for sweet, high-fiber fruit. I mean, eggplant is a starchy fruit, and half the carbs in eggplant are pure fiber. But it may not be the answer for a kid’s party (yuck, right?). But I would bet raspberries (53% fiber) and blackberries (57% fiber) would be big winners with kids. They’re sweet, juicy, and they’re finger foods. Keep the handi-wipes… well, handy.

Low-Carb Tip #3: Put healthy foods in fancy cups
This one works well with elementary school kids. For instance, this low-carb chia ‘porridge’ with raspberries looks far more appealing in a dessert dish than it would in a paper plate. It’s lightly sweetened, creamy, fun to eat, and topped with bright red raspberries (available mid-summer to late fall). Coincidentally, you can find the recipe for low-carb chia porridge here.

Low-Carb Tip #4: Swap out regular candy for pre-packaged, low-carb treats
The geniuses at Atkins have a selection of low-carb and no-carb candies that are downright amazing. The Atkins brand of low-carb candies mimics the popular brands we grew up with – M&M’s, Mounds, Reese’s, and also comes as cookies, granola bars, energy bars, and protein bars. And they are delicious. But be warned, these candies use sugar alcohols. Some kids have tummy sensitivities to sugar alcohols. So, always ask Mom and Dad first.

Low-Carb Tip #4: Make protein shake smoothies
At three years old, my daughter loves “proteem shapes”. I try to keep a stash in the house. For her, we alternate between Kid Essentials and low-carb shakes because she’s going through the period tots go through when they essentially stop eating food altogether.
If you prefer a low-carb shake, there are several brands you can easily use as a base for your smoothies. SlimFast Advanced Nutrition (be sure it’s Advanced Nutrition – the regular SlimFast is high in carbs) is a line of high-protein, low-carb shakes that come in chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and either fudge or dark chocolate. Other brands include AdvantEdge, Atkins, or Muscle Milk shakes. These are also cool because they’re so low in carbs, they leave you with wiggle room to add fruit to the smoothies and a heavy whip cream.

Low-Carb Tip #5: Avocado – the 9th Wonder of the World
Avocado is sort of a love it or hate it kind of fruit, I know. The nutty taste and creamy texture (and let’s not forget it’s green) can turn some kids off. But it’s high in healthy fats, and high in protein and fiber. Plus, avocado is ultra-low in carbs. Perhaps most important for your use is its flexibility. I found a recipe for an avocado chocolate mousse on that is fantastic.

Low-Carb Tip #6: Replace drink boxes with water, but in a cool way
Do you know 91% of the kids in this country grab 10% of their daily calories (209 calories) just from sugary drinks? If you really want to make a statement (and cut the sugar, and add another party favor to the mix, and save the earth…), nix the juice boxes (even if they’re real juice) and give each kid their very own sports bottle. You can find them at your local discount store, or even a dollar store. Keep a dispenser of ice water available and let them refill their bottles as needed. They can use permanent markets to write their names on their own bottles to prevent mix-ups.

Low-Carb Tip #7: Make more foods finger foods
I’ve seen deconstructed spring rolls and deconstructed shirts (that’s a real thing). Choose a few dishes to deconstruct. The idea behind this is to make foods quick, easy, and fun to eat at the party. Kids graze. And when it’s party time, they want to party. So, while you may feel like they need to “sit down to a meal” it’s unlikely they feel the same way. Instead of ziti, season-up the tomatoes and mozzarella and serve them separately.

Low-Carb Tip #8: Replace cake with mini cupcakes
Try as we might, it’s always hard to figure out exactly how much a “small slice of cake” really is. In fact, my idea of a small slice differs from… say, a buttercream cake to a Cheesecake Factory 7-layer chocolate cake. Here’s a hint: When Cheesecake Factory gets involved, they’re all small slices to me.
That said, portion control (and therefore carb control) is much easier when serving sizes are already defined. So, swap out the birthday cake for birthday cupcakes, if you can get away with it. A small slice of buttercream cake is 200 calories, 20 grams of carbs and 30 grams of sugar. A mini cupcake (which is missing that middle layer of icing), on the other hand total 93 calories, 14 grams of carbs, and 10 grams of sugar. If your little one has his or her heart set on a traditional cake, make it a single-layer sheet cake.

Low-Carb Tip #9: Build in carb-burning activities
The fastest way to rebound and stay in ketosis when you’ve had too many carbs is to immediately use up glycogen stores. In kid-eese, that translates to running around and organized physical activities. What kinds of activities do kids love?
• Water pump fights (in case you don’t love guns)
• Three-legged races or potato sack / pillow case races
• Burpees (kids can do these forever)
• Softball
• Volleyball
• Badminton
From the low-sugar cereals to the Cuties mandarins, carbs – and lots of them – are a staple for school-aged kids. But if you’re creative and a little carb-flexible, you can eliminate the majority of would-be carbs from the party menu and your kids won’t even notice and the moms will be thrilled that you are providing healthier options.

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  1. Holly says:

    Wow! These look amazing. I’m such a junk food and carb junkie. Thank you so much for the tips. 🙂

  2. I love your tips about using fancy cups to serve healthy treats. I also like the idea of mini cupcakes instead of big slices of cake for a child’s birthday party.

  3. These are smart hacks to help kids to eat healthier! Gotta try some of these tips myself 🙂

  4. Low carb is definitely a good way to lose weight and keep it off. I have done it and it does work!
    Our grandkids like flavored water so we have that tip down!

  5. Jenn JG says:

    Good Ideas to for low carb options!! Although I do think a birthday party is a time to splurge but I do make sure we have lots of healthy options for those who chose to.

  6. Ankana Silva says:

    Protein shake smoothies are my all time favorite. These are some interesting tips for a low carb menu for a kids birthday party.

  7. I am going to have to try some of these ideas myself as I have to do I love my carbs way to much!

  8. Jen Walker says:

    My kids are definitely fans of carbs, but they do well eating other things so I don’t mind. We drink a lot of water rather than sugary drinks and they both love avocado!

  9. I always try to keep our kids’ parties low sugar but I didn’t think about low carb as well. I’m on a low carb diet so this post has some good ideas for me to snack on right now!

  10. Such a helpful post. Love the idea of serving healthy foods in fancy cups. I’m sure it will get eaten up because of how beautifully it is presented.

  11. great article and in fact, this is also helpful beyond kids party! i think it should apply to any party as it is yummy, creative and most importantly healthy! i have personally done #7 and it is always a hit!

  12. Catherine Sargent says:

    Thank you for the great tips. I like the idea of swapping out regular candy for pre-packaged, low-carb treats

  13. Ruth I. says:

    We honestly haven’t tried to put a kid’s party on low carb. We just do what others do but now I realize how important this is. Thanks for sharing these tips.

  14. This sounds like a good idea. We usually have good selection of foods at our kids birthday parties.

  15. These are great tips! I don’t have kids, but I could see myself benefiting from these, personally!

  16. Love these ideas! There is no reason for any party, especially for kids, to be nothing but unhealthy options. Kudos!

  17. Nice tips and this applies for us adults too. Having too many carbs nd sugar is not good. Better a balanced menu and we can keep all those carving in check while celebrating.

  18. That’s awesome, I have been trying low calories, low sugar, and low carb children parties for years and they are successful and it make me feel great.

  19. Wow, these are such good ideas and I would never have thought of them at all! When I think birthday, I think lots of sweets. This looks just as good but is so much healthier.

  20. these are awesome tips. My mom is low carbs and always feels left out at parties. I need to pass this idea on to the family.

  21. I will keep these ideas in mind though I doubt I’d ever go low carb. I just love carbs entirely too much. But I also enjoy tomatoes and mozzarella!

  22. Omg these are great… Low card sounds great :D…. I will definitely try them 😀

  23. Dawn Nieves says:

    These are great tips. I’m on a low carb diet and I can’t wait to try some of these. That chocolate avocado mousse sounds delicious

  24. Loe seeing low carb ideas like this! It’s perfect for kids and adults who dont want to consume too much sugar.

  25. These are great ideas. I never thought about low carb alternatives for parties until now. I usually focus on low sugar. I’ll definitely have to try some of these out!

  26. I always try to keep the kids party foods as healthy as possible, but while staying fun. It can be tricky at times though 🙂


  27. I don’t know whether kids are satisfied with this yet, but I do know that I, myself, am in love with your tips, and intend to try those tips from now on. Those foods must be very delicious and most importantly, nutritious.
    Thanks so much for sharing.

  28. aareeba says:

    These are some great tips, My son’s birthday is in couple of months and am gonna use some of your tips. Thanks for sharing

  29. Jacqui Odell says:

    These are great tips. I love the idea of replacing the cake. I think that could help a lot.

  30. The fancy cups idea is brilliant! Usually, if it’s in a fancy package, the kids will gobble it up.

  31. Wow, these are such a good idea. Great tips for everyone to take note of the carbs and sugar intakes. I will take note of this as well.

  32. I like the idea of an avocado chocolate mousse and cupcakes instead of big slices of cake is a great way to make food more low carb. Great tips x

  33. Blair villanueva says:

    Thanks for these tips. I think we should train kids to eat low carbs since day 1, so it wouldn’t be difficult for them when they grow old.
    No junkfoods of course. 🙂

  34. Thanks for these tips. Although a birthday celebration may mean cheat day, we should be careful of what we give to the kids.

  35. LAMusing says:

    I’ve cut down on my soda addiction and am trying to stay away from high carb foods

  36. Colby Yeager says:

    I live these, thank you! My sons birthday is in January after all the food filed holidays so this ous really helpful to get us back on track.

  37. Nothing scarier than a house full of carb-fueled kids!

  38. Geri Sandoval says:

    Great ideas…love the smoothie and the tomatoes and mozzarella.

  39. Ashley says:

    Awesome ideas! Thanks for the tips!

  40. Shannon Pickin says:

    Great ideas! Definitely going to use some of these ideas 🙂

  41. what great snacks to feed the kids

  42. Beth Minyard says:

    Such great ideas! Thanks for sharing

  43. denise low says:

    Thank you for sharing these great tips for a great birthday party.

  44. Sarah L says:

    Those are great tips for anyone’s party.

  45. Richard Hicks says:

    I like the tips. Kids would enjoy the low carb foods and not even realize how healthy it is

  46. Megan says:

    The mini cupcakes idea is genius!

  47. Casey Garvey says:

    I think the fancy cups are a great idea! So are mini cupcakes!

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