Birthday Party Food

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Whether you're hosting a backyard birthday bash or a sophisticated indoor affair, serving a variety of tasty birthday party foods will add a festive flair to any event. If envisioning your birthday party food spread makes your head reel with grocery lists, recipes, and dollar signs, here are a few easy, budget-friendly menu planning suggestions to help ease the process:

Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Dessert, Cocktails, or Snacks?

Before planning your party food menu, you'll need to decide which meal you're serving. This goes hand-in-hand with the time of your celebration. Traditionally, lunch is 12:30 to 3:30, dinner is 6:00 to 9:30, and cocktails are 5:00 to 7:00. Choose invitation wording that specifies the type of meal you'll be serving so guests know what to expect. For example:

  1. Join us for a birthday dinner celebration
  2. You are cordially invited to a luncheon celebration
  3. Join us for cocktails as we celebrate…
Create a Realistic Budget

While you may love beef tenderloin or lobster, these may not be practical party fare for 50 guests. Do a head count and determine a realistic food budget based on your guest list.

Opt for Variety

Plan your menu to include a variety of tastes and textures so everyone will have something they enjoy.

Consider the Season

Select fruits and vegetables that are in season - not only will they taste and look fresher, but they'll be more budget-friendly, too.

Consider the Tone:

Keep the formality of your birthday party food menu in synch with the tone of your celebration. If you're hosting a themed party, tie the menu into your party's theme with these party food ideas:

  1. Birthday Party Food - Western Theme: For lunch, treat your guests to a backyard barbeque complete with hamburgers, saucy ribs, and heaping bowls of baked beans and creamy slaw. If snacks are on your party agenda, set up a baked potato bar complete with hearty chili, zesty salsa, succulent sauces and cheeses, and diced vegetable toppings.

  2. Birthday Party Food - Fiesta Theme: Treat your guests to a Mexican buffet-style lunch or dinner with fresh flour tortillas, rice, black beans, salsa, churros, and chili con queso served in terra cotta pots. For snacks, replace the flour tortillas with tortilla crisps and serve dip-style.

Consider Meal Mechanics

If guests will be mingling while they munch, opt for fare that can be easily eaten with the fingers. Also, if guests will be playing games (at a casino party, for example) while they nosh, leave saucy meats and messy foods off the party menu.

Don't Forget Beverages

While planning your birthday food menu, choose beverages that will complement the chosen foods. Be sure to include non-alcoholic drink options as well. Whether you're leaving the food preparation to catering professionals or rolling up your sleeves and embracing your inner chef, having a well-planned party menu in place before you begin will ease the stress of party planning. Here's to a successful - and delicious - celebration!

Kids party food can be healthy and delicious! - If you are looking for healthy party food ideas for kids, then try some of these recipes that aim to delight.