Inside: Great first birthday party food ideas that are perfect for little fingers, and even foods that the adults will enjoy at one year old’s birthday party!
The first birthday party signifies a major milestone for the birthday child and the parents.
One-year-old children are just beginning to explore adult foods. Many food items such as popcorn, nuts, and other hard items present choking and allergy hazards. Keep these hazards in mind during the 1st birthday party planning.
Here are some fun and easy foods for a first birthday party. Be sure to also check out our Favorite Snacks for Kids’ Birthday Parties and birthday wording samples for writing your child’s invitation as well!
Pro Tip: When planning your menu for your birthday girl or birthday boy, make sure to keep in mind who you put on your guest list! If any guests have food allergies, it would be kind of you to consider that and serve food choices that are safe for them to be around and enjoy.
First Birthday Party Food Ideas
Shaped sandwiches add a youthful touch to the party food.
Cookie cutters make it easy to shape the sandwiches to fit the party theme, whether it’s animals, balloons, or the number “1.”
Cutting the sandwiches into shapes also eliminates the crust, which younger kids don’t normally like anyway.
Sandwich Filler Ideas
Choose a variety of fillings that appeal to both kids and adults.
For kids, try:
- Turkey and cheese
- Sunbutter and banana
- Ham and cheese
- Tuna mixed with cinnamon applesauce
- Peanut Butter & Jelly
Use caution when serving peanut butter. Make sure no one on the guest list has a peanut allergy if you plan to include peanut butter on the menu. Consider substituting sunbutter to be safe.
Make some sandwiches with fillings such as chicken salad that appeal more to adults. This gives everyone a variety while making an easy main dish for the party.
Kabobs made of soft food offer a creative way to display typical finger foods that a one-year-old might eat.
The kids get a safe baby party food option, and the adults get a fun presentation.
Use decorative plastic toothpicks to make the kabobs. Make sure the toothpicks are removed before the food is served to the younger kids.
Another option is to have bowls of the food without skewers for the one-year-old kids. This eliminates a potential hazard with the toothpicks.
Nearly any soft food works on the kabobs. Chunks of cheese and cold meats such as turkey or ham work well. Try adding chunks of bread or vegetables to the kabobs for more substance.
Fruit is another good option for kabobs. Cut bite-sized pieces of soft fruit and slide them onto the skewer for some fruit skewers.
For a dessert kabob, alternate chunks of pound cake and strawberries or raspberries. Serve chocolate sauce on the side.
Pasta is a soft food that most one-year-old children can eat, making it a good baby party food option. Here are some tips for serving pasta at a toddler birthday party.
- One drawback to serving pasta if there are lots of young children is the messy sauce. To help the parents, keep the sauce and pasta separate.
- Offer alternatives such as butter and Parmesan cheese or Alfredo sauce if the parents prefer not to use a red sauce that can stain clothes.
- Pasta also works with other party food favorites.
- Make homemade macaroni and cheese for the first birthday party food menu.
- Make a separate pan of macaroni with extra flavor such as jalapenos for the adults.
- Cold pasta salads are another option that young kids can eat safely.
- Make a big pasta charcuterie board for everyone to choose their favorite pasta and sauce from.
Crackers of all types generally work well as baby party food. Offer a variety of cracker-type foods as snacks—animal crackers, saltines, graham crackers, and cheese-flavored crackers are all good choices.
To make the cracker tray more appealing to adults, include dip or cheese.
For an easy prep option, purchase a dip at the store. Another option is to make homemade sour cream-based dips or a spinach and artichoke dip.
It’s a good idea to supply a cheese spread or a small charcuterie plate option for your guests to enjoy with their choice of crackers. You could even make a cream cheese board for your guests to enjoy.
Cupcakes work well for a first birthday party because they are already individually sized.
The guests can serve themselves, and cupcakes are easier for young children to pick up and feed themselves, unlike traditional cake.
Cupcakes are easy to bake and decorate at home. A simple swirl of icing and some sprinkles is enough to make the cupcakes look pretty for the party.
Cupcakes also offer an easy way to provide more flavor options over baking one large cake.
Bake two or three different cupcake flavors to appeal to all of the guests. Chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry cupcakes are good basic party food options. Add different flavors of icing for more variety.
Another option is to let the guests frost and decorate their own cupcakes at the party!
Using a cupcake as your childs smash cake is a lot cheaper than paying for a smaller birthday cake designed to be a smash cake.
Serving cake pops instead of a birthday cake is another way to say Happy Birthday to your special guest. Pair it with some ice cream for a complete treat during party time.
Put together a nice platter of fresh fruit. Be sure to cut some up in smaller, safe sizes for the younger kids, like your one year old. Fruit is never a bad idea at a baby’s first birthday party- generally all kids of all ages, and adults will enjoy some fruit.
You can also serve your fruit salad with a sweet fruit dip. Remember that grapes can be a choking hazard, so if you are planning to serve them, be sure to cut them up appropriately for serving to little ones.
Fruit is a delicious healthy option to choose from these 1st birthday food ideas, for sure.
Veggie Trays are great if you serve them in a fun way that is appropriate for your guests. Carrot sticks work great, along with cut up grape tomatoes, celery sticks, and more with a nice ranch dip.
This is the perfect way to make sure everyone gets a little something healthy while they’re enjoying good company at your party.
What little kid doesn’t love chicken nuggets? You can easily cut them up into smaller, appropriate sized pieces and leave some whole for the older crowd at the first birthday party.
I’d skip the hot dogs as they can be a choking hazard which you want to avoid at first birthday parties. Besides, chicken nuggets are a great way to make sure your kiddo gets some much needed protein on their big day.
Chicken nuggets are always going to be a big hit with any kid- don’t forget the dipping sauces for those chicken bites though!
You can make a quesadilla bar some friends and family can make their own quesadilla or you can make a few different ones before hand, and have them ready to go.
Using a cheese quesadilla base is a simple recipe to start with and guests can add whatever other options they enjoy in their quesadillas.
If you’re looking for a main course for your older kids and older children at the party, you can try some full sized wraps or sandwiches as opposed to the mini sandwiches for the little guests.
A few pizzas usually does the job of feeding a large crowd. With older guests, serving hot dogs and hamburgers usually seems to go off well, as well.
When all else fails, think about what your child’s favorite food is and think of what is easy for little hands to eat. Make sure you have some of those ideas and then have some other things for the older age group to be able to eat as well.
When it comes to drinks, make sure you have something for all ages. Consider pre-bottled juices, or you can make some fruit smoothies ahead of time and freeze them in individual portions. If you want to provide an adult beverage, consider a non-alcoholic punch or sangria that adults will enjoy.
For little hands, milk or chocolate milk is always a good choice. As for water, it seems to be easier to serve the mini water bottles. You can also serve fresh fruit juice for guests. These are all great drinks.
Common questions to consider when planning a first birthday party menu:
What items are easy for toddlers to eat?
Finger foods are a great option for toddlers. Think about items like cut-up fruit or vegetables, mini sandwiches, cheese cubes, crackers, pretzels, and other items that can be eaten easily with hands.
You can also provide dips like hummus to dip the veggies in. Other options include pancakes, mini quiches, and macaroni and cheese bites.
What drinks are suitable for all ages?
Juice boxes are a great option since they can be opened easily and without any help. Juice boxes are available in a variety of flavors, so it should be easy to find something that everyone will enjoy.
Milk, both regular and chocolate, is also a good choice. If you’re looking for an alternative to milk, smoothies can be a fun option as well.
Water is also important so mini bottles or pitchers with glasses can help provide hydration for guests of all ages.
Should drinks be pre-prepared or can guests serve themselves?
It all depends on the guests and the type of event. For smaller get-togethers with close friends, it can be great to let everyone serve themselves.
In larger events or for more formal occasions, it might be better to have drinks pre-prepared so that guests don’t need to wait in line for long periods of time.
Pre-preparing drinks also ensures that each guest gets something they like, since you can customize each drink according to individual preferences.
Are snacks needed in addition to the meal?
Snacks can be a great addition to any meal. Depending on the time and duration of the event, having snacks available between meals can be essential for keeping guests energized.
Light snacks like chips, nuts, sandwiches, and wraps are perfect for helping keep everyone full. If you’re looking for something more indulgent, try sweet treats like chocolates or pastries.
Of course, you should always consider dietary restrictions when selecting snacks.
Now that you have seen all of these food and drink ideas, I bet you feel more like a seasoned party planner and have some great ideas on what you plan to serve your guest at this first birthday party!
The 1st birthday party planning has so many parts to it, and the first birthday party food is among the most important choices for safety reasons. Keep all of the guests happy with type of food the adults and kids will both enjoy.