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How to Calculate How Much Kids Will Eat at a Party!

As my amazing sister-in-laws (henceforth named S-LAWS) have been busy producing next generations of Thompsons, my life is becoming increasingly filled with kids birthday party. 

Way back in January 2019, I wrote a piece on Food Volumes for big people and our little people (aka the kids) were sadly neglected!

Such discrimination against kids parties must come to an end!

Before moving onto the technical calculations, we need to start by dealing with a few facts:

Fact 1: Kids eat different amounts

This is most commonly dependant on their age but can also be impacted by gender, what they have already eaten, how active they are, what they are used to eating and even their mood! 

RESPONSE: As you cannot predict EVERYTHING, best to focus your calculations on how many kids will be at the party & their age. 

Fact 2: Kids won’t eat what you think they will eat

Some kids are picky, some are ravenous beasts, and (my personal favourite!) some squirrel away food in their pockets to surprise their parents on laundry day … after putting the wash on.  

REPONSE: With this is mind the best bet is always to offer a selection of items to choose from. 

Keep your menu simple. No more than seven types of food options. 

More options and you put yourself in the position of something called OVER-CHOICE … what I call an ‘’overwhelmed meltdown’’. 

Fact 3: There is an increase in kids allergy & dietary requirements

This one has my complete sympathy! 

As a coeliac kid on a gluten free diet, I lived through the very first wave of dietary awareness in the 1990s/2000s. And let me tell you the 90s party food pickings were SLIM. One of my dearest friends earned my eternal devotion by having a homemade gluten free cupcake at her 13th birthday party. What can I say? Baked goods were, my 14 year old self’s weakness … not much has changed.

Today, while we have increasingly more dietary food options, the diets are increasingly … complex.

In you need some inspiration for those complexities, check out the upcoming companion blog “Kids Party: How to Cater for Gluten Free, Dairy Free & Vegan AT THE SAME TIME.”

RESPONSE: Save some heartache and ALWAYS have some fruit on offer with some veggies sticks with gluten free and dairy free dips (like hummus!). These are go-to options for gluten free, dairy free, vegan, nut free and vegetarian diets. 

These tables will give you a rule of thumb food calculations serving sizes for your kids parties. Worth noting that after the age of 12, your kids will be eating close to adult servings particularly if they are boys. As such, it is safest if you supply food at adult serves so that you don’t run out. 

Another thing to think of is these serves are suggested for a 2-hour party over lunch time. If you are having snacks in the park or a party that goes on for 4+ hours, you can increase or decrease the food quantities needed from here.

Serving for ages 7 to 12 years old

Menu TypeSuggestionsHacksServing per child
Drinks
Water
Get one of the 5L of water with tap from the supermarket to save spills.300ml
Drinks/otherJuice/Punch/Soft drinkBuy juice poppers and freeze them. You can then use them as esky blocks and the kids can eat them like slushies!500ml
Fruit Whole cut fruit platter/SkewersThis will suit any dietary requirements!200g 
SnacksPopcorn/Chips/PretzelsGet 2-3 types50g
DipsHummus/Nut-free Pesto/French Onion
Hummus based dips are usually gluten free, dairy free, vegan & nut free- read the labels to check!10g dip 
50g veggie sticks 
10g crackers 
MainPizza/Wraps/Hotdogs/Cornish pastiesThis one can be your kids favourite!2 piece
2nd SavouryMini Sausage Rolls/Cherrios/Scrolls/Savoury muffins/Pinwheel sandwichesMake this item to suit any dietary requirements!1 piece
Birthday CakeCake/CupcakesKeep your slices or cupcakes small, they won’t need a lot more food at this stage!1 piece
2nd Sweet Fairy bread/Brownies/CookieMake this item to suit any dietary requirements!1 piece

Serving for ages 2 to 6 years old

Menu TypeSuggestionsHacksServing per child
Drinks
Water
Get one of the 5L of water with tap from the supermarket to save spills.300ml
Drinks/ otherJuice/Punch/Soft drinkBuy juice poppers & freeze them. You can then use them as esky blocks & the kids can eat them like slushies!300ml
Fruit Whole cut fruit platter/SkewersThis will suit any dietary requirements!100g 
SnacksPopcorn/Chips/PretzelsGet 2-3 types25g
DipsHummus/Nut-free Pesto/French Onion
Hummus based dips are usually gluten free, dairy free, vegan and nut free: read the labels to check!5g dip 
25g veggie sticks 
10g crackers 
MainPizza/Wraps/Hotdogs/Cornish pastiesThis one can be your kids favourite!1 piece
2nd SavouryMini Sausage Rolls/Cherrios/Scrolls/Savoury muffins/Pinwheel sandwichesMake this item to suit any dietary requirements!1 piece
Birthday CakeCake/CupcakesKeep your slices or cupcakes small, they won’t need a lot more food at this stage!1 piece


P.S. Dear S-LAWS, please, please no more kids born in January … you know who you are!

P.P.S. Also avoidance of September is greatly appreciated.

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