What is a birthday party without the snack buffet and epic birthday cake? A salad bar perhaps, or maybe something equally delicious. I am saying that it is okay to replace the high-fat and sugar-laden treats at a birthday party, just don’t tell anyone. Well at least until after they gobble them up. It is key to create a buffet that is colorful and appealing to kids and adults, having fruits, veggies and flowers...eating begins with the eyes. Let’s compare some traditional birthday treats with a more healthful option.
1. Ripple chips with French onion dip vs. flavored kale chips: Regular salted chips have 10 g of fat, 180 mg of sodium, while kale chips have 3.5 g of fat, 35 mg of sodium, 70% of daily vitamin A content and 60 calories per serving (approx 1 oz.). It is important to check the label on the kale chips, as they are not all created equal. If you feel adventurous, check out this website for some home made varieties.
2. Cheese platter with crackers vs. roasted veggies and chevre, with gluten free crackers: What's easier than platters with tidbits of cheese and meats. 1 oz of regular cheddar has 10 g of fat, 179 mg of sodium and 119 calories. The same amount of brie has 9 g of fat, 170 mg of sodium and 110 calories. I am suggesting chèvre (goat cheese) instead with some nice roasted veggies like asparagus and red peppers on rice crackers. Local chevre has 5 g of fat, 10 mg of sodium and approximately 80 calories.
3. Potato salad vs. sweet potato and broccoli salad: I am going to assume that both these salads are made at home. Even with fresh ingredients there is a big difference. The creamy potato salad has 20 g of fat, 1300 mg of sodium for a total of 358 calories. I did find it interesting that it would have 42% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C though. For the sweet potato and broccoli salad there are 4.5 g of fat, 350 mg of sodium and about 30 calories. And 110% of daily vitamin C PLUS 475% of daily vitamin A!
4. Chocolate layer cake with chocolate ganache vs. individual mini cheesecake cupcakes: You can’t have a proper birthday party without a cake. I thought about recommending artfully cut watermelon in the shape of a cake – but that is not very realistic. For a regular 1 inch piece of chocolate cake there is 23 g of fat, 50 mg of sodium and 280 calories. In the mini cupcake there is 7 grams of fat, 24 mg of sodium and only 120 calories (and they are gluten free to boot!). Lots of easy recipes are available on the Internet or head over to my recipe page for a great Easy Cherry Mini Cheesecakes.
With a little extra planning, and to the delight of your guests, you can have all the flavors of a traditional birthday with half the fat, salt and calories.
Cheryl Wahl, RHN, CPCC, Personal Trainer
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