Healthy Birthday Ideas

My younger daughter Olive is turning 2 this month so I thought I would try to come up with alternative ideas to traditional birthdays.  I do get asked about this quite a bit.  Here are some of my ideas:



My first thought was to do cupcakes.  That way, you are not stuck with a huge amount of sugary cake after the party.  You can bake as many cupcakes as you need.  While we are on the subject of cake, why not make them  a little healthier and use a muffin recipe?  I plan on using my banana muffin recipe for Olive’s cupcakes.   It’s plenty sweet and made with whole grains.  If you don’t want to use my recipe, this website has great healthy cupcakes.  This blog also details a great idea of an ice cream bar in lieu of cake.

nutella muffins copy


Traditionally, ice cream is served with the cake.  This can still be done if you like.  To make it healthier, you can make ice cream in a blender with frozen bananas.  Or, if you have an ice cream machine, you can try my strawberry ice cream recipe.  You can also skip the ice cream and do make ahead smoothie pops using these molds.

ice cream watermark


1. Fruit Skewers – Most kids love any food on a stick and fruit skewers are always a hit.

2. Make Your Own Pizza – Kids love this idea because it gives them some freedom in what they are eating.  You can use tortilla wraps or homemade dough.  Personally, I think the tortilla wraps are great, because they cook up in no time.

3. Veggie Tray with Ranch Dip – Again, kids love fun foods and they love to dip things.  If you have a child with dairy allergies coming to the party, you can try my Dairy Free Ranch Dressing.  You can also try my Healthy Honey Mustard.

4.  Healthy Chips and Pretzels –  Trader Joe’s and Amazon sell a pretzel called Unique Pretzels made from whole grains.  To make tortilla chips, I buy Food for Life sprouted corn tortillas and broil them in the oven for about 5 minutes.  Super easy!


Let’s face it, most birthday party drinks usually consist of juice boxes or Capri Suns.  If you have read recently about the mold found in Capri Suns you will probably want to steer clear of those.  There are some great low sugar drink suggestions on Disney’s website.  You can always just stick to water as well.


We have a pool, so we will not be doing a party activity since the kids will just go swimming.  For those that don’t, here are some ideas.  This website has ideas broken down into age groups as well.  Please note that some of the ideas there many need to be healthified, but it gives you a general idea.

1.  Scavenger Hunts – Kids love that sort of thing.  If you have any plastic eggs lying around from Easter, you can fill them with all kinds of treasure and hide them around your yard and draw a map with clues.

2.  Decorate a Flower or Herb Pot –   This idea is great because the pot could count as the party favor as well.  Maybe you can have all the kids plant some seed while they are at it.

3.  Old fashioned Crayons and Paper –   I know I only have toddlers, but I know that kids of almost all ages like to color.  We went to a family thing over the last weekend and my husband’s aunt had set out some markers and paper and all the kids were all drawing.  Even the older ones.


There are plenty of non food favors you can hand out.  Here are some I have thought of.  They really don’t have to be fancy either.  Just a little something small.  My daughter LOVED the little tiara that she got from a friend’s party.  In fact, she wore it every night with her princess nightgown until the baby split it in two.

1.  Stickers –  Most young kids like stickers.  They are an instant hit.

2.  Bubbles –  Again, always a winner.  They can usually be found for pretty cheap at the dollar store.

3.  Coloring Books –  These are great for girls and boys.

4.  Matchbox Cars –   An idea for boys.

5. Tiaras – These will always be a hit with the girls.

These parties do not have to be centered around junk food.  I hope these ideas can help you.  Feel free to add yours in the comments below!

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8 thoughts to “Healthy Birthday Ideas”

  1. My daughter's birthday is coming up soon, too. She's a preschooler so in addition to her party, we need a snack to bring to school. I think I'm going to steal an idea that I saw recently to make skewers with foods from the Hungry Caterpillar book (not the ice cream obviously!). If we keep the pieces small and use a healthy brownie, I think it will be overall quite healthy and fun!
  2. These are great ideas! Other things I like to do include freezing fresh fruit in ice cube trays to serve with flavored sparkling water (looks so festive!), setting up a homemade popcorn bar with healthy mix-ins, or building a "cake" out of fruit (search Pinterest for photos). A great party doesn't have to be all sugar! ;) Lisa Frank
  3. Theses are some really fun ideas. HOw about decorating unfinished bird houses (the kind you can buy from Michael's craft store)? For a drinks, maybe a big pitcher of water with lots of fruits mixed in like strawberries, oranges, limes..lots of color and it is more like a natural Capri Sun.

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