Simple tips to host a sugar-free party

When we were kids, sugar was the cornerstone of any kids’ birthday party. Today, parents are looking for ways to reduce that sugar rush.

Author of The Modern Dilemma of Raising Kids in a Sugar-filled World, Emma Wilson, shares her tips on how to host a sugar-free party without losing any of the fun! The book, which was published in 2018, documents the journey of her two sons, who bet her $200 they could go a whole year without consuming sugar.


Sugar Free Party sushi

How to have a sugar-free party

If you’re thinking about having a sugar-free birthday party, first and foremost don’t make a fuss. Be excited and enthusiastic about the fun that is planned and what will be served.

When entertaining, guests often ask what they can bring to the occasion. Paediatric chripractor, Lucy Scotts says you shouldn’t be shy in asking for sugar-free, healthy alternatives.

“Send them the recipe of your favourite salad, which may guide them and save them time finding one themselves,” Ms Scotts says.

Other ways to cut back on the sugar that has slowly crept its way into every party.

  1. Fill piñatas with fun trinkets such as bouncy balls, pencils, marbles and erasers instead of lollies.
  2. Provide sushi, savoury chips, popcorn or fresh fruit. Most of the time kids don’t even notice there’s no lollies! A colourful tablecloth, colourful balloons and streamers serve as festive reminders this is a special day.
  3. Opt for a simple homemade cake where you can control the ingredients. Don’t feel pressured to present a Pinterest-worthy creation! Your child will adore your handmade version, even if it has lumps and bumps.
  4. Party bags really are optional. If you must, there are plenty of fun alternatives to filling them with sugary treats. You could give a little pot with a cactus or plant, or a decorated paper bag with a few stickers, a yo-yo, cute pencils or a toy. Or you could have the guests decorate rock pets, or they could make dream catchers, a bracelet, bath bombs or other craft to take home.
  5. Serve water, and only water. Kids often don’t realise they’re drinking it and they don’t feel they’re missing out. You can use colourful paper straws, colourful cups or reusable mini-water bottles to make it more festive.
  6. Be refreshing. What would happen if you lived by your own compass? Demonstrate that kids’ parties aren’t a competition about who has the biggest and the best, but about getting people together, celebrating and feeling part of a community.

Sugar Free Party marbles

What about catered parties?

If you’re booking a venue for your party, like a bowling alley or laser tag, ask politely for simple changes. Most venues can be accommodating with enough notice. The other advantage is that in receiving more requests for healthier food options, the greater the value they see in providing them — birthday parties are big business, after all.

You can ask for:

  • a platter of chopped vegetables and dips, instead of chips. If you do this when children are their hungriest (i.e, when they first arrive) they are more likely to eat what’s in front of them.
  • chicken strips instead of chicken nuggets, real meat sausages instead of hot dogs, wraps, sandwiches (without the sauces). Choose the healthier option from what’s available on the menu.
  • your own cake to be served (because you know what goes into it).
  • sweets to be left out of party bags (if the venue is supplying them).

You can also find a range of sugar-free or low sugar treats in our Recipes section.

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By Angela Sutherland
After spending many years hustling stories on busy editorial desks around the world, Angela is now mum of two little ones and owner/editor at Kids on the Coast / Kids in the City. She is an atrocious cook and loves cutting shapes to 90s dance music. Angela is the editor of Kids on the Coast - a free family magazine whats on guide for Kids: things to do, school holiday fun and free activities for kids... Fun attractions, family food & travel, kids health & wellbeing, kids parties venues, parenting, pregnancy & babies, guide for parents. Servicing Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and beyond, Kids on the Coast is an online guide for parents with kids things to do with kids, schools and education and lifestyle news located on Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast & Brisbane, QLD.

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