Recently, my son, Jesse, turned two. We never got around to doing anything big for his first birthday due to our moving across the country, so I wanted to celebrate his second birthday the traditional way. Jesse, however, is unlike most traditional toddlers — he has an awesomely healthy diet, eating only whole foods, high raw, and completely sugar- and dairy-free, so it took a bit of imagination to serve up treats that other toddlers would be happy to tuck into.
I have always been interested in nutrition and have dabbled in a few nutrition courses here and there. When I fell pregnant I knew that my child would not be brought up on the standard diet of chips, sweets, and cola. In fact, with my own experience with Candida I know firsthand just how disruptive and addictive sugar can be to our susceptible bodies; as little as one teaspoon of sugar can weaken the immune system for up to four hours; this is the reason children often wake up with stuffy noses the next morning after parties.
If you, like me, wish to preserve your balance and those of your guests’ parents (there is nothing worse than a sugar-high toddler), swap out traditional toxic treats for healthier versions.
Ditch the sweets and treats in favor of fresh fruit (choose brightly colored, unusual fruit for more fun) and healthy treats. There are so many options that are not only not bad for you, but are highly nutritious, such as raw chocolates and raw energy and protein bars. I made goji berry “fudge” for Jesse’s party, and it was very well received.
Ditch the fizzy, sugared drinks and opt for homemade lemonade with honey. Make it pink lemonade by adding beetroot extract, and blue lemonade by adding blue manna powder. We had pink lemonade at Jesse’s party.
There is no need for trans-fat- and salt-laden crisps, when you can pop popcorn with coconut oil and serve sprinkled with nutritional yeast and pink Himalayan salt — there is nothing yummier, and all children love popcorn.
For the most important item, the cake, there are SO many healthy options, from a quinoa chocolate cake, to sugar-, gluten- and dairy-free options. For Jesse’s birthday party, I made this raw berry and cashew cream tart that turned out to be delicious, recipe adapted from here.
Über-healthy Berry & Cashew Cream Tart
To make the crust:
½ cup almonds
½ cup brazil nuts
½ cup dates
½ cup desiccated coconut
¼ cup cacao nibs
1 Tbs raw, local honey
Pinch of Himalayan pink salt
Put all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until fine crumbs. Press into a pie dish and refrigerate until needed.
To make the cashew cream:
1 cup cashew nuts (soaked minimum 8 hours, then rinsed and strained)
100g coconut butter/oil (melted over a pan of boiled – not boiling – water)
¼ cup raw, local honey
¼ tsp tumeric
Put all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth, pour into the pie dish and decorate with fresh berries on top.
Refrigerate until served.
Don’t feel compelled to provide a mountain of treats, most of which will go half-eaten and tossed. A prettily laid out table, with attractive and colorful treats, will make any toddler happy.
Instead of gifting your guests with sweet-filled party packs, rather send them home with a handmade thank-you-for-coming card, or something else from the heart.
Add music, balloons, and plenty of old-fashioned party games, and it is sure to be a hit!
Christine Powell, Author of African Babies Don’t Cry
Christine Powell is a teacher turned stay-at-home mom to her beautiful son. She lives in South Africa and does all she can to promote extended breastfeeding in a community that has started to view this age old custom as “lower class.” She is passionate about bringing her son up as naturally as possible, and she believes that breastfeeding and co-sleeping have helped make him into the bubbly, confident and energetic little boy he is. Christine has a background in natural nutrition and is a committed vegetarian (pescatarian) believing strongly in the wise words “we are what we eat.” In her spare time she enjoys taking her son for long walks, reading and writing.