A Health Kids Party....___(2)

Guest post and recipes from Joanna Rae of Jo’s Healthy Cupboard

At risk of sounding bah humbug, I’m going to talk about healthy-ing up kids’ parties this month.

I can’t be the ONLY parent who has a sense of fear when a multiple party weekend commences. How do you tame a sugar induced five year old who’s attended two back-to-back birthday parties with copious amounts of cake and sugary sweets?

For me there is a certain dread that looms when I’m organising the food for my son’s birthday party…

I love parties! I’m an organiser and I enjoy planning, invites, food, décor BUT I feel really stuck when it comes to food. Do I go down the healthy route and risk being seen as THAT annoying mum who always does the healthy thing and risk the kids not enjoying the food OR do I stick with what’s expected at a kid’s party.

Last year I made a standard sponge cake decorated with ‘normal’ icing and all the usual party foods with some healthier little treats on the side like popcorn, homemade smoothies and sweet potato brownies, humus and veg sticks. This year, it was just family so I made a healthy chocolate cake with chocolate avocado icing and some other sugar free treats.

What is the balance between keeping the kids happy and keeping them healthy???

I recently had great success providing healthier cake for a friend who’s son was turning 4 and this has given me the confidence to stick with more healthy, fun and appealing food for my son’s future parties. I am so grateful to my friend for being the first mum who came to me and said, “Can you healthy-up a birthday cake and treats for my four year olds birthday?” I won’t lie… I was PETRIFIED. My friend has VERY high standards and I’d avoided promoting my cakes as suitable for kids parties until this challenge.

She had the idea of a chocolate beetroot cake, which I spent some time researching and a few attempts at making and trying with family and friends. I wanted to get the taste and texture right and tried a few different flours until I was happy. The result was a gluten-free, dairy and cane sugar free chocolate beetroot cake with chocolate avocado icing and ‘free from’ chocolate buttons on top.


I also made banana bread and sweet potato brownies cut into little cubes with the same principle (gluten, dairy, cane sugar free).  That is a total of 3 cakes with a fruit or vegetable included…. Not bad for a kids party!!

The best feedback I had from the party was that one little boy who had an egg allergy was able to enjoy birthday cake without any worries and the parents and kids scoffed down the cake in equal quantities. It was my first kid’s party hit!

I am really passionate about helping mum’s create healthier options. Reducing sugar has been the thing I’ve tried hardest with for my own family and I hope some of these ideas are helpful. My biggest piece of advice would be to make party food yourself whenever you can because you know what is in it. These ideas have all been tried and tested with my family/friends and my own son who is five.

If you try any of my ideas I’d love to see your creation. You can tag me on instagram @joshealthycupboard or hashtag #joshealthycupboard

 Chocolate Krispie Squares

A healthier twist on a traditional classic party treat


  • 3 dessert spoons coconut oil
  • 3 dessert spoons almond butter
  • 1 dessert spoon cacao powder (depending how chocolaty you like it)
  • 2 spoons maple syrup
  • 3 cups rice krispies
  • 1 cup of oats
  • 1 cup chopped dates or raisins is you prefer



  1. Melt the coconut oil, almond butter, maple syrup and mix together
  2. Add cacao powder, rice krispies, oats and chopped dates
  3. Mix everything together until all krispies and oats are coated with mixture
  4. Add more krispies/oats if it seems too wet
  5. Pour mix into a baking tray and press down flat
  6. Put in the fridge for 30 -40 mins and cut into squares once hard


Chocolate snow balls

These are just like chocolate truffles minus the sugar


  • 1 cup of dates (pre-soaked if using pitted dates)
  • 1 dessert spoon cacao powder
  • 2-3 dessert spoons coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup almonds
  • Extra desiccated coconut for rolling


  1. Blitz almonds, desiccated coconut, coconut flour and cacao powder in food processor.
  2. Pour in coconut oil and dates and blitz again until it all starts coming together
  3. Add a little more coconut oil or water until it all comes together in a big blob
  4. Pull off little bits of mix and roll into balls.
  5. Pour some desiccated coconut onto a plate
  6. Roll balls in coconut
  7. Place in an airtight container in the fridge.


Fruit ice lollies

For a summer party these would make a great treat and contain very little sugar

  • 250g raspberries or strawberries
  • ½ a banana
  • 200mls yoghurt of choice
  • 1-2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
  • Splash of milk of choice


  1. Whizz up the fruit, yoghurt and honey in a blender
  2. Taste and add a little more honey is needed.
  3. Divide into 4/5 ice lolly moulds, then pop a stick in each
  4. Put lollies in the freezer for 4 hours until solid.


Sweet potato brownies

Another classic kids party treat, which include the wonderful, versatile sweet potato

1 mug dates (soaked in hot water first if not majool dates)

  • 2 cooked (cooled) sweet potatoes
  • 3-4 dessert spoons maple syrup
  • 3 dessert spoons raw cacao powder
  • 1 teacup GF oat flour
  • 1 teacup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon GF baking powder
  • 3 dessert spoons coconut oil (melted)
  • Coconut milk


  1. Blitz cooked sweet potato with dates and coconut oil in a food processor. Add maple syrup, cacao powder and blitz until smooth with no lumps
  2. Pour mixture into a mixing bowl and add dry ingredients: coconut flour, oat flour, and baking powder. Add a couple of spoons of coconut milk or a bit more until you get a thick batter like consistency. Mix well with a spoon
  3. Coat baking tray with melted coconut oil and pour mix into tray.
  4. Bake in oven at 180 degrees for 15 minutes or until cooked but still squidgy in 
the centre.
  5. Once brownies have cooled, you can make y°our own chocolate (coconut oil, cacao powder and maple syrup) to cover the brownies or melt dark chocolate and pour over the top.
  6. Place in the fridge to cool.

Mini cheese scones

  • 225g wholemeal self-raising flour or gluten free oat flour
  • 1 teaspoon GF baking powder
  • 55g butter or veggie alternative
  • 150 mls milk of choice
  • 30g grated cheese (I like a mix of Parmesan and cheddar)


  1. Mix flour and butter together using fingers until you get a crumbly texture
  2. Pour in milk and mix with wooden spoon
  3. Add grated cheese and mix again
  4. Break off small piece of mixture and place on a baking tray with grease proof paper
  5. Bake in the oven at 180 degrees for 15- 20 mins.



Homemade Toddler Snacks – Switching processed for unprocessed

It’s BLOODY HARD WORK being a mum! This week I’ve had several mummy fails including sending my husband and son to a birthday party two hours before it started…. AND making spinach scones my son refused to try!

We do our best as mums but we spend too much time worrying about the things we do wrong, the latest research that says energy light bulbs are dangerous or rice cakes aren’t good for us, or we shouldn’t leave our babies to cry….

Let’s STOP right there and think about what we are doing right for our little ones. Think about five things you’ve done today that are positive and write that STUFF down.  Remind yourself that you’re an awesome mum right here, right now!!

Now, lets think about what we can do more of, instead of berating ourselves for the things we need to do less of. My purpose on TickleBuds is to focus on the small things we can do to make life a little healthier and tastier for our families.

This month, it’s about the ‘snacking’. Lets face it, snacking is an important part of the day for most little ones… It’s part of their routine and keeps their energy levels up until their next meal. My son is 4 and he has 1-2 snacks a day (as long as he’s eaten his main meals). These usually happen mid morning and if he’s hungry early afternoon.

chopped banana and almond butter snack

I try REALLY hard with snacks to offer my son things like fruit, natural yoghurt, dried fruit and nuts, humous, homemade nut butter, and oatcakes. These are options that I know he likes but don’t contain vast amounts of ‘added sugar’.

Don’t get me wrong he also enjoys a treat from a packet such as pom bears, or a barney bear now and then!!! Why is everything a bear?? BUT there’s no substitute for homemade snacks, using whole food ingredients. I want you to know it’s actually really easy AND you know exactly what you’re putting in the snacks you make!!

When I was little I loved things like chocolate spread, pop tarts and frosties but I’ve steered clear of these with my son because I know it’s up to me to help him make better choices and not always resort to something in a packet because it’s quick and easy.

Something I wanted to recreate recently was “nutella” after my son saw it in Sainsbury’s and asked if he could have some. With a whopping 227g of sugar in a 400g jar. That’s more than half the total ingredients weight!!! Plus a massive 8.5g sugar in a 15g tablespoon I wasn’t going to start that habit!!

I set myself a challenge to make my own “nutella” sweetened naturally with dates and a small amount of maple syrup. These are the results, which both make delicious toddler snacks!

Chocolate “Hazelnutella”


150g whole hazelnuts

1 mug of soaked dates

3 dessert spoons coconut oil (melted)

2 dessert spoons cacao powder

1 dessert spoon of maple syrup

2 dessert spoons of water

ingredients for homemade chocolate spread

Add the nuts to the food processor with the cacao powder and blend for a few minutes until the nuts are a crumbly consistency but not quite a powder. Then add dates, coconut oil and maple syrup and blend again. Check the consistency and add water if needed. You want it to be a thick consistency but not so hard that it won’t spread. Transfer the mix into an old jar or pot with a lid and keep in the fridge. It will last 5-7 days in the fridge.

We like to spread our chocolate spread onto oatcakes, rice cakes or chopped banana.


Chopped banana and almond butter


Another favourite snack, which doesn’t even require the food processor, is chopped banana with almond butter or peanut butter. My son regularly asks for this. The bananas are sweet and the almond butter adds a little crunch and it’s a fun snack. Almonds are a rich source of vitamins and minerals and they provide energy for these busy little people.

**To check out more of Jo’s healthy living ideas and recipes visit her Facebook Page**