A friend’s little one’s first birthday party at the weekend posed the first major hurdle in my 3 year old’s full conversion to veganism.
We originally weren’t going to be going but a change of plans meant that we were free to attend the party after all.
My friend was stricken when she remembered about our vegan diet – she had thoughtfully bought in some Quorn sausage rolls and other vegetarian bits and pieces for her veggie guests but nothing vegan since she didn’t think we would make it.
Luckily she’s not the type to turn up her nose at a guest turning up laden with boxes, so I headed to the kitchen.
The party was at 2pm, so I made sure that the boys had a nice, filling bowl of pasta before we left the house. I also made a pit stop to the supermarket and bought some dairy free chocolate buttons and some vegetarian Haribo sweets (a bit of a compromise but next time I’ll hopefully have more time to prepare and will be able to source some vegan sweets instead).
With some trepidation, we arrived at the party.
And had a blast!
Like many toddlers, my boy wasn’t too fussed about the food. There was a trampoline to investigate instead, and a football, and someone else’s toys!
When the time came to get something to eat, he was more than happy with his Haribo and the oatmeal raisin cookie bites I had brought with us. Our hostess had also provided boxes of raisins and bread-sticks for the kids so he indulged in plenty of those as well.
So far so good, but I was still mildly concerned about what would happen when the birthday cake was brought out. I took him aside for a moment and explained that the birthday cake had eggs in it so I’d prefer him not to eat any. I also told him that I had some cake for him without any ‘dead animals’. ‘Vegan cake?’ he asked. ‘Oh goody!’ he exclaimed when I replied in the affirmative.
It turns out I needn’t have worried.
5 tips for surviving a kid’s party.
1. Fill the kids up before you go to the party. Nothing breaks resolve quicker than a grumbling tummy – especially when you’re 3!
2. By all means, bring some vegan treats with you but, out of politeness, check with your host or hostess first.
3. Check beforehand with the party organiser to find out what type of food will be served. This gives you a chance to make some vegan versions so that the little ones don’t feel left out. Most party ‘classics’ can be easily ‘veganised’.
4. Take extras. Rather than just take enough treats to feed the vegans at the party, make enough to go around. The other guests at Saturday’s party loved the cookie bites and the lemon drizzle cake that I brought along – it disappeared pretty quickly and I have been asked for the recipe too. Hopefully these guests have gone home with a more positive view of veganism and realise that it doesn’t mean deprivation!
5. And finally, don’t go nuts if the kids accidentally eat something they shouldn’t. You can’t watch them like a hawk all the time and if you come down to heavy on them if they slip up (whether accidentally, or on purpose) you’ll likely just make the situation worse by having a go at the nipper. Accept that these things happen and try a different strategy for the next party.