When children are very small, parties are simple; all the children want is finger food. Perhaps this is sandwiches, crisps, sausages, sausage rolls, pizza fingers, cucumber sticks, raisins, grapes, chunks of cheese, cake, jelly and ice-cream. All these can be made or bought gluten-free.

You can choose whether to make the whole meal gluten free, or whether to provide gluten free options for your child, and make sure they know which is which. Because we don’t want some other child spitting out the gluten free bread or cake, and saying ‘that’s horrible’, we’ve usually gone for the ‘some is/some isn’t gluten free’ option, making as much as possible gluten free without making a big thing about it. And the birthday cake has always been gluten free.

As the children get bigger, the desire for ‘proper party food’ gets a little less, and so I thought it might be time to start a list of other options. Here are a couple of ideas:

  • baked potatoes with lots of different fillings, and a salad. To make this more special, you could try cooking the potatoes outside in a bonfire
  • … or any sort of picnic could be fun. Why not take a picnic to the beach, the hills, the park, to an outdoor theatre performance or even just the garden?
  • sausages and mash (use GF sausages, and don’t forget to provide some vegetarian ones too)
  • mexican – wraps/taco shells with plain chicken, chicken in a spicy sauce, refried beans, salad stuff, salsa, sour cream, guacamole etc
  • cook italian (with GF pasta as appropriate of course), and produce some really fantastic puddings
  • … or Thai …

Essentially, cooking food that the children wouldn’t usually eat, or serving it in a place or a style that they wouldn’t usually expect, can be a lot of fun.