26 answers

Need Menu Idea for 2-Year Old Birthday party--ASAP

Hi all. I have had so much great luck with you all, that I am here again asking for help. My son turns two on Saturday. We are having a small party, about 10 adults, three toddlers and to babies. I promised to serve a "light lunch" and cake/ice cream from 11:00 to 2:00. The theme will be Disney Cars. I'm about to order the cake from Whole Foods, but I CANNOT figure out what to serve for lunch. The problem? I'm seven months prego, have been sick with a sinus infection for two weeks, now my son is sick (but recovering fast!) and am just generally too pooped to make anything fancy. I need ideas FAST. Was hoping to do something that coordinates with the Cars theme, but am out of ideas. I don't think I'll have it in me to cook much. Kids are a little picky about what they eat, so was thinking corn dogs on a stick (not nutritious, I know) and mac n cheese. But for the adults, was thinking homemade mac n cheese, but what else???? Salad? Soup? Quiche?

Please help. All ideas welcome. :-)

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

First of all, I am soo, soo sorry this took me so long to get back here with an update (FIVE months!). I'm sure no one really cares anymore, but the party was a great success. The corn dogs were a huge hit; everyone, including the adults loved them. We also had quiche, fruit kabobs with chocolate dipping sauce, salad and punch. I was surprised that no one really drank the punch. It wasn't great, but who doesn't like punch?? ;-) Totally recommend corn dogs for little people parties...afterall, any food on a stick is yummy and fun. And it was super duper easy, which I needed since I was seven months prego at the time (new little guy doing great now, too). Thanks to everyone who responded (if you are still out there!). Lots of great suggestions, as usual.

Featured Answers

I think corn dogs are a good idea for all. If you want, when you serve them, have 4 thick sliced pickles on the sides to look like tires on a car. Stick them on with a half of tooth pick. Two dots of mustard for headlights and racing stripes in catsup. Adults usually like salad to go along with something else. A quiche is always a great choice.

I don't know how you feel about the frozen dinner thing, but I didn't feel all that great this is what I would do! I would put one of those a frozen lazagna in the over and some rolls and maybe a salad. Done! For the kids how about a pizza and juice box.

More Answers

A couple quick thoughts:

When I think "light lunch" I think of a soup, salad, sandwich type affair. Maybe a veggie tray, fruit, and pinwheel sandwich (all available pre package, prepped and ready at most grocery stores).

When I think of Cars I think of Route 66 and classic diner fare: meatloaf, mac n cheese, sliders, etc...

When I think of kids I think about color... Red, Blue, Green are all character colors in the movie, so why not use that... red apple slices, blue kool-aid, blueberry something, green peppers, etc..

I'm sure you will come up with something fabulous. Have Fun!

1 mom found this helpful

Give yourself a break mama!! Head to Costco or Sams club and go to their prepared deli foods area. Costco has some really tasty turkey tortilla wraps. They look like little wheels kinda and I've seen lots of little kids eat them. They also have some prepared salads (chicken cesaer, pasta, shrimp) that you could pick up. You could also just have a simple pasta salad and leave the dressing off a smaller bowl for the kids. The kids can then pick out whatever they don't eat? Hmmmm.... I just realized I'll be in the same boat this summer! Since you specified light lunch, don't feel like it has to be warm or too involved. My experience has been that light lunch normally indicates finger foods or cold. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Go to your favorite store and get some premade trays: veggies, fruits, meats & cheeses, etc. Also, many stores carry "cupcake" cakes. These are cupcakes frosted together in fun shapes. No cutting, just pull apart to serve. you can also get snack bags of fruit snacks, cracker & cookies. Go to the dollor store and pick up some pretty plates & cups. Your son will not care about how much you fused just that you celebrated.

Good Luck

1 mom found this helpful

I don't know how you feel about the frozen dinner thing, but I didn't feel all that great this is what I would do! I would put one of those a frozen lazagna in the over and some rolls and maybe a salad. Done! For the kids how about a pizza and juice box.

I just went to a first birthday party for lunch. She had all kid friendly foods and the adults loved it, too. She did homemade mac and cheese, a baked rigatoni, pigs in a blanket and a big fruit bowl. It was great. I don't think you need both pasta dishes.

Good luck! I don't envy you feeling the way you do, but your sone will love it.


MorningStar makes great little mini-corndogs that are vegetarian and much healthier than the typical corn dogs. You could make wraps with meat and cream cheese for the kids and throw on some lettuce and tomato for the adults. It's easy - just use a tortilla, spread put the ingredients on it and then cut them in to slices for "wheels". What about a veggie platter with dip for the adults and kids? Or you could do pizza - that's easy too, for the adults. The kids won't eat much because they're excited. You could also have little bowls of Annie's Cheddar Bunnies (or Goldfish), sliced grapes, etc... Stick to heavy appetizers rather than worry about preparing a meal. Have fun!

Easy baked sandwiches!

Buy Rhodes bread dough. There's a recipe for a reuben party sandwich on their website: http://www.rhodesbread.com/recipes/view/1576, but you can use it for other flavors as well.

Just pat or roll thawed dough out into a 12x18 rectangle, layer fillings (pastrami, swiss cheese, sauerkraut, 1000 Island dressing) down the center. Cut the sides in strips and fold over to look like a ladder. Brush the top with beaten egg and sprinkle with caraway seeds and salt. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. Use a bread knife or pizza wheel to cut into strips between the "rungs" of the ladder and serve.

We've also done pizza: fill with pepperoni, sausage, mozarella cheese, tomato sauce, etc. Sprinkle Italian seasoning or oregano and parmesan cheese on top.

Or club: fill with deli turkey, ham, bacon bits and cheese.

Or Philly steak: fill with roast beef, sauteed onions and green peppers, swiss cheese.

These look very impressive, but they're very easy. Have fun with the party!

I would make some mac-n-cheese w/ hot dogs in it(fav of mine as a kid) :)
I'd also get a veggie or meat and cheese tray from somewhere.Then maybe juice, make a pot of coffee or even cold tea for the adults.
I've gotta do this for my daughter 3rd birthday this summer and I always struggle with what to do.
Good luck in whatever u choose and Happy Birthday to your son!

Safeway has an awesome chicken tray. It comes with regular chicken strips and spicy chicken strips and I believe nuggets. They are always a hit at our parties. Kids and adults love them. We have never had any problems customizing the tray...all nuggets, no spicy, all spicy, etc. Check it out. Serve with a couple of dipping sauces. Buy a veggie tray and fruit tray and you have yourself a light lunch. I agree, don't worry about making the party food themed. If you want to, just make labels for the foods you have that relate to cars....Lightning McQueen spicy chicken, corvette carrots, etc...Good luck!

Subway has $5.00 foot longs (or find out how much their party trays cost)....just ask for the sauce on the side and let people add their own. Most kids like meat and cheese. Add some chips/salsa and a veggie tray and you'll be good to go. It doesn't have to be a lot especially since you'll have cake. Have fun!!

Pizza always works for everyone. If you want to stick with mac and cheese how about brats for the adults. Something simple with chicken would work to. Don't forget a veggie. I was surprised how my 2 yr old and her friend ate from a veggie platter.

I think the money to cater in is worth it in this instance (I am 9 months preggers and so understand). Quiznos has some really great and affordable options and the sandwiches are so yummy (they have sammies which are even more affordable too!). You just call, order, and pick up. Dump some Campbell's chunky soup in a pot and viola! You have a primo, light lunch with something everyone can have. For a themed touch buy a car shaped cookie cutter, get some fruits you can slice (pineapple, watermelon, even oranges will work) and slice and cut car shaped fruits. Take the leftovers pieces and store them away for later kiddo snack.

IF that's even too much work get some car fruit snacks to pass out to kids (makes a great goody bag item!). Also other places to order from with party options are Applebees, Red Robins, Albertsons deli, Safeway deli, or even pizza. Take what you order and arrange on a platter for a win. You can get flag picks to stick in the sandwiches for a more personal touch. Best of luck and let us know how it goes!

I second the cupcake cake! That's all we do now.

Get a car shaped cookie cutter and slap together some peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches! Thats what we did for my daughter's 2nd birthday (not car shaped of course), pair the sandwhiches with a side of grapes and a juice box. take about 10 minutes to prepare. For the adults, a quiche or even a taco salad, something simple...believe me no one is expecting gourmet, it is a 2 year old party and the mamma is 7 months along. If they want Martha Stewart they can go out afterwards! :) Good luck! For a cake, you should order a cupcake cake, they are frosted to look like a cake but underneath the frosting there are cupcakes, perfectly portioned, easy to serve and delicious! HAVE FUN!!!!

We just went to a party this weekend where they served for the kids "Uncrustables" which are the frozen pb&j sandwiches you buy pre-made. It was for 3- and 4-year-olds, and this was perfect! The parents asked everyone ahead of time if pb was ok (no nut allergies). They also had deli sandwiches for adults, water bottles and capri-suns, and carrots/chips for all. They bought the kids chips in the small baggies.

I would have run around like a nut preparing something gourmet. In the future, I plan to do something MUCH more like this! It was simple, fun, and the kids loved it.

I think corn dogs are a good idea for all. If you want, when you serve them, have 4 thick sliced pickles on the sides to look like tires on a car. Stick them on with a half of tooth pick. Two dots of mustard for headlights and racing stripes in catsup. Adults usually like salad to go along with something else. A quiche is always a great choice.

M. ~

Who says b-day parties have to be nutritious :) Isn't that half the fun?? I think your idea is good for the kids -- how about adding "fruit on a stick" as well -- then, for the Mom's/parents, use the same fruit for your salad -- just throw the fresh fruit together with nothing on it -- That always tastes best, don't you think? The kids would love their fruit that way, and you won't have to do another thing for the parents. The fruit will go with the quiche idea (that would be plenty!) or with your mac and cheese. That's my input! Remember, a mom is most concerned that her child is having a good time at the party, not what she eats! Relax, rest and have a good time with your "super cute 2 year old"!



I think everyone posted some great ideas. Chicken nuggets are a great subsitute for hot dogs and most grocery stores have them cooked already or you could buy them frozen. Also, the roast chickens can be bought at costco or grocery stores and are very reasonable. You could serve it like that or cut it up and put it in ceasar salad along with a fruit platter.

Have fun.

I think the corn dogs or even hot dogs (all beef, all turkey, or all chicken are the same price as junky ones but a lot healthier) and mac n cheese are a great idea. For the adults I'd throw some burgers on the grill (husbands, partners, and parents are great at helping with the grill). Keep it simple. My dd just turned 3 and I'm 32 weeks pregnant with twins so I totally get the exhaustion side of things. At car races it is my understanding hot dogs, burgers and pizza are the foods of choice I'd stick with them for the party. They are simple and someone is always willing to work the grill for you.

I always make a trip to costco and get the turkey rollers, hummus and pita, and veggies & fruit. It is always a hit!

Take it easy!!! Go to Costco and get their chicken soup. Serve that with grilled cheese sandwiches, real cheese not velveeta or american, the good cheddar. If you have a panini grill, grill them in that with a slice of fresh tomato. Soup and sandwiches is a great lunch. Have a fruit salad, you can get that at Costco in the produce cooler area, serve with a dollop of vanilla yougurt. Adults don't need a theme to eat. For the kids, use a cookie cutter in the shape of a car to make their sandwiches. And again the chicken noodle soup from Costco (they make it, it's in a tub with all of their ready to cook/heat/eat foods). You can go to a party store and find paper plates that look like tires, they have the Cars napkins and cups. The themed parties will be more practical when your kids are 4 and up. Prior to that, it's more for the parents. And when you do a birthday party, a good rule of thumb is one guest for each year of age. Attention spans are short, interaction gets complicated sometimes, not everyone is on the same nap schedule, and sharing isn't perfected yet, so the gifts can create undo tension. Happy Birthday Mom and welcome to the 'two's'!!!

For my sons birthday I did pigs in a blanket and they were a huge hit! Even the adults ate them and they were gone really fast .. for the adults I did a potato bar with a bunch of baked potatoes and then all the toppings that people could put on them like chili, cheese,sour cream, etc. The adults really seemed to like that - it simple and inexpensive but it was a big hit too. good luck! D.

Salad and quiche, or salad and soup, sounds awesome. You can even, if you're still feeling lousy, just pick them up from WF. <Laughing> Sometimes it's worth the extra $ to just not have One. More. Thing. To. Do. Especially when you're sick.

Their giant salads are fantastic, and you can just pop them into the fridge...and then toss them in a bowl before your guests arrive. Haven't had their premade just-heat-em-up quiches, but they're right there next to the salads...and soup is easy, just a couple big containers. I'd reccomend just getting one or two kinds though.

Anyhow...your menu sounds great. I'd LOVE to be fed real food at a childrens b-day. It doesn't happen that often.

Something we usually do, btw, is to send out the menu via email to our guests ahead of time, and let them know that they are MORE then welcome to bring any kind of special food or drink for their child either in addition to the menu or instead of. That way, picky eaters get fed, and picky parents are happy.

Awe honey... you can goto Costco and get a wrap or sandwich croissant tray and cut them up to small sizes and call it good! lol You not feeling well and being exhausted, I wouldn't try to do too much, as it'll be a tired day, just having the party. I noticed that the S. Hill costco had some nice looking "party trays". Add some cut up veggies, crackers and cheese or something simple and call it good. I love to toss a bunch of stuff in the crock pot for easy food gatherings too. (Chili, stews, soups, etc. and set it up for serve yourself w/a disposable cup and spoons for less dishes to do later.) It's nice to have this way, as it's filling/hearty and not a lot of clean up later. Whatever you do, try to keep it easy for you, it'll be a busy, tired day for you. :) Have a great time and put someone else in charge of pics/video so you can enjoy the party, too.

Our little one turns 5 today! We'll be having a little party on Saturday, too. I'm going for 2pm and she wants brownies instead of cake, so brownies and ice cream it is! lol Have fun!

Last time I made homemade ranch and then put out foods that go, like chicken wings, vegis, and chips. For the kids I did pizza and hotdogs, easy and everyone was happy. It is a party, healthy should not be the main concern, fun should be! It only comes once a year.

How about burgers on the grill? ~ Bigger ones for the adults and little ones for the kiddos. Goes great with mac & cheese!! You could then just get a veggie tray from WF while you are there getting the cake. Good luck!

Thanks for the tips. My 2 year old son is having a Cars themed party in two weeks (must be a boy thing) and I was going to do pizza, but I might do corn dogs instead. I'm thinking about doing a potato bar for the adults, fruit salad, and pretzels in addition to the cupcakes and cake.

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