creating a (lunch) tapas party

low carb/paleo kids: creating a (lunch) tapas party
low carb/paleo kids: creating a (lunch) tapas party

{Low carb/paleo kids is an on-going series of grain-free, low sugar/carbohydrate snacks.}

My girls and I have been having "tapas" parties for lunch for years now.  (Tapas are snacks and finger foods that originated in Spain.)  Because of our shift in eating and avoiding grains and high carbohydrate foods, we've just switched up what we serve for our lunchtime tapas party to make them healthy, fun, and kid friendly.

Tapas parties are so much fun for kids.  It means 100% finger foods, a variety of fun/unique foods, and being able to pick and choose your favorites to fill your plate.  I'd say as a mother that no longer bakes with grain (which means the kids eat fewer sandwiches in general for lunch) I love the idea of creating an enticing and fun spread for my kids that they can get excited about.  No two tapas parties are ever the same.  And that's why we love them.

low carb/paleo kids: creating a (lunch) tapas party
low carb/paleo kids: creating a (lunch) tapas party

Here are some of my tips for creating a (lunch) tapas party for your kids:

  1. Involve your kids in the prep.  Some elements you may choose for a particular tapas party may take extra prep time.  Enlist your kids.  Let them learn a new skill in the kitchen.  They'll not only gain confidence and feel independent but they'll also more than likely be excited to try it if it is something new.
low carb/paleo kids: creating a (lunch) tapas party
low carb/paleo kids: creating a (lunch) tapas party

{softened cream cheese with a pinch of onion powder and dill weed with Caroline piping the mixture onto cucumber rounds}

low carb/paleo kids: creating a (lunch) tapas party
low carb/paleo kids: creating a (lunch) tapas party
low carb/paleo kids: creating a (lunch) tapas party
low carb/paleo kids: creating a (lunch) tapas party
low carb/paleo kids: creating a (lunch) tapas party
low carb/paleo kids: creating a (lunch) tapas party

{super simple mini pizzas: pepperoni, tsp of marinara sauce, topped with mozzarella cheese and baked till browned and crispy}

2. Try something new.  Try a recipe you've pinned that may just be as simple as assembling but would totally excite your kids.  I try to pull something new out of my hat of tricks for our tapas parties: a new dip, new cracker, or new way of eating the same thing (like bear shaped hard boiled eggs).

low carb/paleo kids: creating a (lunch) tapas party
low carb/paleo kids: creating a (lunch) tapas party
low carb/paleo kids: creating a (lunch) tapas party
low carb/paleo kids: creating a (lunch) tapas party

3.  As always, make it pretty.  Seriously friends, I don't just say this because we live in a "Pinterest" world of perfectly plated food.  I like to make things pretty for my family (specifically my children) because it makes a huge difference in their thoughts and feelings about food and trying new things.  Cubed cheeses and berries piled on a white platter looks so appetizing and inviting.  Piping deviled egg filling into the egg white is way more enticing than when I try to just spoon it back into the white.  Trust me.

There is something psychological about food presentation and children that I find fascinating.  My children respond incredibly well when I make something special.  When I let them use the fancy little china dishes for a tapas party.  When I put one of our few tablecloths out.  And when all of my little details and care in using special servingware heightens their enthusiasm and excitement for a meal enjoyed together, it is well worth the extra steps.

IMG_7100
IMG_7100

{awesome (grain-free) sour cream + chive crackers--my kids love the job of breaking them up off the baking sheet to store}

4. Get creative with slicing, cubing, cutting, and toothpicks.  Seriously, you could take your typical lunches you serve and, with a few new skills, transform their lunch into something they'd imagine at a fancy party.  Just the simple addition of toothpicks makes my kids go crazy.  Cutting a treat into triangles instead of squares, slicing bananas on a diagonal instead of perpendicular, and letting kids be architects with cubed cheese and toothpicks.

Some tapas parties are more special than others.  The available time put into the assembly and presentation of the food decides how grand ours will be.  Other tapas parties happen because I can't think up an interesting lunch and so I bring a variety of random ingredients together, cut, cube, slice, and present as a "tapas party".

Sample foods served for an impromptu "quick" tapas party:

  • cubed cheese
  • rolled deli meat with a tooth pick
  • cut up homemade or store bought Larabars into cubes with a tooth pick
  • sliced fruit
  • dried fruit + nut cups

Have you ever created a tapas party for your kids?  What do you like to serve up for finger foods?

Looking for other low carb/paleo snacks for kids?  Check out these:

low carb/paleo kids: 3-seed coconut berry energy bites (nut free, grain free, dairy free)

low carb/paleo kids: pb & banana sandwiches

low carb/paleo kids: strawberry banana yogurt & chocolate yogurt

low carb/paleo kids: creating a yogurt bar and more

low carb/paleo kids: vegetable dip & sticks in a cup

low carb/paleo kids