Skip to main content

Tasty menu ideas for guests at baby’s first birthday party

Your child is finally turning 1, and it’s time to plan their first birthday party. This is exciting! While certain parts of the party planning are simple, such as day, time, and theme, others, like the menu, can be more complicated. What birthday party food ideas can you wrangle for your little one’s first birthday party guests?

Unlike older-kid parties, a first birthday party typically has a mix of adults and children of various ages. Since most guests are way past formula and baby food, first birthday party food needs to have a multigenerational appeal. And with the emphasis on healthy eating these days, it’s safe to assume most guests will prefer healthy options for themselves and their kids. This means you need to provide a tasty menu that’s healthy and inviting to adults and kids.

Delicious taco bar for first birthday party
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Taco bar

One of the most beloved birthday party food ideas (on a Tuesday or any other day) is a yummy and healthy taco bar for the guests. Tacos are a low-stress menu item that is a hit for guests of all ages. Make hard shells and soft tortillas along with all the typical fixings like lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, guacamole, peppers, and sour cream available — as well as a lot of napkins.

In addition to ground beef or chicken, also include a big bowl of black beans for vegetarian guests. Black beans taste fabulous as a taco’s main ingredient. Add in a bowl of Mexican rice. Guests can fill a taco or have it as a side dish. Tortilla chips and salsa are a perfect pick for appetizers.

With a variety of taco bar ingredients, you can cater to the different tastes of your guests. Kids love tacos even if theirs are as low key as cheese in a shell.

Mac and cheese in a pot
Elena Veselova / Shutterstock

Mac and cheese bar

Another crowd-pleaser and the top of everyone’s list of birthday party food ideas is mac and cheese. Now, you’re thinking mac and cheese isn’t t healthy, but there are delicious recipes to the contrary floating around on the internet. By using skim milk, low-fat cheese, and vegetable broth, the mac and cheese becomes healthier without sacrificing taste. Mac and cheese is a kiddo staple because it is, well, macaroni and cheese. How can a dish made of those two kid faves fail to be a crowd-pleaser?

Make mac and cheese more grown-up friendly by putting out a mac and cheese bar. In addition to a platter of mac and cheese, set up a table of inviting toppings including crushed garlic, salt, pepper, tomatoes, onions, peppers, breadcrumbs, broccoli, bacon, pepperonis, chives, basil, and an assortment of cheeses. It becomes a vegetarian-friendly dish, and guests can create their own personal mac and cheese to taste, whether it’s plain or packs a punch. Whether this is the crown jewel of a list featuring first birthday party food ideas or any age, it will surely stand out.

Burger bar

If you’re having a backyard first-birthday party for baby, stick with a barbecue theme and have a make-your-own burger menu. For the kiddos, grill up small hamburger patties and pair them with slider buns, so the burgers are easier for younger kids to eat. If you have vegan or vegetarian guests, grill black bean burgers. You can make them or use one of the tasty frozen black bean burgers available at the supermarket.

Add tasty burger bar fixings like cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, bacon, onions, avocados, sauteed mushrooms, and pickles. Be sure to have barbecue sauce, ketchup, and mustard on hand to top off those burgers. For healthier sides, have a traditional salad, a fruit salad, and a veggie platter. For younger guests, set aside sliced fruit like strawberries and watermelon along with carrots and celery, since kids aren’t usually fans of mixing.

Pasta bar

Another kid staple that adults love among your birthday party food ideas is pasta. Since one pasta doesn’t fit all, a pasta bar is a fun twist on this traditional meal that appeals to a variety of palates. Boil up a variety of pastas, from penne and elbow to ziti and angel hair. If you want healthier pasta options, add whole grain or edamame pasta to the bar. Edamame pasta has been making a big splash and is loaded with protein.

Next up are the sauces. A plain marinara is a must with kids, but you can also be daring and have bowls of pesto, ragu, and Alfredo. Cook up your own or make it easy on yourself and use a delicious array of jarred pasta sauces.

For healthier toppings, offer a selection of grilled chicken and steamed veggies. Traditional pasta toppings include Parmesan cheese, chopped tomatoes, and basil along with garlic. For a more meaty fare, incorporate meatballs and sausage into your pasta bar.

Don’t forget a lot of crunchy bread to nibble on. You can make garlic bread. For healthier bread, go with a multigrain loaf. Bruschetta is a quick, low-stress appetizer that fits in with the pasta theme of the birthday party menu.

Other menu ideas

Here’s a short list of other ideas to add to your menu options for the little one’s first birthday party. Each of these can include meats or be vegetarian.

  • Pizza
  • Mini sandwiches
  • Quesadillas

Your baby is 1, and it’s a wonderful occasion you want to celebrate with family and friends. First birthday party food ideas don’t have to cause anxiety. A taco, mac and cheese, burger, or pasta bar is pretty low-stress and appealing to different tastes. A straightforward, uncomplicated menu lets you set out the food and then step back and enjoy your little one’s first birthday party. Now, just don’t forget the camera and the smash cake!

Dawn Miller
Dawn Miller began her professional life as an elementary school teacher before returning to her first love, writing. In…
12 amazing tween birthday party ideas your kid (and their friends) will actually enjoy
Tween birthday party ideas they'll love
Pre-teen girl smiling, holding birthday present

Remember, planning birthday parties when your kids were little? Those were always super fun and relatively simple. Times change though when your once little ones become tweens. When kids get older, planning birthday parties becomes a bit more challenging. For tweens, party planning can be difficult because they are in the transitional phase between tween and teen. Tweens have outgrown the typical kid birthday parties, but they also aren't ready for celebrations more geared toward teens.

The tween age is the years from 9 to 12. So, your soon-to-be 12-year-old is almost a teenager and there are many sensational teen birthday party ideas. The problem is your tween isn't quite there yet. That's okay though. There isn't any need to rush the teen angst. It will arrive soon enough, and there are plenty of exciting tween birthday party ideas to make the guest of honor and the invitees happy.

Read more
The best third birthday party ideas for a fun and stress-free celebration
Birthday party ideas to celebrate turning 3
Birthday cake with a number 3 candle on it

All birthdays are special when it comes to your kiddos, but three is a truly monumental birthday. You are ending the toddler phase with the third birthday, and that is certainly something to celebrate. Those terrible two are going bye-bye, and your toddler is about to become a preschooler. A three-year-old birthday party is probably the first one your little guy or gal will be inviting some friends of their own.

Kiddos love birthday parties, especially when all the gifts have their names on them. Of course, you want to throw a party your child and his or her friends will totally enjoy without making you crazy. Don't start stressing already. There are lots of birthday party ideas to make your little one's special day amazing while keeping your stress level to a minimum.

Read more
10 great party favors teenage girls will actually think are cool
Celebrate your teen with cool party favors their guests will love
Three teenage girls in matching pajamas

Shopping with a teenage girl can be a huge headache, but what happens when it's time to buy a birthday present? Parents dread the process and remember fondly the times buying gifts for their daughter was actually fun.

When it comes to buying gifts for teenage girls, the process can be grueling. Picking out party favors for teen girls as a group is just as difficult. Yes, teens, in general, are notoriously hard to buy for. As kids get older, tastes change dramatically and quickly. Today’s social media-crazed world is constantly on the move. What’s trending on Monday is dead by Friday. Since teens are joined at the hip to their smartphones, they are always up on the latest trends on whatever the hottest social media is lately. So, what is a party-planning parent to do?

Read more