Hosting a sugar free celebration when time is scarce

I sent invites to our big and little friends that had been by our side throughout Felix’s first year. Friends that had delivered home cooked meals during those early months, organised play dates and catch-ups to encourage us into the ‘real world’ or would happily visit with wine, knowing our conversation would be interrupted by crazy kids and bedtime routines.

As the day drew closer I thought long and hard about the menu. These days I’m conscious of the effect sugar has on my blood glucose levels and have tried to reduce my sugar intake a number of times, with varying success. Luckily my family and friends do not have Type 1 diabetes however we’ve all experienced the sugar crash hours after gorging on sweet food. It feels so good at the time.

There had to be a way we could celebrate such a momentous milestone with good food and friends, while avoiding the sugar crash and kids climbing up the walls. There was – simply cut out the sugar. It sounded easy enough and I was certainly up for the challenge.

You don’t have to look far to find incredible sugar free recipes (check out and for inspiration) but I had to be realistic. I simply didn’t have time to create a menu for 30 adults and kids from scratch. Not having enough time was not going to derail this challenge. I would scour the supermarket to find food that was quick to pull together, tasty and sugar free.

The menu:

    • Ready salted chips (crisps) and onion dip It appears that flavoured chips include sugar. What? Why? You can avoid added sugar by choosing ready salted (plain) varieties. If buying a premade dip be sure to read the labels closely. Some included sugar, others (a lot of the sour cream based dips) did not. We went with a New Zealand staple and made our own onion dip. Simply combine a tin of reduced cream and a packet of onion soup mix. It’s that simple and includes no added sugar.
    • Popcorn
    • Fruit platter Watermelon, grapes, strawberries (a great low carb option), kiwifruit (another low carb option) and mandarins.
    • Vegetable platter Tomatoes, celery (no carbs) and carrots.
    • Weightwatchers Jelly I made individual servings in plastic cups (no carbs).
    • Pistachio Nuts
    • Sandwiches Be sure to check the labels. I found a lot of bread had added sugar. We used Tip Top Oatalicious bread and used a cookie cutter to make cool shapes. I saved all the crusts to take to the local Duck pond (a bonus family outing).
    • Fillings
    • Vegemite
    • Cheese & ham
    • Cheese platter I incuded an assortment of cheese, Lisa’s hummus, Mediterranean chunky dip basil pesto, Fantastic Thinner Bite Black Rice Crackers & Huntley and Palmers Rosemary and garlic wholegrain crackers.
    • I was disgusted that so many crackers from the supermarket include sugar. Why? I had to look really closely at the labels to find sugar free options.

    • Drinks – Water, Diet lemonade & Vita fresh orange and mango juice.
    • The piece de resistance was the I Quit Sugar birthday cake from their IQS kids’ cookbook. You can rely on children to tell you exactly what they think and even though one turned his nose up, everyone else gave it a try.
If you’re thinking about creating a sugar free kids party, I encourage you to give a go.

We had a great time celebrating our little man’s first birthday. It was absolute chaos as we all squeezed into our little place, there were lots of laughs and I love that we managed to pull it off. But you know what, it truly didn’t matter what was on the menu or if there even was a menu. We were surrounded by our village and after all it takes a village to raise a child. Thank you to you all. xxx