Have you ever been to a birthday party and before the cake is even cut you think, “fudge, there goes my blood sugar.”
This past weekend I celebrated the first birthday of my third and final child. To say I went overboard was an understatement. My mother joked around that she felt as if we were prepping for a wedding. She probably was right. The only thing missing was a DJ. I had the food catered, a case of wine on hand, coolers full of beer, water and juice boxes, chairs and tables rented, twinkly lights hung outside, light up party favors, dozens of pink and lime green balloons hanging anyplace we could reach, custom smash cake, sheet cake that matched her specially designed “One” t-shirt from Etsy along with pink cupcakes all to feed 90 guests.
Yes. I said NINETY.
50 adults, 40 kids.
Through the wonderful chaos of high pitched shrieks of laughter, I would quickly take inventory of the appetizers that were scattered about making sure there was plenty available pre-dinner. There were the standard bowls of chips and pretzels, a couple veggie trays and dip, fruit salad (being attacked by fruit flies- ugh!), an amazing corn, yellow pepper, corn chip salad (thank you friend Holly and Pinterest), another amazing strawberry, peach and tomato salsa (thank you Brayden) and a platter of cheese and crackers. The main meal consisted of roasted chicken, baked potatoes, macaroni and cheese, baked beans and a tossed salad.
Oh and hot dogs.
You can’t have a kid centered party without hot dogs. Well you can, but why bother. They’ll just whine even if there’s mac and cheese. Trust me on this one.
So as I was chatting it up with guests, keeping a watchful eye on everyone’s happiness, directing people to the makeshift garage bar hidden from the kids and trying to weed out the cries from little ones making sure they were not mine, the question that popped up in my head was:
“What survival guide tips could I give my clients with diabetes during a birthday party?”
The conversation that ensued again inside my head went something like this:
- Only attend birthday parties thrown by a dietitian. I realized looking at the items my friends brought (there was a “in lieu of gifts, feel free to bring a dish, dessert or drink to share” on the invitation) that there were way more gifts than expected and a lot less plates of brownies. In fact there were NO PLATES OF BROWNIES!! The only additional sweet treats brought were the specifically requested “to die for” chocolate chip cookies by my sister in law, a soft pumpkin cookie and a banana bread (that I hid and devoured the next day for breakfast). Other than that it was fruit trays, veggie trays, hummus, healthy, yummy salsas and the Pinterest salad that despite the creamy dressing, a little shredded cheese and crushed Fritos on top it was all vegetables. I know for a fact that this is not how other parties roll. I’ve been to them. I’ve tasted there cake balls, cream cheese and ham roll ups and Buffalo chicken dip. My parents joke that salami is not allowed down the driveway (which they can buy when visiting, i just have to remember to turn my head so they don’t see my eyes roll). Anyway, I guess others got the memo too.
- If that’s not possible, Be the host of the birthday party. Have you ever seen a host (or a mom for that matter) eat her food hot, with others, in an enjoyable slow paced setting when there’s children around? Me either. While my mound of food was high on my plate and heavily loaded with starches from the potato, mac & cheese AND baked beans none of those are quite satisfying cold. So I worked on my half chicken in little tiny bits as the flocks of interruptions from guests of all ages swarmed around me throughout the 20 minutes I gave myself before it was time to watch Baby Girl smash her cake. Needless to say more than half of my food was forgotten and tossed.
- Stand or sit with your back towards any and all food, including the beer cooler. Even though I directed where all the snacky type food would go and beverage coolers would be set up they were slightly out of direct view of where I seemed to be hovering. They were just on the parameter of the different seating sections set up on the lawn and driveway. So in order for me to snag a few chips, a bit of cheese or even a cold beer I would have to work my way through a crowd AND not get sidetracked on what I was after. I did make several attempts to snag a plastic glass of wine but was cut off with a late arriving family deserving of welcome hugs, a dancing 5 year old needing to use the bathroom NOW and another 5 year old needing to be told it was not time to cut the cake….. again. I must admit, I did succeed with obtaining a glass of wine, however, it was with my dinner which like the baked beans was forgotten and left to be raided by more fruit flies.
In Part 2 next week, we’ll talk about what to actually eat at a birthday party (if you get the time), what to stay away from and how to figure out portion sizes without calling attention that you’re secretly counting carbs.
In the meantime, what are your birthday party survival tips??
As always, don’t forget to like me on Facebook, share this with friends and sign up to get my free easy reading mini ebook “5 super simple tips to keep blood sugars under control.” at KimLeneghan.com. See you next week.