What Should I Serve at My Kid’s Birthday Party? A Menu Guide for Every Budget

Jul 24, 2023 | Party Planning Tips

Party food menus probably weren’t something you gave a lot of thought to before you had kids. Pre-parenthood, your party meal prepping probably consisted of little more than buying a veggie tray from the grocery store and pouring some chips and salsa into an elegant serving dish.

But now that you’re a parent, food planning for a party takes a little more thought, and a lot more work.

Before we look at some menu ideas, let’s first examine the costs.

How Much Should You Spend on Party Food?

How much you spend on the menu for your party will largely depend on what’s important to you.

For some parents—even those on a tight budget—food is the most important item on their birthday party planning checklist. Why even bother throwing a party if you aren’t going to serve some delicious eats? they might wonder.

For others, however, the food is secondary to the crafts and games, or maybe even the clever decor. For these moms and dads, serving food is obviously important (because who wants to babysit a bunch of hangry toddlers—and their hangry parents—for two hours with nothing to feed ‘em?). But the dishes they serve are more about basic nourishment than about fancy plating or gourmet cuisine.

That said, if you’re having your party catered, you can expect to spend an average of $10-$20 per person.

If you’re cooking yourself or ordering pizza, you can expect to pay a minimum of $5 per person.

Put another way, if you’re expecting 30 guests, you’ll need about nine pizzas, according to the pizza calculator. In 2023, nine pepperoni pizzas from Dominos costs about $150.

The Ultimate Birthday Party Menu Guide

What you choose to serve at your child’s birthday party will depend on a host of factors, including your child’s taste preferences, the number of guests you’re expecting, and how much money you’ve set aside in your party budget for food expenses.

In our post-COVID world, food safety may also be something worth paying extra attention to. You may want to consider serving individually-packaged items wherever possible to prevent the spread of germs and disease.

Whether you’re looking to minimize your food costs or whether a budget is not a concern, this birthday party food guide will help you decide what to serve at your upcoming kids’ party.

Low-Budget Birthday Party Food Ideas

Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you still can’t serve delicious food kids will love! You may want to limit the meat dishes on your menu, however, as beef and chicken can get pricey when you’re cooking or catering for a large group.

Below are several ideas:

Main Course

  • Pizza
  • Corn dogs/hot dogs
  • Chicken nuggets
  • Mini hamburgers


  • Popcorn
  • Apple dipper sticks (apple slices and caramel sauce)
  • Chips and dip
  • Fairy bread (This popular Australian snack is easy to make! You just need bread, butter, and colorful sprinkles).


  • Cupcakes
  • Cake and ice cream
  • Cookies
  • Donuts (you can buy plain donuts and then “dress them up” with frosting and home-made glazes).

Bigger Budget Birthday Party Food Ideas

If you’re able to set aside a bigger budget for your food, this will give you more of an opportunity to experiment with some creative menu items. You could still serve birthday party classics like pizza, but then add a few more gourmet choices (like a taco bar) to provide some options for the foodies in attendance.

Main Course



What Should You Serve the Adults?

When figuring out what to feed the grownups at the party, the key is to provide finger foods that parents can easily eat on the go, because they’ll likely be spending much of the party chasing after their kids or refereeing games and crafts.

In addition to whatever you plan on serving the kiddos, you should make sure to have:

  • A Charcuterie board of veggies, cheeses and/or meats
  • Coffee, tea, and soda
  • Tea sandwiches are a great option, too

Use Two Balloons for All Your Party Needs

Two Balloons is your one-stop shop for birthday party planning. We provide a full directory of birthday party venues and vendors to help simplify the party planning process. Why visit 10 different websites when you can find everything you need right here?



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