How to Sneak Some Healthier Food onto Your Next Carnival's Menu
Overwhelmed by planning food for your next carnival? Does your community and/or parents in your area try to choose healthful food when possible? If so, we have you covered with some simple ideas to add healthier food into your next carnival menu!
Of course we are not going to recommend swapping out all of the traditional carnival foods like hotdogs and pizza for kale salads and carrot sticks, but check out these simple ideas to incorporate some foods that have some redeeming health values instead of pure junk food at your next big event!
Make Some Favorite Carnival Food Favorites Healthier
So... we don't have a recipe for cauliflower cotton candy ;), but we can make a simple suggestion for one of the favorite carnival and festival foods. Many family events serve shaved ice or snow cones and the kids of all ages love them! They are a great way to cool down and have a tasty treat at the same time.
But, most shaved ice and snow cones are made of corn syrup, artificial colors and flavors and preservatives - yuck! Why not use natural fruit juices and a small amount of sugar (or honey) to sweeten them, not just junk?
Tip #1 - Ask your shaved ice vendor. Because most carnivals seem to rent the shaved ice booth, this is a question you ask before hiring a vendor. If enough potential customers are asking for natural shaved ice flavorings, it could really make a difference.
Kona Ice has a "Fruit First" flavor that is more than 40% natural fruit juice. Check out their website here.
Tip #2 - Make your own healthier alternative syrup. With a quick search online, we found some blogs who have 100% fruit flavored snow cone syrups you can make yourself. Be sure to know the health department rules regarding homemade foods for your carnival in your area. Many schools will allow you to use their commercial kitchen if that is required to make your own syrup!
We found this blog with a recipe for fruit snow cones here!
Dress Up Ordinary Food for Fun!
Some prepackaged foods can look super cute with an ordinary permanent marker and a little artistic flair!
The "peachy chicks" above took just a few moments and can be a food choice instead of a bag of chips at your carnival.
Another idea is to dress up cheese sticks the same way! We have seen bunny face cheese sticks for the spring and cute ghost cheese sticks for the fall!
Note: you most likely will need a small amount of healthy alternatives - maybe start with 10 - 15% the healthy foods for your first go around and see how many are chosen. If you sell out you know next year to add more!
How About Chocolate Dipped Fruit Instead of Candy?
The US food pyramid recommends 5 -7 fruits and vegetables each day. Why not swap out "pure sugar" choices for a dark chocolate dipped frozen banana with a few extra sprinkles? The kids are sure to love them - and his fresh treat is sure to be something different and unique at your spring or summer carnival. As a bonus, bananas are an inexpensive fruit so the cost of this treat will be reasonable!
The best way to serve frozen bananas at your carnival is to start a few days before your event.
1. Gather supplies for your frozen banana booth: bananas, ice chest & ice, popsicle sticks, table for serving, food safe gloves, crockpot with melted dark chocolate, and a variety of sprinkles or toppings and shallow bowls to help hold the goodies. (Nuts are fun too as long as no child or adult in your school has a serious nut allergy)
2. At least 24 hours before your event, peel each banana and put the bananas on popsicle sticks wrapped tightly in a small piece of foil or plastic wrap and place in the freezer.
3. At your carnival, have a ice chest with the wrapped bananas and a crock pot of melted dark chocolate. When a child orders the frozen banana - you simply remove the wrapper and dip into the chocolate and quickly sprinkle the extra toppings of their choice.
The kids won't even miss the neon colored rainbow candy - and moms may even borrow your idea for a treat this summer!
Remember to start small - if you have 500 children expected to come to your event - you may want to start with 100 - 200 bananas your first year and see how it goes.
And, just as mentioned above, please check with your local Health Department for details and instructions on how to follow the recommendations on keeping food safe and serving fresh food at your event!
Thanks for reading the Carnival Savers blog!
If you'd like more hints & tips on saving your money and time, feel free to check out more of our posts