It is time to celebrate this milestone birthday and it has to be an unforgettable event! Sweet sixteen birthday party does not happen everyday, so you need to put an effort. Choosing a party theme and venue is the first thing you need to decide on. But after that the planning is still not over. Don’t forget about one thing everybody loves – food! A party cannot be complete without it. Nowadays there are numerous delicious options you can choose from.
Let’s dive right into it!
This one we can’t skip and it plays the most important role in choosing the right food arrangements. Catering and homemade food can have significantly different prices. But there are many budget recipes and ideas you can choose from, so don’t worry.
Number of guests
Are you having a grand party or a small gathering? If many people are coming, you’ll need plenty of food. It is always better to have more then less, so nobody stays hungry. Also don’t let the quantity put quality in the shadow.
You should keep in mind if any of your family and friends have any food allergies. Many people, as well, are vegetarians and vegans. It would be a good idea to have some options for everybody.
Always check in advance what certain venues offer. Some may expect that you use their catering services.
If you want your bash to be aesthetically pleasing it would be best to stick to the party theme. Try to match food with decoration colors. Or if your party theme is connected to the certain culture or city then try matching the taste of the food with that. Of course, you don’t have to restrict yourself to just one type of food or color, but maybe you can put certain items in the first row where they are most visible.
Once you have thought about these points, we can move on to food ideas we came up with:
Catering services are most definitely very popular when having parties and special occasion events. But still, they are not the best option for everyone.
- If you are having a large-scale party than catering is a great option. They can prepare food for hundreds of people, which would be impossible for you to do on your own.
- Many catering companies offer a variety of food. You can easily order whatever comes to your mind and you offer many options to all of your guests.
- You can skip all stressful situations and save yourself some time. Catering companies have professional staff so you can trust them and focus on other aspects of the party that also need preparing.
- You will have delicious food. These people have experience and know what they are doing.
- This will certainly cost you money. Good catering service that provides quality food and also a large quantity of it can be quite expensive.
- You can’t be too creative or have absolute control over everything
If you have a smaller gathering and decide to book a few tables at a restaurant, always check their menu first. Shortlist some venues that have a pleasing interior but then see if you like the food they are offering. Most restaurants have some classical dishes like pasta, pizza, meat in different variations, soups, but there are restaurants that are focused mainly on one cuisine, like Thai, Chinese or Indian restaurants. Also check the prices! If you haven’t eaten in that restaurant before, maybe it would be a good idea to try some food there and decide on the quality.
Whether you are having a party which theme is focused on a certain culture or inspired by travelling, or you just like to experiment with different food options, you should most definitely research some famous world cuisines. These countries will sparkle your imagination and you can take best ideas from each and create a real international birthday celebration.
Every region of China has its own way of cooking. Their food has aromatic flavor and great taste. They offer everything, from sweet to sour dishes. Their food is exotic and spicy. If you are an adventurous and experimental type, here are some ideas you can try:
- Dim Sums – Small bite-sized rounds stuffed with veggies or meat
- Noodles – Now they are popular in every country, and you can add veggies or anything else you like, according to your taste
- Szechuan spicy chicken or pork
- Spring rolls – They go great with some dipping sauce
- Ma po tofu
- Fried rice
Unique and strong flavor, but also vibrant and delicious.
- Quesadillas – Tortilla filled with cheese
- Guacamole – Great dip for nachos
- Tamales – Boiled pockets of corn dough stuffed with meat
Just imagine an Italian family gathered around a long table with numerous dishes on it. Italians love their food, but so does everybody else in the world. But their food represents more than that, it represents love, family and loyalty. That’s the reason you have to include some of these dishes to your party and create a warm feeling of home.
There is a variety you can choose from, such as:
- Bolognese pasta
- Pasta Carbonara
- Pasta alla Genovese
- Pasta Amatriciana
- Pasta with tomato and basil sauce
- Pasta with tuna
- Quatro Formaggi
- Prosciutto e Fungi
Some other choices:
- Crostini – small slices of grilled or toasted bread and with toppings (cheese, meat, veggies, olive oil or some sauce)
- Pesto sauce – use it with everything!
Best representation of Mediterranean cuisine and it is also healthy
- Souvlaki – small pieces of meat and sometimes vegetables grilled on a skewer
- Gyros – most often with pork or chicken and typically served wrapped in a pita, along with ingredients such as tomato, onion, and tzatziki sauce
- Fish and seafood
- Greek salad – tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, onions and feta cheese
- Olives, feta cheese, oregano, rosemary, tzatziki sauce and olive oil
This cuisine is a mix of many others and in this way offers various different food
- Pies – Pumpkin pie, apple pie, pecan pie, strawberry pie, chocolate walnut pie, cherry pie
- Mac and cheese – Everyone’s favorite!
- Peanut butter sandwiches – you can also add some fruit, like banana or strawberries
- Fried chicken
- Buffalo wings
- Waffles – you can have both sweet and savory
- Chicago pizza
- Cheeseburgers and hotdogs
Other cuisines you should research:
Arabic, Hawaiian, French, Thai, Indian, Japanese
Finger food and appetizers
Everybody loves a quick fulfilling snack. People can walk around and chat while eating, which gives your party a relaxed vibe. These appetizers can also be the main food of your party without any additional dishes.
- Tomato and mozzarella bites
- Veggie rolls
- Mozzarella sticks
- Onion rings
- Chicken tea sandwiches
- Caprese bites
- Cornbread bites
- Tofu bites
- Pasta chips
- Pigs in a blanket
- Sweet potato bites
- Cheese crisps
- Chicken avocado roll-ups
- Bacon Brussels Sprout Skewers
- Mini frittatas
- Pizza crostini
- Chicken wings
- Egg puffs
- Mini burgers
- Cheese balls
- Lobster rolls
- Dipping sauces: onion, spinach, hummus, pesto, salsa, avocado, feta, blue cheese, egg, chocolate, guacamole, beans
There is nothing better than a good BBQ birthday party. You can enjoy beautiful weather and casual atmosphere while preparing delicious food on the grill. These types of parties also bring people together because you can all help each other with food preparation. The first association when it comes to BBQ are burgers and hot dogs, but there is more to it:
- Hot dogs and sausages
- Grilled vegetables
- Potato salad
- Pasta salad
- Cold beverages
- Fresh fruit
Candies, chocolate, cakes, cookies – teenagers (and adults too) love these things. You can throw a candy themed party or you can just serve sweets alongside other savory dishes. You can stick to classical desserts, but it is always a good idea to surprise your guests and add some unique candies.
- Cheese cake
- Cookie cups
- Caramel apples
- Nutella hand pies
- Chocolate mousse
- Velvet cake
- Java cakes
- Brownie bars
- Jello shots
- Cotton candy
- Chocolate fountain
- M&M cookies
- Banana split
- Cookie ball pops
- Fruit tart
- Lemon cream pies
If you are having a slumber birthday party or maybe a backyard bash movie night, you’ll need some movie snacks.
- Veggies and dip
- Finger food
If you want to make it simple and fun for your guests then food stations are a great option. Everyone can easily find and choose their favorite food and it is also eye-pleasing to see similar food placed together. Food stations are also a unique and innovative way to arrange food. They can be represented as an interactive experience for your guests if you have chefs that prepare food live. Food stations can, as well, help people bond with each other over their favorite dishes.
- Burrito station
- BBQ station
- Seafood station
- Tacos and nachos station
- Pasta station
- Pizza station
- Cake station
- Pie station
- Sushi station
- Veggie station
- Ice-cream station
- Condiments station
- Candy and dessert station
You can add some creativity to your food stations and let your guests make some of their own food. You can have different ingredients that can be put together easily.
Ice cream creative station with different toppings to add:
- Peanut butter
- Coconut flakes
- Gummy bears
- Chocolate chips
- Syrups: chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, caramel etc.
Mocktail creative station
Mocktails are fun non-alcoholic drinks that can be super delicious and colorful. In this way everyone can choose and mix different ingredients and create something they haven’t tried before. Here’s what you can offer:
A lot of fresh fruit:
- passion fruit
- Sparkling water, club soda, apple cider, honey, different syrups, ice cubes, mint leaves, creams, spices
- Also: food processor or blender, cocktail shaker (or something that can replace it)
Smoothie creative station
Birthday parties are usually full of junk food, but you can have some healthier option at yours. What you’ll need:
- Fresh fruit
- Veggies – spinach, kale, carrot, etc.
- Liquid – water, milk, juice
- Different seeds – chia, sesame, sunflower, flaxseed, pumpkin, and also walnuts, almonds…
Even if you have mocktails, you’ll probably need more drinks for your guests. Since this is a teenage party you should mostly focus on non-alcoholic drinks, and maybe have a few alcoholic choices for adults, if you wish.
Here are some choices:
- Punch bowls – great for big parties
- Non-alcoholic sangria
- Ice tea
- Hot cocoa
- Bottled water
- Teas – green, black, fruit flavors
- Lemonade with different flavors
- Sparkling water
- Different sodas and juices
Staying on Budget
Many people are not in a position to spend a lot of money for parties and fancy food recipes. And even if they had money, it is always better to find some alternatives that are inexpensive and high quality. Most of our food ideas are budget-friendly or can be altered to cheaper versions.
Don’t be afraid to be creative and to experiment with different ideas and combinations. You can always try to add something of your own to these ideas. Choose your favorite flavors and we are sure that your guests and family are going to love it. Have a great party and good luck!