Feeding a hungry crowd of teenagers is no small undertaking, but party time calls for smart planning. At parties, teens may seem more interested in socializing and dancing than they are in sitting down for a meal, but if the food is sparse or unappealing it can really bring the night down. You have to be practical with the food and beverages you choose to serve so it's convenient and safe, but the spread still needs to be appealing and delicious.
Determine details in advance. Decide on a party theme, which will help you determine the types of food to serve. Ask guests to RSVP so that you will know how many people are expected.
Consider foods that are easy to pick up and go. Finger foods, miniature burgers and an assortment of crunchy snacks will allow teens to nosh throughout the evening without slowing them down.
Plan a menu that is diverse. While some still prefer simple foods like chips and pizza, others have more grown up tastes and prefer crudites and sushi. Some kids are more health conscious than others. There may be kids with food allergies or dietary preferences, such as vegetarians. A variety will ensure that all your guests are accommodated.
Get all your recipes in order and buy your ingredients in advance so that when you begin preparing the menu you'll have all you need. Make a list so that you can check items off as you finish preparing them.
Handle foods with care to prevent contamination. Put foods in air-tight containers and store them at the appropriate temperature until the party.
Decorate foods or serve them in creative ways to make an exciting presentation.
Set up food tables to ensure party food is maintained at safe temperatures, keeping hot and cold foods separate. Place cold food on trays filled with ice or frozen gel packs and keep the temperature below 40 degrees. Place hot foods in electric slow cookers, insulated containers or in elevated aluminum trays with fuel cans designed to heat party trays, keeping them above 140 degrees.
Serve foods buffet style, or 'bar' style, such as a taco bar with a variety of toppings or a sandwich bar with an assortment of sliced meats, cheeses and condiments so that your guests can dress up their foods with the flavors they prefer. Offer an assortment of dips when serving foods like sliced vegetables, fruit, chips and nachos.
Make beverages that are as fun and festive as the food. Instead of plain old soda-pops, make non-alcoholic cocktails such as tropical fruit juices mixed with sparkling water in fancy martini glasses or champagne flutes. Little efforts like this can make all the difference between a run-of-the-mill gathering and a swanky teen soiree.
Things You Will Need
- Air-tight containers
- Decorative platters and bowls
- Cold and/or hot food holding system
- Serving utensils
- Dips and condiments
- Soft drinks
- Decorative cups
Utilize tiered serving trays to maximize your table space.
Use frozen melon balls to keep drinks cool instead of ice.
Supervise teens around hot food tables or trays with burning fuel cans.
Don't serve food with wrappers; you'll find them all over the floor by the end of the night.