Throwing a baby shower is an honor, and while you will have many things to consider as you plan, such as decorations or entertainment, one of the most important parts of throwing a great shower is the food.
The food may seem like a background item while most of your guests are instead focused on gifts or games, but it can really help create a cohesive feeling, especially if you are choosing to reflect a specific theme. Below are several ideas to help you choose food that will wow your shower guests while appealing to a wide variety of people.
One of the first things you should consider walks a thin line between food preparation and decorations: the table display. While you could simply choose to have the food set out on a counter or plain table, to really sell it you should try to make the display interesting. This makes the food even more appealing and appetizing.
You can do this with minimalist flair by having a solid color tablecloth with some pretty wrapping paper as a table runner, or you can be more creative, like by decorating your table to look like a ship for a nautical themed shower. One widely recommended tip is to create several different layers of food, a look you can achieve by putting some food on the table itself, some on cake stands, and others on even taller dishes, using apothecary jars, etc. Adding a nice backdrop behind the food display, even if it is just some twisted streamers or balloons, will help as well. You’ve worked so hard on the food; you should display it proudly!
Now, beverages are not the first thing people usually think about when planning the food for their baby shower. However, it is one of the easiest items on the list and can be easily adjusted to fit a theme or color scheme. There are a few different ways you might choose to make and display your drinks.
Punch: A punch bowl is probably the most traditional drink option for a baby shower. There are many cutesy ideas out there, such as creating a ducky bathtub with blue punch, ice cream, and floating clean rubber ducks on top. If you’re looking for a more elegant and less kitschy style of punch, try one with fruit! Make a raspberry sherbet punch, with fresh fruit like pineapple and raspberries with raspberry ice cream, pineapple juice, and sprite. This makes a lovely and delicious punch.
Infused Water and Iced Tea: This is another popular idea. Infused waters (water served with fresh fruit and herbs) are a newer fad which many people love, especially if they want to avoid the sugar-laden punches. Iced tea is a classic drink that perfectly complements a light and simple baby shower. If your guests simply prefer water, you can offer them infused ice cubes as well. Simply freeze flowers or fruit into ice cubes for a beautiful accent with a little hint of flavor.
Mocktails: You might be tempted to include alcoholic beverages for your guests. But what about the mom-to-be or anyone else who might not enjoy drinking alcohol? This is where mocktails come in. A fun nod to the fact that the mom-to-be cannot drink, making virgin drinks are a cute way to have the cocktail flair without making anyone feel left out.
For a classy affair, make easy virgin mimosas by mixing orange juice, lime juice, and sprite. You could also make chilled wine slushies using non-alcoholic wine, or possibly virgin strawberry daiquiris if the pink color would fit your theme. Or consider creating a “preggatini”, using orange juice, cherry grenadine, and sparkling cider.
Lemonade: Lemonades are becoming more popular with baby showers, especially if you can create an “artisanal” style of lemonade such as strawberry lime or coconut lavender. You could have a lemonade station where guests are invited to take a base lemonade and add their own choice of flavorings, fresh fruit, or edible flowers.
For the presentation of these beverages, consider nice drink dispensers that look like apothecary jars, simple glass bottles with colorful straws, or even mason jars.
Appetizers are an easy idea for baby shower food. Many hosts do not see the need to serve a complete meal at a shower, and guests often like to snack on several different types of food throughout the party. Because of this, appetizers or finger foods can be a great option.
Classic Appetizers: This baby shower staple is easy to pull off. Set up a display of assorted crackers with different cheeses and meats, or go as simple as a basic fruit or veggie tray. Any spread your guests can easily choose from will be great! Classic deviled eggs are also a popular meal item at baby showers. You might also want to offer small finger sandwiches, mini burger sliders, or pinwheel roll-ups.
If you’re feeling ambitious about fruit, try carving a watermelon into a baby carriage to serve as the bowl for your fruit. Another staple, pigs in a blanket, can be modified for a baby shower by wrapping the mini hot dogs in the puff pastry so they look like babies swaddled in a blanket. For a veggie tray, one super cute idea is to create a little train out of the assorted veggies. Hollowed-out bell peppers serve as the cars, cucumber slices as the wheels, celery sticks as the train tracks, etc.
Kababs: Food on skewers also makes for easy eating, such as kababs or antipasto skewers. For the antipasto, add some cold cooked pasta with some other savory foods like tomatoes or even some seafood if your budget allows for it. You could even pair up cherry tomatoes with spinach and a ball of fresh mozzarella with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar on top.
Fruit skewers are also a great choice. You can assemble them in a rainbow pattern from strawberries to purple grapes, or simply a great mix of fruit such as strawberries and bananas. You could also take slices of the fruit you are serving, such as watermelon, cantaloupe, or pineapple, and use a cookie cutter to cut the fruit into fun shapes like stars or flowers. Save any complex skewers that involve grilling or cooking for the main dish, if you are choosing to serve one.
Snack Mixes: Snack mixes are a big hit at baby showers, especially if they can be served in individual containers, such as paper folded to look like a diaper! This can be as simple as muddy buddies, also known as puppy chow. Another great idea is to create an animal cracker snack mix with animal crackers, pretzels, M&Ms, and nuts.
With this group, be sure to display them in a spread so people can pick and choose which one they would like. You could also use a multi-tier cupcake stand to better display the variety.
If you are planning to serve a main dish at your baby shower, you could always choose to cater the meal, but it is oftentimes easier and much cheaper to make it yourself. You can create a variety of dishes depending on the shower’s time of day.
Brunch Main Dishes: If you are hosting a morning shower, brunch-type food such as a quiche or breakfast casserole would be ideal. You could make breakfast kababs with alternating strawberries, bananas, and pancake or french toast bites. If you are feeling ambitious, you could offer a breakfast bar for guests to build their own plates of food, choosing from such classic breakfast staples as pancakes, waffles, french toast, sausage or bacon. If that isn’t for you, you could also try an omelet bar.
Lunch or Dinner Main Dishes: In the afternoon or evening you could choose to offer a variety of sandwiches. Make pulled pork barbeque for a “BaByQ,” or try meatballs and a pasta dish. Much like with a brunch baby shower, you could do a food bar here as well. Offer a taco bar, where guests are free to make their own tacos. You could also—for the mom-to-be who loves international cuisine—set up a variety of crock pots or food warmers to allow for assorted types of Chinese, Thai, Indian, or Japanese food. Feel free to offer small individual side dishes to accompany the main dish, such as plastic cups each filled with a mini seven-layer dip.
If you are choosing this meal style, be sure to provide silverware and dishes that are appropriate for the event. You wouldn’t want to host a classic Audrey Hepburn-themed shower, only to serve pasta on a paper plate!
Also, consider offering a vegetarian or gluten-free alternative if you know that some of your guests might have dietary restrictions. It is often more work to include a vegetarian option that is more than a salad, or a gluten free option that is more than a plate of fruit, but the effort will be noticed and appreciated by those guests who might otherwise feel left out.
Desserts and Cakes
Desserts and Cakes are by far everyone’s favorite part of planning for the food at a Baby Shower. This is where you can really display the theme or show off how cute your little desserts are!
Petite Desserts: If you want to provide a spread of desserts, use a variety of smaller, easy-to-carry desserts like chocolate-dipped rice krispies, strawberry shortcake cookie cups, fruit and brownie skewers, or chocolate dipped pretzels. Dessert is also a fantastic place to incorporate fruit. One sure-fire crowd pleaser is cheesecake-filled strawberries, hollowed-out strawberries filled with cheesecake filling and rolled in graham cracker crumbs. If you want to stick with a more kitschy dessert option, you might also serve pudding in cleaned-out baby food jars. If having a rubber ducky-themed shower, mini blue Jello cups served with a marshmallow Peep on top can be an adorable addition.
Cupcakes: The cupcake fad might have faded a little in recent years, but they are still well received by just about everyone. They are versatile, easily decorated, and easily consumed. You can choose to do single cupcakes, but you might also consider assembling the cupcakes together into a cupcake cake. Cupcake cakes offer a lot of design options. You can create a baby stroller, a rattle, or almost anything else.
Dessert Stations: Much like the main dish food ideas, you can also do a dessert station in which guests can build their own dessert. This can be as simple as a candy bar with an assortment of candies for the guests to choose, or something more elaborate such as a Build Your Own Sundae Bar.
Cakes: Decorated cakes are always a crowd pleaser. If done right they look amazing and bring a lot of polish to a baby shower. If you want a more textured cake, look for those decorated with buttercream. Buttercream roses with a cute topper make for a great baby shower cake. If a smoother look is preferred you can choose a fondant cake, but these are often more expensive. They do offer a wider range of styles and colors, however. Whichever style you choose, the possibilities are limitless!