When hosting a gluten-free kids' party, there are a few factors to consider, including providing food that kids will actually eat and minimising the risk of cross-contamination. If there's food on the premises that does contain gluten, steps will need to be taken to ensure gluten-free food is prepared in a separate area of the kitchen and that separate utensils are used for serving the food. Anyone preparing or serving the food will also need to practice meticulous hand hygiene after coming into contact with food that contains gluten.

If the party food has to be gluten-free due to gluten intolerance, these steps should suffice. However, if the food is gluten-free because a child has an allergy to gluten, you will need to take the additional step of checking if any of the ingredients being used are labelled as 'may contain' gluten. This means they are manufactured alongside products containing gluten, so there's a chance of cross-contamination at the production stage. Some people with food allergies must avoid ingredients that could have come into contact with their allergen during production, even though strict food standards legislation means the risk at the production stage is minimal.

Once you've considered safe preparation and serving of the food, you need to provide food that kids will be happy to eat and that feels like party food to them. Here are a few suggestions for both savoury and sweet foods to give you a little inspiration:

Savoury Party Food

While you probably don't want to incur the additional cost associated with buying speciality or 'free-from' products, gluten-free bread is so mainstream now that you can often find brands that aren't much more expensive than regular wheat bread. Providing sandwiches made with gluten-free bread will ensure that even picky eaters have something they will eat at the party. Fillings such as cheddar and ham, cucumber and cream cheese and hummus should be popular. A kid-friendly cheeseboard with mini rice cakes instead of crackers and a variety of sliced cheeses and deli meats will also allow kids to have fun making their own Lunchables-style snack. Additionally, you could provide vegetable sticks with hummus and guacamole for dipping and pizza bites with a corn cake base.

Sweet Party Food

Cupcake decorating is a popular activity at children's parties, but the cakes can easily be replaced with an ice-cream station. Provide a few flavours of ice cream, a variety of coloured sprinkles, jelly sweets and chocolate drops and let the kids loose to create their perfect ice cream cup. Other sweet treats kids are sure to love are chocolate-dipped strawberries and fruit kebabs.

Hosting a gluten-free party for kids may take a little extra work, but it's not too difficult to pull off if you communicate openly with the guests and remain flexible in your approach to planning the event.