Perfect Pool-Party Foods

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The perfect pool party is more than just splashing in the sun; your guests will soon work up an appetite that you must quell with some well-planned menu items. Planning your menu involves thinking about not only what types of refreshments will suit your crowd, but also crafting a menu that is convenient, safe and entertaining to eat.

Kid-Approved Ideas

  • If you're organizing a pool party for your child and a group of friends, stick to foods that the majority of children will enjoy. Although hot dogs, hamburgers and individual pizzas might not be overly creative, that menu won't likely lead to leftovers. Veggies and dip, fresh fruit wedges and chips are all kid-friendly sides that are easy to eat by the pool. Instead of serving juice and soft drinks separately, pair the beverages to create appealing punch combinations. For example, mix lemon-lime soda with lemonade or peach juice with sweet iced tea. For dessert, make sugar cookies with gingerbread cutters and decorate the mini-people with icing swimsuits.

Treats for Teens

  • You can get a little more creative with your menu planning when serving teenagers, although the staples of a kids' party are still hot items for teens. Provide an assortment of ingredients and invite the teens to assemble their own pizzas, which you can then grill on the barbecue. Serve chips with guacamole or provide toppings for make-your-own tacos. Soda and juice punches are also a viable option for teens. Offer colorfully decorated cupcakes or a cake covered with fish gummy candies for dessert.

Adult Items

  • For adult guests who enjoy fine cuisine, kick your menu up a notch with gourmet snack foods. Instead of salads, place individual salad elements on skewers to make for easy snacking: a cherry tomato, cucumber wedge, Greek olive and a piece of feta cheese pay tribute to the Greek salad. Likewise, build skewer versions of favorite sandwiches, such as salami, provolone and spicy peppers. Include finger foods, such as bacon-wrapped shrimp or pita chips with hummus. For dessert, offer homemade ice cream sandwiches by stacking ice cream, fruit and chocolate between large, flat cookies. For drinks, serve slushy mojitos, margaritas and pina coladas.

Menu Planning

  • When you plan the menu for your pool party, think of foods that your guests can eat with ease; stay away from items that require china plates and cutlery. Additionally, focus on foods that can withstand sitting outdoors for a duration. Avoid products such as eggs or mayonnaise, which can spoil in the heat and be harmful to ingest. Serve the food at different tables around the pool to avoid crowds, and place bottled drinks and ice in an inflatable inner tube with a bottom to make a floating bar.

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