I love planning parties and there’s no better reason to celebrate than a new baby, right? But while I can easily get tempted to go over-the-top and throw a Pinterest-worthy soiree, reality usually hits hard and I find myself scrambling at the last minute. Sound familiar? One thing I’ve learned is that, no matter what, the baby shower food doesn’t have to suffer just because you don’t have time to make individual handcrafted place cards or the budget to buy a collection of apothecary jars to display custom-made candies in. It can be easy and delicious.

In fact, it should be. I’d much rather spend money on an amazing baby shower gift for the mom-to-be than on party decor she’ll never see again. If you agree, here are some tips for putting together a baby shower menu that won’t stress you out.

Top: Baby shower buffet | Glorious Treats

Related: The 2016 Cool Mom Picks Ultimate Baby Shower Gift Guide


Before we get to the specifics, I think it’s important to step back for a moment (just a quick one!). I find that most of my hostess-related stress comes from worrying whether the party I’m planning is the party she’s hoping for. So, before you dive into the specifics, ask those questions that are nagging at you: Is this her only shower? Is she trying to impress important people here, like a mother-in-law or grandmother-in-law (yikes!)? Would she rather just have a backyard BBQ with the dads there?

Your answers may take the pressure off in a huge way, or make it really clear that you need to kick it in gear and enlist some extra help to pull off the shower of her dreams. Either way, these food ideas can find a place on your menu.


Baby shower food (and drink!) ideas: Make an easy punch

A great baby shower food tip to keep it easy: Serve a really simple cocktail, like this Raspberry Limoncello Prosecco at Damn Delicious, at your next Baby Shower.

If you’re going to splurge on the food or drink, we say go with the drink. Your guests will probably be sipping on it the whole time they’re at the party, so they’ll remember it longer than the food. Plus, a great drink always increases the fun quotient. A really simple cocktail recipe that you can set out right before guests arrive, like this Raspberry Limoncello Prosecco at Damn Delicious, is perfect for a toast.

Or, for a really simple non-alcoholic drink you can make ahead of time, dress up a plain glass of iced tea. For every gallon of iced tea, add 1 can each of orange juice concentrate and limeade concentrate, along with a few sprigs of fresh mint. It looks like you went to a lot of effort, when really it’s about as easy as setting out a liter of soda.

Related: Gorgeous cocktails and mocktails with flower power.


Baby shower food ideas: Make homemade frosting, not scratch cake

Ideas for an easy baby shower food menu: Dress up your cupcakes with these classic Liberty of London cupcake toppers at Oh Happy Day

We’re all about delicious frosting over here at Cool Mom HQ, and we’re convinced that a great homemade recipe can elevate even the most basic boxed cake mix. Check out our complete guide to frosting and pick a recipe to go with that grocery store cake, and then use the time you would have spent cleaning your kitchen to add cute cupcake toppers. We’re loving these adorable Liberty of London flags and flowers that we spied at the Oh Happy Day store.


Baby shower food ideas: Hack a boxed cake mix

Tweak a boxed cake mix and decorate with unexpected toppings to make your baby shower dessert so much easier, like these Circus Animal Cookies at House of Yumm

You made the icing, now the cake. You can buy store bought or use this secret shared with me by a friend who runs a small bakery: She uses a boxed white cake mix, doubles the oil, and adds a teaspoon of almond flavoring to make her petit fours. After tasting one (okay, three) I can tell you: These are amazing. But there are tons of other yummy ways to doctor a box cake too, like these tempting pink lemonade cupcakes, strawberry cupcakes, or even bubbly champagne cupcakes for a really festive vibe (although we’d probably substitute sparkling apple juice for the champagne so mom-to-be can feel comfortable eating them too).

And don’t let decorating your cake or cupcakes stress you out. Simple can still be big-time cute: Just look at these adorable Circus Animal Cupcakes at House of Yumm (above). How smart and easy are those?

Related: The ultimate frosting guide: The best frosting recipes of all kinds.


Baby shower food ideas: Satisfy the mom-to-be’s cravings

Genius baby shower food ideas: Skip the fussy food and serve the mom-to-be's cravings with cake and punch to keep things easy | via Style Me Pretty

Balancing a full plate of fussy food on your lap while trying to pass gifts and ooh’ing and ahh’ing the new mama can be a pain, so I tend to prefer parties that keep the food simple. You know, like cake and punch. But if you want a few other snacks to serve too, we love the idea we found at Style Me Pretty to set out foods that the mom-to-be has been craving—no matter how insane! Gourmet pickles, popcorn, chips and queso, chocolate, or anything else she’s willing to admit make for a fun—and easy—menu.


Baby shower food ideas: Dress up a simple snack with cute labels

Smart and easy baby shower food ideas: Dress up a simple snack with these cute Ready to Pop stickers at Artesenias

These cute Ready to Pop labels are just $10 at Artesenias on Etsy and, if you’re the type to host a lot of showers, I think it makes a lot of sense to go ahead and order a few dozen to have on hand. Then, at the last minute, you can turn simple snacks like popcorn or trail mix into something that looks like you put hours of planning into it.


Baby shower food ideas: Keep the food table decor easy too.

Smart baby shower food ideas to keep entertaining stress-free: Dress up your buffet table with your kids' toys. This display from Glorious Treats is so beautiful, and so smart.

I love this buffet at Glorious Treats that uses kids’ wooden blocks to spell out the baby’s name to decorate the table. It costs you absolutely nothing and looks so charming. If you have a theme for your shower—pirates, princesses, baseball, ballerinas, or pretty much anything else—I bet you’ll be able to find some toys from your kids’ stash that will work. Add the food and a few flowers, and you’ve got a really beautiful and simple serving table.