Tips for Graduation Party Food Planning

Are you planning a graduation party this summer? There’s no question that graduating from high school, college, or any educational program is a special occasion for most; and what’s a good celebration without good food?

There are a number of things to consider when planning a celebration. Here we cover graduation party pre-planning aspects, including graduation party buffet ideas and other tips and tricks to make sure your celebratory event goes off without a hitch.

What’s Your Budget? How Much Food Will You Need?

If you are planning a graduation party on a budget, it’s important to consider how many people will be in attendance. For tight-knit, family-centric celebrations, catering may be within your budget. For a larger party, consider creating your own buffet, hiring a food truck, or utilizing a food trailer that is able to accommodate different types of foods and flavors, like a pizza oven, a meat smoker, and other grilling options.

Food trucks and food trailers are a popular option for those that like to make things simple because they come with a pre-determined menu, they can be reserved for certain hours, and there’s almost no prep required.

If you are in the Phoenix metro area and are looking for scalable options that encompass delicious foods that are healthy, look no further than the Pita Jungle Food Truck. Our food truck’s menu includes delicious options including shawarma, gyro, Mediterranean salads, falafel, and pitas. All our food is served, more often than not, with lifestyle diet options in mind, such as gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, keto, etc.

Inside vs. Outside

High school and college graduations typically fall around the summertime. If you live in a place where summer makes for a nice outdoor climate, barbecues are a fantastic option on a budget. Fire up the grill in your backyard, or reserve free space at a local public park.

Burgers and hot dogs, as well as veggie versions of these, are quick and easy to cook and serve. Remember to bring along a cooler stocked with water, soda, and other beverage options when you’re planning an outdoor celebration.

If you’re throwing a graduation party indoors, consider cooking ahead of time. If you plan to cook yourself, it’s often best to stick with a small menu. When inviting your party guests, take any food allergies or preferences into account before creating your menu.

Consider creating individualized meal solutions that deliver the exact culinary and dietary needs of your guests. Pita Jungle’s iMeals and Kids Meals consist of balanced meals that encompass proteins, veggies, grains, and salads all within one box.

Easy Buffet Ideas on a Budget

When creating your own buffet menu, it’s best to stick to food you can make in large quantities ahead of time.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

For example, pulled pork sandwiches are a great option. Pulled pork is something that can be made ahead of time, frozen, then reheated on the day of your graduation party. Pulled pork sandwiches can also be made with jackfruit as a vegan or vegetarian option.

Taco Bar

Another fun idea and creative idea for a graduation party buffet is a taco bar. Similar to pulled pork, taco meat can be prepared ahead of time and reheated on the day of the party. Vegan and vegetarian taco meat is also readily available at most grocery stores by popular brands, such as Morning Star and Gardein.

When arranging a taco bar, start by setting out covered, warming trays full of taco meat. Continue by adding a wide variety of garnishes such as shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, salsa, avocado, sour cream, and any other toppings you or your guests may suggest.

Pita Bar

This option is similar to a taco bar but with a Mediterranean twist. Guests are encouraged to create their own individual plates based on different meats (kafta, shawarma, gyro), veggies, cheeses, and hummus options (cilantro hummus, red bell peppers hummus, baba ganoosh). Chicken, beef, lamb, or steak are popular pita options for meat lovers, but there are many vegetarian or vegan-friendly alternatives, as well, including falafel or tofu.

Create a Theme

The possibilities are endless when it comes to themes for graduation parties. Some ideas include:

  • Tapas Party (small plates, tzatziki, dolmades, mini lavash pizzas, etc.)
  • Baseball stadium theme (hotdogs, sno-cones, nachos, popcorn, etc.)
  • Mexican Fiesta (tacos, pinatas with candy, etc.)
  • Hawaiian Luau (pineapple, Hawaiian rolls, etc.)
  • State theme (famous foods of the state the student graduated from)
  • Tropical theme (shrimp cocktail, mocktails, coconuts, etc.)

Compliment the food for the theme, with decorations, such as pennants, leis, jerseys,

Keeping Your Graduation Party Safe and Sanitary

In the age of covid, a buffet option may not suit your personal party preferences. Thankfully, there are a handful of options to keep your party safe and sanitary. Ideally, an outdoor party will be safer than an indoor party, especially depending on the number of guests in attendance. When it comes to food, individual options, such as sandwiches or single-serve catered meals, will prevent the spread of germs more so than going with a buffet.