Not sure where to start with your graduation planning? Welcome to our graduation checklist, a series of posts on what you can be doing right up until graduation day!
Graduation Food Ideas
When you ask a graduating senior, “What’s the most important thing to consider when planning a grad party?” the answer is always the same: food! If the food is good, their friends will come—it’s as simple as that. Their favorite graduation food ideas fall into two camps: DIY or catered, and it all depends on your budget.

Easy DIY Graduation Food Ideas
Taco bar or walking tacos
Salads & pre-made sandwiches
BBQ pulled pork sandwiches
Sloppy Joes
Hot dog bar
Bonfire with hot dogs & marshmallows
Tortilla wraps
Nacho bar
Baked potato bar
Candy bar
Dessert bar

Restaurant/Catered Food Ideas
Buffalo Wild Wings
Ben & Jerry’s

In addition to the kids, we also talked with lots of experienced moms who had thrown graduation parties and they gave us some great tips about graduation food ideas.

“Avoid anything hands-on, like wings on the grill.”
“Get friends to work your kitchen so you can enjoy the conversations and not worry about trays needing refilling.”
“We formed a group of moms we called the ‘Grad Crew’ to help at each other’s parties. We made aprons to wear and everybody was assigned food to bring to each party, like 2 desserts.”
“Triple the amount of food – so many more people came to my son’s party than I thought would.”
“To stretch the food further don’t use dinner plates, use appetizer size plates.”
“If you order from a popular restaurant for the teens, have a backup for the adults, like a few salads or sides, because the ‘kid food’ will go fast.”
“Don’t stress, because it’s people who are at your house anyway so you don’t really need to impress anyone.”
“Do a brunch – food is easy and it won’t overlap with anyone.”
“Relax more. My first time I painted the whole first floor.”
“Plan ahead so you can have fun with it. It is bittersweet. I had fun with the posters.”
“Unless you really want to, you don’t have to serve a whole meal. People will go from party to party, so keep the food ideas simple.”

Have fun with your grad deciding on graduation food ideas, and while you’re at it, check out our personalized graduation party decorations, napkins and yard signs!

For more planning ideas, read our entire graduation checklist series:
Graduation Party Checklist
Graduation Party Checklist: Make Guest List and Pick Location
Graduation Party Checklist: Set the Date
Graduation Party Checklist: Order Invitations
Graduation Party Checklist: Theme and Decorations