Celebrating Birthdays and Attending Parties with your GF Child
By: Katrina Morales
Parents… We worry about our children’s safety and even more about their feelings. We can’t help it. The thought of our child missing out on a childhood birthday party due to Celiac’s Disease or a Gluten Intolerance is… well…intolerable! Thankfully, there are now a number of fantastic products available to make living gluten free a breeze, even when planning a special event!
My 2 year old nephew has a number of food allergies, including gluten, and my sister works hard to make him feel as normal as possible. For his second birthday party, she planned a spectacular celebration, complete with a delicious spread of food and desserts, all of which were safe foods for her son. He was none the wiser and LOVED his frosted Udi’s Double Vanilla Muffin “Cupcake”.
(On a side note… He calls me Aunt Muffin because I always bring him Udi’s Muffins when I visit.)
Here are a few tips that will help you make your child’s party be fun, safe & delicious:
- Make all of the food and drinks at the party “safe foods”. – If your child can eat everything, he or she will feel the most normal and included.
- Take shortcuts to save yourself time and energy. – Hosting a party is hard work! Save time by using Udi’s Double Vanilla or Double Chocolate Muffins as cupcakes, just add frosting.
- Move the focus away from food and more towards games and socializing. – By emphasizing something other than food, everyone tends to be on level ground.
Now, I know what you are thinking. “What about when we have to go to someone else’s house for their birthday?” Situations where you are drawn out of your comfort zone can be scary. But, it is essential, for everyone’s sake, that we learn how to handle these times with grace and ease. It took our family a while to figure out a plan that worked for us, but we did it! Here are our tips:
- Pack a lunch box. – It may feel strange to bring a lunch box full of food to a restaurant or social gathering. But trust me, no one will mind. In fact, restaurant managers and friends are often glad we brought our own food. It makes their party planning that much less stressful, as they no longer have to worry about potentially harming one of the party guests. We have an assortment of lunch boxes, which makes the whole process of bringing along a meal more fun.
- Call the host ahead of time to explain the situation and your child’s needs. – This step is especially important if your child has an anaphylactic response to any foods. By preparing the host ahead of time, you can prevent any awkward situations.
Do you have any other advice for hosting or attending a safe gluten-free celebration?