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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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?



5 responses to “Celebrating Birthdays and Attending Parties with your GF Child”

  1. Stacy @ Gluten and Dairy Free Getting Real says:

    Yes, a big big one! we’re a gluten and dairy and nut and egg allergic family, I have made parties before, and you have to make sure you label everything next to your dish what in came in contact with. just bc my girls are allergic to milk, doesn’t mean a guest’s mom is going to assume i didn’t use almond milk in my batter and serve it to her nut allergic kiddo, it goes both ways..it’s never easy.

  2. Antoinette y finkelman says:

    To all of us gluten free people with Celiacs!,,,many supermarkets don’t carry any or very little products. They say there is no demand for it!,,if you do find something that’s just it very few items.Every one tell your grocers we want to eat too!!!!! We shouldn’t have to find specialty stores out of our areas just to eat.
    Tell you local supermarkets to carry thing we can eat!!!!

  3. Rachel says:

    I always send snacks/treats to school for parties or to individual parties that are pre-wrapped and will not go bad if I can not make them. Sometimes at school it is hard because it seems like everyone is sending in treats for the class anymore for birthdays. My son’s teacher has no problem keeping pre-wrapped treats for him in her desk. As for friends having parties, I always have GF cookies or such frozen and individually wrapped to send. It is easier than making them fresh all of the time because you never know if you will have time when parties just pop up. I try and find out what will be served at these parties and send my son with the same exact food but GF. That way he will not feel left out.

  4. Sandi says:

    I have two boys in elementary school who are allergic to wheat. I make and freeze cupcakes in individual containers. We keep some at school in a teacher’s freezer for when unannounced party treats are brought, and some at home to take to friend’s parties. Individual plastic cupcake containers can be purchased at WalMart, or you could just use a disposable cup with plastic wrap.

  5. SUE MITCHELL says:

    Give host ideas on what is the proper substitute with restriction. Also explain criss contamination and suggest separate sauces or dips where avoided foods won’t be dipped.
    As an adult I try to educate but people at my last staff used knives in the cream cheese over abs over so my Udi’s bagel went plain.

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