This topic is so near and dear to my heart. I’m talking about children here but I have seen many adults be shunned in this way too.
Here is the scenario: There is a school party. Treats are going to be brought in. Special treats. Treats that ooze gluten. Your precious Man Boy is going to have sit there and listen to children oohing and aahing about the triple decker cupcakes. Maybe it isn’t even a cupcake. Maybe it is a popsicle, which most people assume is gluten free. But say they purchase the popsicles that are made with the corn syrup that also includes wheat. What then? Oh you get to hear comments like “What in the world can your kid eat anyway?” and “I don’t know how you live like this.” It’s super fun. Just like a colonoscopy. Your kid may hear these comments too.
Here is the deal- no child or adult for that matter should be made to feel lesser than, “weird” or ostracized because of food. That is just so silly. Yet, that is what happens to so many people who can’t have or won’t eat gluten. It is a flipping ingredient. Get over yourselves people! When my kid dyes his hair polka dot and wears a Barney costume to school, then make a judgement call.
So, here are some things that I have done to help Man Boy with these unnecessary but frequent scenarios.
- Plan ahead. See if you can get a birthday or party list from the teacher for the year. At least ask if she can email you a day or two before the event to give you a heads up. The more you know the more you can prepare. If I have a heads up I try to see what the other moms are going to be brining, or the kind of desserts the party is going to have. See gluten exclusion doesn’t stop at school. It is at family reunions, weddings, theme parks, birthday parties and even grandma’s house if she isn’t prepared. If I know what will be served I send man child with that same thing or something similar. That is why my site has a lot of “goodies” on it. We have to deal with carb counting for the diabetes also, but that is a tale for another time. If you have questions about that let me know!
- Have a magic box. Okay, so you didn’t find out what was being served and you didn’t even know that there was a party. Have a special treat box that the teacher keeps with longer life treats in it. Or you keep in your desk drawer or have in the car center console. Or in a fanny pack that you never take off. Ours has Hershey kisses, skittles, gluten free packaged cookies that are really nice because a lot of time the kids bring in cookies and fun packs of m&ms. It is great to have this so your child or you can have a treat too while everyone else is indulging. Below are some items we have done in the past.
–brownie, apple pie, cherry pie, peanut butter or cashew cookie Lara Bars
-Coconut chocolate Luna bars
– Enjoy Life chocolate bars
– Lucy’s 3 in a variety pack cookies
- Find a twin parent or buddy. So unfortunately, the growing epidemic of kids not handling gluten well is more common than ever. It serves you well to become familiar with parents of other food allergy students in the class. Now my Celiac kid may have tougher restrictions than a gluten intolerant child due to cross contamination issues. But maybe not. If you can kind of operate on a buddy system with the other gluten boycotting parent, then even if you didn’t know about a party and the magic box is empty, your child could have a safe treat shared with them. Same goes for if you know other family members or friends share the same issues. Us overly glutenized peeps have to stick together.
So all this may seem overkill. Is it really that big of a deal to have to just sit on the sidelines and not eat something when others are? YES! For the love of guacamole…YES! Food is such a social activity and these times especially involving desserts are often a celebration. It is a mental downer to sit there and be left out. It leads to more talking about the individual having the issues that don’t allow them to eat and it just plain sucks. Man child has sat out on a few occasions because his tummy was hurting but before I had a winning game plan he sat out and watched other kids eat and it was pretty sad for him. He usually always has his trusty bag of cashews somewhere, but who wants to eat cashews when you are staring down the face of a donut party? Even as we grow up, food is something that can actually divide people. I have actually heard of people not being invited to social events because the host didn’t know what the person could eat because of being gluten free. Come on society. We can do better than that. I hope these brief tips can help you or your child feel included when a dessert presents itself either expectedly or not. And you know, Man Boy says that kids think the stuff I send him with looks better than what they get sometimes. Yaaaas.