Avoiding Birthday Party Food - Amanda Hilton
Avoiding Birthday Party Food

Amanda Hilton / April 2019

Birthday parties are tough for us. Due to food sensitivities and allergies, my children and I follow a gluten free, dairy free and low sugar diet and we are also vegetarians by choice. So, when we are invited to a birthday party, which happens often when you have four children, we need to make sure we come food prepared.

Most hosts will have fruit and veggie plates available for snacking, which is great since my children are not at all picky when it comes to produce. But once the hot cheesy pizza hits the table or when it is time to serve up the cake/cupcakes, my children sometimes feel a bit isolated.

I leave it up to my teenage daughter to attend gatherings with friends and choose what foods she wants to put in her body. She is aware of what the consequences are if she eats something that her digestive system does not tolerate well. My youngest daughter on the other hand is too young to even really understand our limitations. And my kindergartener is way to smart for his own good. He knows to ask if something is gluten free or dairy free (even though he doesn’t know the full meaning of either).

To ensure that we are fully prepared before we go to birthday parties, I bake gluten free, dairy free cupcakes and make gluten free, dairy free pizza (we do eat some goat and sheep cheese, this is what I use for pizza) for us to bring with us to birthday parties. Do I feel incredible awkward bringing my own food to parties….YES, but I would rather feel that, then my children feel left out when all the other children are munching on pizza and cake and they wonder why they have nothing but broccoli.

Having a school aged child with food sensitivities is even more difficult. Special occasion days at school (Christmas, Easter, Halloween, etc.) mean that special treats can be brought in for the class to share. This is tough for my little guy! I ALWAYS make sure I send something, since once at the beginning of the year, when it wasn’t our allotted snack day, my son had to go without because no one brought fruit or veggies. Everything had dairy and/or gluten. No worries, he had his lunch to fill his belly, but he didn’t feel so great about being left out amongst a room full of 5/6-year-olds.

Food allergies and sensitivities are a common struggle for many families. We live in a society where food is overly processed and what we once may have thought was a healthy snack (yogurt tubes, bear paws, gold fish, etc.) is really causing digestive distress in our children’s little bodies. Food allergies can be severe which may cause anaphylactic shock and allergy testing is done to determine the severity. But, some foods may have a less severe effect on the body but still cause unpleasant symptoms such as eczema, gas, bloating, loose stools, constipation, nausea, behavioural disorders, sleep disturbance…just to name a few. If you need help determining if you or your child may have a food sensitivity or intolerance, contact me at services@amandahilton.ca to arrange a free consultation to discuss the road to recovery for your digestive system.