Today is the last day of MDO for my son for the school year. That means one thing…. parties! His class is having a pizza party. That’s great & super fun for all the kids, there is just one problem…allergies. Allergies make it difficult for kids, like mine, to participate in these end of the year parties because they can’t eat what the other kids are eating. So I, as his mom, had a choice A) he doesn’t get to participate B) make it possible for him to participate. So this morning, my son went to MDO with his own pizza. He gets to eat pizza with his friends & I don’t have to worry that he will feel left out or get sick, both of which are important to me.
Since this is Food Allergy Awareness Week- isn’t it kind of ironic that this party fell into this week- I wanted to share how I made it possible for B to join in with the others & still keep him safe. I also want to give anybody out there ideas for how you can include your child or your child’s friend & not have to worry.
This is what B took to school this morning:
Looks like regular pizza right? Well it’s not… This is a gluten-free (perfect for gluten intolerance or wheat allergies) pizza crust that is also dairy & egg-free (that was a taller order than I tought it would be). They are out there, but it does take a little digging. I am highly against “cheese” type substitutes, so I use goat cheddar for our pizza’s (cheddar cheese made from goat’s milk- I haven’t found a mozzarella yet, but I am looking) & pizza sauce. When I make pizza it usually gets topped with lots of meat & veggies to really put it over the top, but since this was for a school party where the other kids where having cheese pizza, B got cheese pizza too. It was that simple. This would be very easy to duplicate for a party at home for a crowd, but I will be honest the ingredients aren’t cheap. It was going to cost $5 for B to have regular pizza, but since that isn’t an option, it cost about $10-$12 for this option. Oh well!
One question I get a lot from friends is what can B eat when he goes to a birthday party. Most kids who have allergies will be allergic to one or more of the Top 8 (eggs, wheat, cow’s milk, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, & soy- but not all allergies fall under those 8, as is the case with my niece who is allergic to tomatoes & green peas, so be sure to ask.) Fruit & vegetables are usually a general safe food for kids. Pinterest has a TON of awesome ideas for how to make fruits & veggies a little more fun than just putting them in a bowl- check out my Pinterest board for some great ideas. Here’s a list of substitutions for some popular ingredients on that board:
– Yogurt -> use coconut or almond yogurt (use soy if the child has a nut allergy)
– chocolate -> use dark chocolate or an allergen free chocolate like Enjoy Life
– granola -> you can find gluten-free & nut-free granola, but read ingredients very carefully or just avoid all together
– peanut butter -> nut butters (almond, cashew, ect) or sunbutter (sunflower seeds) is a great option for nut-free kids
Plain chips, hot dogs, lunch meat roll-ups, rice crispy treats, & popcorn are just a few ideas that are usually safe bets (make sure that you read the ingredients on the marshmallows because sometimes dairy can be hiding in them). But you can also go one step further & take a stroll down the natural or health food section of your grocery store. There are a lot of very safe options to make your party a tasty one & include a child that might have food allergies. Anytime we have a party at our house, I make everything safe for my kids. Not only does it put me at ease, but it gives me a chance to teach people a little at a time & helps them become familiar with allergen safe foods.
Here’s my biggest piece of advice: do not be afraid to ask. Ask that parent what that child can eat. Ask them if maybe they would like to make a cake or cupcakes or something else. Send them your menu & ask them if it looks safe for their child. Most allergy parents appreciate that, because we want our kids to be kids just as much as you want that for your kids.
Here’s one final tip that I would say is a good, across the board safe practice for all…..avoid peanuts! Peanuts are different from the other allergens because of the way they manifest. Many people are allergic to the natural mold on a peanut (peanuts are a ground nut) & since mold spores are airborne, they can be breathed in & ingested even if the child hasn’t eaten or touched a peanut product. That is also why you are seeing more & more peanut free schools.
So….any questions? Please email, comment here or on Instagram if you have any questions, comments, or anything else. I would love love love to hear from you!