Saturday, 13 April 2013

Evie + coeliac + party invite = Challenge!

Evie with her gluten free party box
When Evie was first diagnosed with coeliac disease, I faced the prospect of parties with trepidation. I desperately wanted her to feel like she was the same as everyone else, but this is a tricky scenario – tables filled with the traditional party food (a lot of which is difficult to supply as gluten-free - take party ring biscuits for example, try finding those in the supermarkets!), all the kids sitting round, helping themselves, filling their boots, your child sat in the middle, watching, and maybe feeling a little sad.

The first party I took her to, I so wanted to do that bit for her – I remember how I felt in the same situation 18 months ago – honestly, I felt crap, and I’m the adult. Evie constantly amazes me how she has adapted to her situation though – I think kids are so much better at that than us adults. She seems to remember the sheer pain that gluten caused her and that helps her a lot in the quest to be gluten free.

I scoured the supermarkets and found a few bits in Sainsbury’s which help...

Trufree Chocolate Finger - expensive but nice...

Orgran Mini outback Animals (these are chocolate flavoured animal shaped cookies in their own bag – you could add a little melted chocolate to the top if you like).
I have also learned that making Evie feel special is key - she now takes her own party box filled with gluten free yummy treats. I always chat to the mummy running the party beforehand and find out what food is going to be offered and try to match it as much as possible (also think about the fact that kids get a piece of cake in their party bag, take a substitute for that too).

Parties held in soft play areas are harder – very rarely do they offer gluten free chips/nuggets etc. However, you can buy microwave chips which simply have potatoes and sunflower oil in – ask the staff of they can heat them up when the rest of the food is served. Pre-cook sausages or nuggets just before the party and pack them in their food box in pretty serviettes. Pop in a tub of tomato ketchup too (most are okay but I found one in a restaurant that wasn’t). When Evie went to a McDonald’s party, I sent her with a homemade gluten free burger and she was totally happy!

Whatever you have to do, it is worth the effort – don’t prevent your child from going to a party because of the food issue. Evie had a party on Friday – this is the first time since she was diagnosed in September that I didn’t stay – I am now confident that she understands what gluten is and will stick to her party box food – the fact I knew and trusted the mum also helped – all was fine and she had a great time!
Thank you for reading this post. If you have any other ideas or tips, please leave a comment, I would love to hear from you!
Jill x