Oh dear, it it that time again when your children are having a birthday. What theme will it be this year?, who will we invite? How much will it all cost? Many questions!!!
To add another thing to think about is that some of the children attending may suffer from celiac disease (or other food allergies). How am I going to cater for them??? Don't despair - after a little bit of thought and planning you can make the party a very enjoyable one, not only for your child but also for the child that suffers from celiac disease.
Suggestions in hosting a celiac friendly birthday:
a. All the food available at the party is gluten free. Ideally this would be the less stressful option for the host, as you do not have to have eyes in the back of your head, keeping an eye on who is eating what. This option will cost more because products that are labeled gluten free cost more. Learning what products are gluten free by ingredient will save you money.
b. Gluten free food can easy be made from scratch using many of the gluten free recipes that are available in cookbooks or on the internet. Another great tasty and cheaper option is to bake cakes, biscuits and slices from packet mixtures. This will make the job easier.
c. Supermarkets/health food shop now stock a large range of frozen gluten free party pies, sausage rolls, savoury rolls, cakes. The list is always growing so keep your eyes out for an ever expanding range.
d. You can have one table for the gluten free food and ensure that the gluten free children only eat from this table. This can make it easy for you to identify the children and have an adult supervise them eat from the one table.
e. Placing all the gluten free food on a brightly colored platter (e.g. all the gluten free food on red plates), but again this can be difficult monitoring what the child eats.
f. You can contact the parent of the celiac child and get some ideas and suggestions on what food/snacks that are easy to make and that their child likes. (Hopefully the parent may offer to bring along an item so that will be your starting point!!).
g. You are able to purchase stickers that the child can wear that says “I'm allergic to gluten”. These are colorful and will identify your child to other parents to ensure that they do not eat any gluten free food. Why not make your own stickers/tags out of colored cardboard and attach with a pin.
h. One part of hosting a birthday party, is providing a “Birthday Party Bag “ for the children to take home. Instead of putting in lollies/food maybe you could put in some coloring books/pencils/puzzles etc. Apart for this being more educational it will stop the celiac child getting/swapping lollies that they should not eat. There are plenty of gluten free sweets/lollies/chocolates available (some are gluten free just by ingredients) so you do not have to spend extra in getting lollies that are marked “gluten free”. Reading and understanding food Labels.
Following is a message from one parent who has four children who are living with celiac disease, but the parents themselves are not celiacs.
“As for kids parties, I normally take my own food with me. Not many people will cater gluten free but I must add that recently we were invited to a friends child's birthday party and she made the whole thing gluten free. I was amazed and warmed by her effort she put into it. When they do the cake I make sure I have some chocolate or home made cake so they don't miss out. I make sure I pack similar food that there will be at the party. The good thing is though I can control what my children eat on a health basis better this way as they are not at the table filling their mouth with lollies etc.”