Kids these days seem to have way more allergies than ever before. If your child has food restrictions, you probably already know what to serve and how to adapt meals to get rid of the offensive ingredients. But what if you’re just having a birthday party and want everyone to feel welcome? Here are some childrens party ideas for foods that everyone can enjoy without worrying about going home sick.
Gluten Free Birthday Party Foods
The birthday cake; it’s a rare treat for a kid with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten insensitivity. Conservative estimates say that only 1% of the US population has full-blown celiac disease, but an even higher percentage has a non-celiac gluten intolerance, which can be part of Crohn’s disease or a stand-alone condition. Basically, these kids can’t have anything with wheat flour in it and even white flour is made with wheat.
Ditching the cake is one idea, but most grocery stores now have a gluten-free section with birthday cake and frosting mixes just like the regular baking section. Unfortunately, if you’re stirring with a wooden spoon that’s been used for regular recipes, the gluten can cross-contaminate the gluten free cake and cause a reaction in the most sensitive kids.
If you’re serving a child with very severe allergies, make sure their parents are aware that the cake wasn’t prepared in a gluten free kitchen. Some kids’ reactions are so bad that their parents would prefer to not take ANY chances. Consider enlisting the help of the parents of extra-sensitive kids, to ensure that the cake is safe enough for them to eat. Some communities have gluten free bakeries that can whip up a cake with frosting and themed decorations just like any other bakery.
Birthday Party foods for Gluten Free and Dairy Free guests.
Here are a few snack ideas that are generally gluten free and dairy free.
- Fruit kabobs
- Corn tortilla chips and salsa or guacamole
- A veggie tray (Hummus is a nice nondairy dip)
- Nuts (that’s an entirely different allergy)
- All-fruit popsicles
- Fresh berries
- Popcorn (avoid butter and caramel for dairy free kids)
- Trail mix (be sure they’re labeled gluten free, oats sometimes carry gluten)
- Olives and pickles
Feeding a bunch of kids was probably a lot easier 25 years ago and catering to the dietary needs of other people’s kids can be a drag. Imagine having dietary restrictions and always having to decline goodies and treats at parties? Serving up safe snacks for children is the ultimate act of hospitality. Being able to eat whatever you want is one of the joys of childhood and when you serve safe party snacks, everyone will have more fun.