Birthday parties and other special occassions

A reader, Myah, expressed this sentiment and asked this question:

Our 6 year old daughter is severely allergic to peanuts and allergic to soy (high). It is especially difficult at birthday parties when they serve food and she can’t eat any of it. I’m just at a loss and don’t know what to do. She says she feels sorry for herself and I don’t want her to feel that way. Any information you can send or point me too would help!!!

I answered Myah directly, but I figured some of our solutions may come in handy for your family, so here’s the relevant sections of that email:

Probably the best advice I can give as far as special occasions is that we end up stockpiling and stashing foods (especially fun foods) that the kids can eat:

We have a bunch of “enjoy life” cookies that we found at the scratch and dent grocery store (they’re normally rather expensive) but we break those out for any parties or picnics.

We’ve got a stash of angry birds gummies in the church conference room for when there are snacks at church that the kids can’t eat.

Probably the most useful thing we’ve got is a plastic tote labeled “Kid’s Travel Food”. We put shelf-stable, individual servings, more-fun-than-normal food in there. We take that tote along with us whenever we travel, or know that we’re going to be away from our normal haunts for the better part of the day. In that tote, we have meat sticks, soups, fruit cups, single servings of kraft macaroni and cheese, soy-free cereals, and other “not so healthy stuff that mom wouldn’t normally approve of, but extremely handy in a pinch”. The first time we went on a vacation we had 26 pounds of “goodies”. When we stayed at a hotel that the kids couldn’t eat breakfast at, they were still happy devouring their Cap’n Crunch Berries. Ever since that trip, we’ve always tried to keep that tote stocked and ready to go at a moments notice.

Those “tricks” help us keep them from feeling sorry for themselves — and even looking forward to being able to dive into their special treats.