4

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How do u guys handle Birthday parties that your "Paleo Kids" get invited to?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 14, 2011 at 5:09 PM

We have a B-day party this weekend for my kids cousin (so NO, we can't just "not go"). Its at the dreaded Chuck E Cheese. My kids are 11 and 8. My 8 year old son does have an auto-immune disease called Eosiniphillic Esophigitus which I am desperately trying to get a handle on. So I definitely want to avoid a gluten fest. Any suggestions or ideas on how to handle the whole pizza, cake situation??

B58511bcd1ecc0dd4ad8130859513c81

(430)

on July 21, 2011
at 04:05 PM

Well, you obviously didn't fully read my question. My son has a serious autoimmune disease, so a gluten-fest is not an option.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on July 19, 2011
at 04:27 PM

that's good to hear. i wish that were true for me in my youth. Nice job.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on July 19, 2011
at 04:26 PM

that's very good to hear. i wish that were true for my me in my youth. nice job.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on July 19, 2011
at 04:25 PM

personally, I would never allow my MIL to control my life, or my children's lives. I don't say that to step on your toes, as I don't know you or you MIL. But I do know this, if she loves them kids, she would do well to get it together and 'go for that'. In my mind, eating trashy foods can be just as detrimental to your children's future health as bringing in cigarettes and having them smoke those while they ski-ball for tickets. I'm not kidding. No MIL would go for that, but it's damn near the same thing. Food for thought, Amanda.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on July 19, 2011
at 12:31 PM

In the interest of disclosure...I usually let my older 4yo daughter have a piece of cake at kids' parties - but then she has no overt health issues like your son's EE that possibly merit special awareness/vigilance - hence my recommendation for gluten-free alternatives that you could bring to enable your son to still have the indulgent celebratory moment with the birthday child.

65430e39d7e9e9322718d016fe668051

(2944)

on July 19, 2011
at 09:15 AM

+1 for making me lol with rat palace. and because I do the same with the allergies thing.

B58511bcd1ecc0dd4ad8130859513c81

(430)

on July 14, 2011
at 10:17 PM

yes.. I guess BJ's has a gluten free pizza, maybe we can pick one up for them on the way and they can eat that instead =)

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 14, 2011
at 07:40 PM

You know that, and we know that, but Chuck E. Cheese doesn't need to know that. I've found "food allergy" to be a very useful little white lie/short cut when trying to explain what I do or don't eat.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on July 14, 2011
at 07:40 PM

well, I wouldn't feel bad describing it as a food allergy, since it sometimes is ;)

B58511bcd1ecc0dd4ad8130859513c81

(430)

on July 14, 2011
at 07:29 PM

actually, my son's EE is caused from severe environmental allergies, he has no food allergies and has been tested. Kids get EE from food allergies and/or environmental. I do feel and hope however that changing his diet will lower inflammation in his body and hopefully make him less symptomatic. =)

B58511bcd1ecc0dd4ad8130859513c81

(430)

on July 14, 2011
at 07:26 PM

absolutley not an option, my kids are actually the only kids who will be there, aside from grandparents of course. And trust me, my mother in law would NEVER go for that! lol

B58511bcd1ecc0dd4ad8130859513c81

(430)

on July 14, 2011
at 07:24 PM

Thanks for the reply, I actually have never given my kids soda in the entire life, so if they accidently pick up a cup of sprite they spit it out in disgust lol

2f931662684a7747be36255c8b486228

(1049)

on July 14, 2011
at 07:05 PM

Yes, me too. I stuff my daughter before parties

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

(10778)

on July 14, 2011
at 06:43 PM

I'm a big fan of eating ahead when I KNOW I'll be faced with chancy choices.

23281cfd57648fff8fc1df6d5140a0c3

(145)

on July 14, 2011
at 05:43 PM

My family deals with Celiac's, and we've gotten sick from the salad bar at CEC. I don't think that they are terribly worried about cross contamination there. If you don't have to deal with Celiac's-like distress, the salad bar could be a great option for you.

4847bfcc9d2c3579ed2fd10da64ced38

(105)

on July 14, 2011
at 05:37 PM

Bake a gluten free pizza and cake for your son to take, and give the message. I know I appreciate healthy donations when I arrange bd parties for the kids. It would be odd for the party hosts not to be appreciative, supportive and maybe even make everything gluten free!. Best of luck.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 14, 2011
at 05:26 PM

Great question!!!

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10 Answers

best answer

6
23281cfd57648fff8fc1df6d5140a0c3

on July 14, 2011
at 05:29 PM

Eat a GREAT big meal before you go and bring your own paleo friendly cupcakes for your kids in safe containers. Websites to check out for great dessert recipes that won't make your kids feel deprived: Elanaspantry.com, comfybelly.com, nourishingdays.com, everydaypaleo.com.

Also: Don't be afraid to offer a reward for NOT eating off plan. Extra game tokens or fun stuff at home would be good.

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

(10778)

on July 14, 2011
at 06:43 PM

I'm a big fan of eating ahead when I KNOW I'll be faced with chancy choices.

2f931662684a7747be36255c8b486228

(1049)

on July 14, 2011
at 07:05 PM

Yes, me too. I stuff my daughter before parties

4
B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

on July 14, 2011
at 06:59 PM

I'm not totally familiar with the party format of the place, but if you pre-feed your child with good things:

  1. Less gluten-bearing food can get into their system
  2. MORE TIME FOR GAMES!!!

"Why am I eating before the party?"

"So we can hit the games faster / so we can play more games!!!"

3
Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on July 14, 2011
at 06:48 PM

Amanda - I'm going to throw you a curve ball here. You say in your question that "not going" is not an option. I'd like to gently suggest the possibility of reconsidering that position. Of course you know that you are responsible for your own decisions and your children. Often times, the toughest decisions are the ones that are in conflict with family and/or loved ones, be it over finances, relationships, health, etc etc.

If my cousin was throwing a birthday party and was going to get completely wasted and use drugs, invite hookers, and have and underground fighting ring to the death, I would be there in a split second! Oh, oopsie. I mean, I might consider saying no on the basis that I don't really want to particpate. My example is extreme to drive a point home, but the underlying situation is still partly applicable to yours.

Your kids are going to be invivted to lots and lots of parties. I know I was. Unfortunately, that means lots and lots of nasty cakes and sugary drinks and horrible snacks. Just because others do it, doesn't mean you are required to be involved in order to remain socially accepted.

If it were me, I'd either say no thanks or do like some others here suggest, which is to go with "conditions".

Cheers, JK

B58511bcd1ecc0dd4ad8130859513c81

(430)

on July 14, 2011
at 07:26 PM

absolutley not an option, my kids are actually the only kids who will be there, aside from grandparents of course. And trust me, my mother in law would NEVER go for that! lol

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on July 19, 2011
at 04:25 PM

personally, I would never allow my MIL to control my life, or my children's lives. I don't say that to step on your toes, as I don't know you or you MIL. But I do know this, if she loves them kids, she would do well to get it together and 'go for that'. In my mind, eating trashy foods can be just as detrimental to your children's future health as bringing in cigarettes and having them smoke those while they ski-ball for tickets. I'm not kidding. No MIL would go for that, but it's damn near the same thing. Food for thought, Amanda.

3
6b72eeb3f0c98b487f712efcb5092c90

on July 14, 2011
at 05:59 PM

I'd call the folks at the Rat Palace and explain to them that your son has potentially life-threatening food allergies (not exactly true but a comparable condition non-paleo folks will understand) and ask if you can bring in your own food. I'm sure they've dealt with similar problems before. If that's a no go, I'd say eat big before you go to the party and sneak in your own snacks anyway. If you can, you might choose foods that will look like what the other kids will be eating to make it less obvious; kids can get very self-conscious. Keep your kids supplied with beverages and tokens, and they'll probably be fine, especially if you talk to them ahead of time. I'd also call the adults planning the party and ask if you can contribute a snack or some kind of goodie. If there weren't a medical condition involved, I'd say let the kid have some of the party food and chalk it up to the 80/20 guideline, but unfortunately, you're not in a position to do that.

65430e39d7e9e9322718d016fe668051

(2944)

on July 19, 2011
at 09:15 AM

+1 for making me lol with rat palace. and because I do the same with the allergies thing.

2
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 19, 2011
at 07:45 AM

This sounds like a small group of people. Chuck E. Cheese is more about the games than the food if you ask me. Have you offered to host the lunch/cake before heading over to Chuck E. Cheese? You could could make something "safe" for everyone, and then the crew could head over for fun and games, and maybe get some crazy sugar drink while they play.

2
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on July 14, 2011
at 06:57 PM

Eosiniphillic Esophigitus is a food allergy. Food allergies are unfortunately very common among children these days. I would call Chuck E. Cheese just to try that route. They might be helpful, they might not be. Be clear it's a real allergy.

There are also some tips out there if you Google celiac + chuck e cheese. http://www.celiac.com/gluten-free/topic/13129-chuck-e-cheeses/

If Chuck E Cheese is unhelpful, I don't think it's unethical at all (considering non-compliance with EE diets can lead to life-threatening conditions) to bring your own food like some of those folks did. Some moms claim that their Chuck E. even condoned it. As a business it's better than a lawsuit if a kid has an allergic reaction!!

B58511bcd1ecc0dd4ad8130859513c81

(430)

on July 14, 2011
at 10:17 PM

yes.. I guess BJ's has a gluten free pizza, maybe we can pick one up for them on the way and they can eat that instead =)

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on July 14, 2011
at 07:40 PM

well, I wouldn't feel bad describing it as a food allergy, since it sometimes is ;)

B58511bcd1ecc0dd4ad8130859513c81

(430)

on July 14, 2011
at 07:29 PM

actually, my son's EE is caused from severe environmental allergies, he has no food allergies and has been tested. Kids get EE from food allergies and/or environmental. I do feel and hope however that changing his diet will lower inflammation in his body and hopefully make him less symptomatic. =)

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 14, 2011
at 07:40 PM

You know that, and we know that, but Chuck E. Cheese doesn't need to know that. I've found "food allergy" to be a very useful little white lie/short cut when trying to explain what I do or don't eat.

2
2c037de5930ca8641c52c84e387a270b

(270)

on July 14, 2011
at 05:43 PM

I just answered this for a friend, 2 seconds ago via e-mail! This is just me, and not paleo, obviously, but we are striving for paleo+happiness in the "real" world and so are OK with less than perfection. I told her:

"I would say that if you see a demonstrable difference from not eating gluten and absolutely don't want them to have any exposure at all (like with my eldest, who gets sick) then you can send your own stuff to parties for them to eat - there is gluten free pizza, gluten free cake mix to make cupcakes, etc. Otherwise I would just let them have gluten at birthday parties, etc. (like I do with my twins)..."

Chuck E Cheese probably won't let you bring your own food in though. If it was me, I would tell my kids that we were going to have a special treat AFTER Chuck E. Cheese but that they weren't going to be able to eat the pizza and cake there because of the gluten. I am sure there is something C E C provides for gluten free customers, at least you could use the salad bar... Just feed them well before, let them get a gasp soda there and take them for ice cream afterward. I tell people that we suspect that our children have allergies to gluten and so are trying to abstain from it till we get a handle on it and they don't seem to argue with me too much.

We eat 100% paleo at home (well, if you count the kids eating mozzarella sticks as paleo, lol) and my husband and I eat pretty much 100% paleo out. My eldest is at least gluten free all the time and the twins are gluten free unless it is much easier not to be (when we are out), if that makes sense.

B58511bcd1ecc0dd4ad8130859513c81

(430)

on July 14, 2011
at 07:24 PM

Thanks for the reply, I actually have never given my kids soda in the entire life, so if they accidently pick up a cup of sprite they spit it out in disgust lol

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on July 19, 2011
at 04:26 PM

that's very good to hear. i wish that were true for my me in my youth. nice job.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on July 19, 2011
at 04:27 PM

that's good to hear. i wish that were true for me in my youth. Nice job.

1
D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on July 19, 2011
at 03:04 AM

Amanda - check out Chebe pizza crusts. It's a gluten-free tapioca flour based crust, and around $2-$3/crust. It's very carby for sure but a convincing alternative to traditional pizza. Surely in the interest of keeping the customer happy Chaz will allow you guys to bring some.

As for making some cake/cupcakes to bring, this chocolate cake is the bomb.

Make no apologies to your friends or family, either. You are working to preserve/restore your kids' health - and my guess is that if your kids are the only ones coming other than adult relatives, this family of the birthday child already knows about the struggles you've had with your son's EE anyway - and so shouldn't be surprised/offended that their choice of venue's food offerings won't be consumed by you guys.

ETA: In the interest of disclosure, I usually let my 4yo daughter just eat the cake at parties - we don't have an overwhelming amount of parties to attend, and it's one less way of setting her apart socially or risking offending a hostess that I often don't know that well (the mother of a classmate, for example). She usually doesn't even eat a whole slice of cake either; I think it's tastebud overload for her and she gets weary of it after a couple of bites. (Also, she is able to process and discuss how the cake makes her feel, which I think is sometimes a useful lesson in why we don't eat that stuff all the time!) However, unlike your 8yo son and his EE, she doesn't have any overt health conditions, which is why in your case I offered these alternatives for gluten-free treats that you could bring in order for him to still enjoy a celebratory moment with the birthday child.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on July 19, 2011
at 12:31 PM

In the interest of disclosure...I usually let my older 4yo daughter have a piece of cake at kids' parties - but then she has no overt health issues like your son's EE that possibly merit special awareness/vigilance - hence my recommendation for gluten-free alternatives that you could bring to enable your son to still have the indulgent celebratory moment with the birthday child.

1
Medium avatar

(12379)

on July 14, 2011
at 05:34 PM

Salad bar - the chuck-e-cheese i went to last (where i'm from we dont have one) had a big salad bar so we ate that. Also just bring extra cash for tokens so that they will just play the games rather than eat!

23281cfd57648fff8fc1df6d5140a0c3

(145)

on July 14, 2011
at 05:43 PM

My family deals with Celiac's, and we've gotten sick from the salad bar at CEC. I don't think that they are terribly worried about cross contamination there. If you don't have to deal with Celiac's-like distress, the salad bar could be a great option for you.

0
22212e9ba2a041e6da6c963d4d41615a

(5773)

on July 19, 2011
at 12:00 PM

I personally allow my son's to enjoy themselves at birthday parties. Once in a while is not going to effect your child and I actually think it might do the opposite. Where in most instances I don't buy non-paleo peoples arguments that if your child doesn't eat the same lunches as everyone else is school they will feel like an outcast, however, a birthday party is a little different. The focus with celebrations is food and usually cake or some variety and you are usually dealing in a smaller group. So not allowing your child to just enjoy themselves at a birthday party, in my opinion, will make your child feel somewhat like an outsider.

My son's go to 4-5 birthday parties a year and the other 360 days of the year they are mostly paleo. Just like we occasionally cheat or let loose, I don't see the problem allowing your child.

B58511bcd1ecc0dd4ad8130859513c81

(430)

on July 21, 2011
at 04:05 PM

Well, you obviously didn't fully read my question. My son has a serious autoimmune disease, so a gluten-fest is not an option.

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