Is it a real party if there’s no pizza?

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At a recent school event, I found myself in a conversation with two non-allergy moms who were kind of, well, livid about the limits other moms put on food at celebrations. I had my own toes stepped on by one of the other allergy moms, too, but the degree of this particular outrage made me think. Keep in mind that this is a private school for kids with learning and developmental issues. (I don’t think ANY of the kids should be on gluten, MSG, or artificial food colors, anyway. My heart sank at the lurid rainbow-colored cupcakes.)

I have another, longer blog post percolating about that, but I have three things to offer:

1. In the spirit of inclusion and “fair” being defined as everyone gets what they need, let’s standardize party food upfront. My kid “needs” to be included more than your kid “needs” a Krispie Kreme donut. You may think it’s just this once, but it’s every. single. event. It’s not character building. It’s demoralizing.

2. If your child is the one with a bazillion allergies, please be the one to step up and make/purchase/deliver the special treat. The other moms simply don’t get the complexities of GFCFEFSF baking and aren’t prepared or equipped to accommodate it.

3. Let’s come up with something to replace the constant barrage of food in the classroom. How about dance parties, movies, free choice, extra recess, a prize box, or a special visitor?

Ok, now to a plan.

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Stop with the pizza. Seriously. At the VERY least identify a pizza place that offers a GF crust. Google “gluten-free pizza (insert your city name)”. You may be surprised.

The food buffet at the recent event was pure genius:
• Hot dogs that were organic, kosher, GF
• Buns were separate
• Baked potato bar with an astonishing array of toppings
• Green salad
• Fruit salad
…the cupcakes completely disappointed me, but then I am that mom.

It took care of people who were Paleo, allergy-ridden, dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, Kosher.

Other non-pizza party food ideas, according to limitations. EVERYTHING IS NUT- AND SEED-FREE. Also, prep is minimal. You will notice I have made alterations to one core party plan. Kind of like the ubiquitous pizza and cupcake plan than no one seems to mind. Hot dogs or tacos.

Gluten-free only

• Taco bar
• Mini hot dogs with ketchup, mustard, and GF BBQ sauce for dipping. Use frilly toothpicks or small skewers to serve.
• String cheese
• Popcorn
• Corn chips and salsa
Glutino pretzels (my local Costco has enormous bags of these pretzels)
Plain potato chips
• If you want to bake from scratch, try Cup4Cup gluten-free flour.
• Treats made from a pre-made GF mix. I am a big fan of the King Arthur Flour Gluten-Free mixes, especially the cake mixes for cupcakes.
Gummis with no artificial colors
K-Toos, gluten-free substitute for Oreos
• Fruit
• Carrot sticks and ranch dip

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These cupcakes were King Arthur GF Yellow Cake Mix, pre-made vanilla buttercream frosting from The Frosting Queens, and an all natural Gummi bear on top. They were inhaled by my son’s class. None of this have a nibble or a lick of frosting and set it aside business. No artificial colors, no preservatives. It can be done!

Gluten-free, dairy/casein-free (GFCF)

• Taco bar, use Daiya cheese substitute for dairy-free option
Mini hot dogs with ketchup, mustard, and GF BBQ sauce for dipping. Use frilly toothpicks or small skewers to serve.
• Popcorn
• Corn chips and salsa
Glutino pretzels (my local Costco has enormous bags of these pretzels)
Plain potato chips
• Treats made from a pre-made GF mix. I am a big fan of the King Arthur Flour Gluten-Free mixes, especially the cake mixes for cupcakes. Use rice milk and Spectrum Shortening in place of regular milk and butter.
Gummis with no artificial colors
K-Toos, gluten-free substitute Oreo
• Fruit
• Carrot sticks

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Gluten-free, dairy/casein-free, soy-free (GFCFSF)

• Mini hot dogs (like these) with ketchup, mustard, and GF BBQ sauce for dipping. Use Organicville or Bone Suckin’ Sauce. Use frilly toothpicks or small skewers to serve.
• Popcorn
• Corn chips and salsa
Plantain chips
Plain potato chips
• Treats made from a pre-made GF mix. I am a big fan of the King Arthur Flour Gluten-Free mixes, especially the cake mixes for cupcakes. Use rice milk and Spectrum Shortening in place of regular milk and butter.
Gummis with no artificial colors
•Cookies from Enjoy Life
• Fruit
• Carrot sticks

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Gluten-free, dairy/casein-free, soy-free, egg-free (GFCFSGEF)

• Mini hot dogs (like these) with ketchup, mustard, and GF BBQ sauce for dipping. Use Organicville or Bone Suckin’ Sauce. Use frilly toothpicks or small skewers to serve.
• Popcorn
• Corn chips and salsa
Plantain chips
Plain potato chips
• Treats made from a pre-made GF mix. I am a big fan of the King Arthur Flour Gluten-Free mixes, especially the cake mixes for cupcakes. Use rice milk and Spectrum Shortening in place of regular milk and butter. Use Ener-G Egg Replacer (mix before adding to recipe)
Gummis with no artificial colors
• Cookies from Enjoy Life
• Fruit
• Carrot sticks

+ Corn-free (GFCFCFSFEF)

• Veggie sushi with GF coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.
• Mini hot dogs (like these) with ketchup, mustard, and GF BBQ sauce for dipping. Use Organicville or Bone Suckin’ Sauce. Use frilly toothpicks or small skewers to serve.
Plantain chips
Plain potato chips
• For baked goodies and treats, Use Namaste baking mixes Use rice milk and Spectrum Shortening in place of regular milk and butter. If you make frosting, use corn-free powdered sugar.
Gummis with no artificial colors
• Cookies from Enjoy Life
• Fruit
• Carrot sticks

Vegan

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• Veggie sushi with coconut aminos
• If corn is ok, add back corn chips and popcorn. Add bean dip and guacamole. Or make nachos with Daiya cheese substitute and black beans.
Plantain chips
Plain potato chips
Roasted chickpeas
• For baked goodies and treats, Use Namaste baking mixes Use rice milk and Spectrum Shortening in place of regular milk and butter.
• Cookies from Enjoy Life
• Fruit
• Carrot sticks

Paleo

I think this would take more effort, but it’s entirely possible. There are a ton of kid/friendly recipes online. I’m partial to www.NomNomPaleo.com, www.SpunkyCoconut.com, www.PaleoParents.com, and www.PaleoMom.comm.

• Mini hot dogs (like these) with paleo ketchup, mustard and homemade BBQ sauce.
• Alternatively, make mini-meatballs.
Plantain chips
• Sweet potato chips
• Fruit
• Carrot sticks

Note: all the Paleo cakes I’ve come across use nuts, coconut and always, always use eggs.

Good additions:

Enjoy Life chocolate chips
Yummy organic lollipops
• Fruit leathers
• Honey sticks
GoGo squeeZ applesauce

My favorite picture from the event that got me thinking…Kyle and Tavish, the therapy dog.

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About Jill R.

Mom, mostly tired, to 3 boys, mostly wired. Pretty much obsessed with healing foods for healthy brains. And "Scandal."
This entry was posted in Managing allergies, Meal plans and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Is it a real party if there’s no pizza?

  1. Kimberly ram says:

    You are AMAZING!!! I will say it again. SERIOUSLY AMAZING!!! What an important subject. I wish I had been there to back you up but I know you are a strong mom. I am surprised given the type of school?? As my son enters school next month, this is a subject I am very worried about. We don’t do any play dates because of this very topic. I have offered alternative s to other moms, asked politely that they not bring the contraband food and still…out it comes. My son is 3..largely nonverbal. Very hard to explain to him why the other kids get it and he doesn’t. It’s 1 hour…1 hour to understand my kid’s endless special needs and stow away the goldfish and other items that could potentially send my son jumping to the moon.
    Thank you for the wonderful ideas!!! You ROCK xxxx

  2. Kimberly ram says:

    Ps. LOVE the pic of your handsome son with the therapy dog. It is a lovely moment captured on camera. I have heard some wonderful progress made with therapy dogs. Happy researching!!

  3. Galliesallie says:

    You so rock! Am thinking of sending this to my son’s teacher and telling her just to pick what she’d like me to supply for the next party.

  4. Anne says:

    This is a great article, thanks for writing it! So many great suggestions for treats, I will probably link to it from my blog.

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