Don’t Let Sucrose Intolerance Stop Your Child from Having Fun at Birthday Parties!
Birthday parties are a big part of being a kid and being invited to one can be very exciting for any child. But, for a child with sucrose intolerance attending a birthday party or social gathering can be intimidating, especially if that child is newly diagnosed, has not fully grasped the limitations of the intolerance, and wants to fit in with their friends at the party.
You want your child to participate and enjoy himself, but you also don’t want to deal with the discomfort and potential side effects that may come with eating foods he doesn’t tolerate. If dealing with sucrose intolerance is completely new, you may not know how to politely breach the topic with the party hostess. Here are some ideas for navigating birthday parties, while still maintaining your child’s dietary restrictions.
Give the Hostess the 411 on Sucrose Intolerance.
Most people are probably unfamiliar with sucrose intolerance and may not fully understand the dietary modifications it requires. Consider calling the hostess ahead of time to tell her about your child’s dietary restrictions and answer any questions she might have. Maintain an informative tone and do not demand that the hostess modify the menu. Don’t make assumptions that she will completely understand or embrace your child’s dietary restrictions. Don’t expect special accommodations, but be grateful if they are offered.
Don’t Let Food Allergies Ruin the Fun: Offer to Bring Your Own Food.
Sometimes a hostess can be overwhelmed with all the responsibilities of the party and trying to please everyone. So, take over some of the responsibilities, with her permission of course.
Bring a fruit or veggie platter loaded with foods you know your child can tolerate or even a low-sucrose appetizer, like Everything Bagel Dogs. Also, be sure to bring a treat your child can have since birthday cake may be off limits and having a low-sucrose option available can help him feel included, while still sticking with his restrictions. One mom we spoke with shared her secret tactic. As soon as the invitation is received, she calls the parent to say “Molly is excited to help celebrate Sophia’s birthday and would like to make her special birthday dessert, Low-Sucrose Peanut Butter Pie, for the party as long as that is okay with you.” Most of the time, this is a welcome solution and her daughter really enjoys bringing something unique to the party.
Feed Your Child Ahead of Time.
Consider feeding your child ahead of time so he doesn’t arrive at the party starving, only to find a lot of food he can’t eat. Not being able to eat the food available will likely lead to a stressful situation between you and your child where you need to remind him in front of his friends of his dietary restrictions. Instead, it is likely best to make sure he is not starving, so make a balanced meal that includes protein and fat to help him stay full and give him the energy to enjoy himself.
Focus on the Fun, Not Sucrose Intolerance.
Sometimes we can get so focused on food, we forget what parties are all about: FUN! Encourage your child to participate in the party games and activities so his focus remains elsewhere and not on the food. Even before you arrive, talk to your child about the party games and activities to get him excited about that aspect of the party.
It may take a bit of practice, communication, and planning ahead; but birthday parties or other social gatherings can still be fun for kids, even those with sucrose intolerance.