October 27, 2008
Halloween and child food allergies
With Halloween approaching, I'm sure many of us who have children with food allergies are getting anxious. It's worth checking out FAAN's article on which candy is safe to eat. The article also has a couple of other links to check out.
October 16, 2008
Tips for Staying Sane at Halloween
Halloween can be one of the most challenging holidays for those children with food allergies. It's not just that a big part of the Halloween celebration includes candy, it's that the candy given out at Halloween often times has different ingredients than what we buy throughout the rest of the year. For example, a regular size Hershey milk chocolate bar that we buy for making s'mores (think summer camp outs) is fine, but the miniature Hershey milk chocolate bars in stores around Halloween contain traces of nuts. For those of us veteran parents, this probably seems so obvious that it's silly. But I remember my first couple of Halloweens after my daughter was diagnosed food allergies; I was a mess! It seemed easier just to leave the country than to subject my child to so much stuff that she couldn't have.
At first, I put together a Halloween goodie bag filled with safe candy, Halloween stickers, festive coloring books, crayons and other fun little things. As my daughter got a bit older (and I got a bit wiser), we just exchanged the off-limits candy with safe treats at the end of the night. My non food allergic children still enjoy this ritual because they get to trade in some of the "boring stuff" for M & M's, Milky Ways and other candy that we just don't get during the rest of the year.
What we've started doing recently is when my children are done trick or treating and are satisfied with their trades, we give the rest of the candy out to those kids still trick or treating. It's usually a bit later in the evening so the preteen crowd is out and about. They act like they've hit the jackpot when we give out handfuls of Snickers bars and Reese's. Everybody wins.
And truth be told, my daughters with food allergies don't really care that much about the candy anyways. They are in it for the costumes and the fun.
October 10, 2008
If you are one of those parents struggling with keeping Halloween fun and safe, there is a good site that's worth checking out. The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) has a checklist for Halloween fun for children with food allergies. It's a one pager that only takes a minute to look, but it may give you a few ideas.
March 8, 2008
Easter eggs and tradition
With Easter coming up, I'm sure we share some of the same feelings when it comes to celebrating Easter with food allergies. I've always wanted to pass on to my children my own childhood tradition of coloring and decorating Easter eggs. But with two children allergic to eggs, I've had to do some revising. When they were younger, I found cloth eggs with picture outlines on them that they could color. It was fun and safe and we could get them out year after year.
Now that my children are getting older, the ones without food allergies see the egg decorating kits in the stores and really want to try it out. I'm back to the same old question, how do I provide my children with the opportunity to (fill in the blank here) at the same time keeping them safe? And if it isn't really safe for my children with food allergies, do I allow my other children the opportunity or do we just skip it completely?
Last year I bought some ceramic eggs that my children will be painting this week. I also bought an Easter egg decorating kit from the grocery store at the persistence of my non-food allergic child. I will let all of my kids join in this activity. I figure if my daughters aren't touching the eggs but only dipping them in the dye, things should be safe. I already know that my one daughter who is allergic to eggs will feel left out when we bring them out on Easter. This is where I'm torn. I guess there's a life lesson here, enjoy the part of the activities you can do and then move on.
We still plan on celebrating Easter like we've always done, this year we'll just add in one extra activity!
March 5, 2008
Alternative Easter egg fun
While browsing the web for Easter egg ideas for those children with food allergies, I came across a pretty cool site. Here are some of the tips they gave for children allergic to eggs but still wanting to enjoy some Easter tradition. (the following is adapted from kidswithfoodallergies.org)
Instead of real eggs, try:
1. Wood Eggs - paint, carve or decorate them with beads and jewels.
2. Plastic Eggs - paint and decorate with stickers.
3. Styrofoam® Eggs - paint or decorate with glitter.
4. Plaster Eggs
You can even find brand new egg cartons for storage at eggcartons.com