Surviving Playdates with Your ‘Special Diet’ Kid

The following post is from Amy of Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free:

Survivng Playdates with Your 'Special Diet' Kid at
source: gabeandchry

I’m not fond of the term ‘special diet.’ But, it’s much more friendly than the term ‘crazy diet,’ which is what most of the ladies in my Mom’s group call the long list of food that Nate and I can’t eat.

Let me follow that by stating that I love, love, love the moms I share play dates with. They are completely real and very supportive. Though Nate, Luke, and I are newer members in the group, they have embraced us as if we’ve been there for years.

Still, that hasn’t prepared me for the chaos of play dates.

Silly me. I thought that if I packed snacks for Nate I’d be fully prepared. Little did I know that I was going to experience yet another public greenhorn momma moment.

Typically the mom who hosts the play date provides a snack for the kiddos. She sets up a table where the kids can eat. The table is my nemesis. It’s surrounded by 2, 3, and 4 year olds who have no problem throwing their cheese puffs and pretzels on the ground. It’s too much temptation for an 18 month old who can still crawl unnoticed through the legs of the chairs.

I got sidetracked in a conversation for less than a minute and out from under the table comes Nate with his hands and face covered with fake cheese. When I saw him my heart sank, and then was immediately grateful that he’s not anaphylactic. He might have some digestive distress but that’s as far as it would go. And then I wondered why, oh why, are kids eating cheese puffs at 10:30 am?

At the next play date I thought I was much more prepared. I watched him like a hawk. I sat with him at the snack table while he ate. There was a cute little boy across from Nate who asked to eat Nate’s cantaloupe. “I like can-da-lope,” he smiled. I didn’t share. I know. It was awful of me. But the “can-da-lope” was the last of Nate’s snack.

If you’d like to avoid the same greenhorn moments I’ve had, here are a few things I’ve learned the hard way:

Explain your child’s diet to the other adults at the play date.

I didn’t let everyone know upfront about Nate’s diet because I wanted to handle it myself. You know, I wanted to be super competent. Well, with 12 little ones running around anything is possible. Ask for help from the other moms to keep your sweet baby safe.

Hang out at the snack table and pick up any food on the floor.

This is essential when you have a little one who will put anything in his mouth. When the kiddos are eating I try to pick up (or sweep up) any food that kids have thrown on the floor quickly. I make sure Nate’s strapped into a seat or I try to get him out of the food area.

Pack extra snacks.

Just so you can share with the cute kid across the table who likes “can-da-lope.”

Offer to bring a snack to share with the other kids.

Nate always wants what everyone else is eating. When you’re new to a group and you don’t know the hostess it can be awkward. But, once you know the other moms they won’t mind at all. In fact, they’ll probably welcome the help.

Here are a few kid-friendly snacks you could bring to play dates:

How do you survive playdates when your child follows a special diet?

A stay-at-home mom, wife, and passionate cook, Amy strives to make each meal healthy and delicious. When she’s not doing laundry, dishes, or caring for her son, she plays around with food in the kitchen developing new recipes, which she shares at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free. Amy also publishes The Balanced Platter and authored the book Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free: 180 Easy & Delicious Recipes You Can Make in 20 Minutes or Less.