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Old 08-22-2007, 10:12 PM   #1
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Question Dietary Restrictions and Birthday Parties

Hello all -
I'm a para in a program for children with severe autism, and many of my students have dietary restrictions. I have one who is gluten-free, one who is lactose intolerant, and another one who can't have eggs (maybe not any diary, I'm not sure). As far as I know, no one's going to have a fatal reaction or anything if I accidentally give them something they're not supposed to have, but I'd rather steer clear of common problem foods like peanuts just in case.

One of the big parts of their school year is celebrating everyone's birthdays with special treats. In the past, their parents sent a little something specifically for their kid only, like a lollipop, but the teacher has decided that it would be best if we could find something that all the kids could have. Ideally it would be something simple enough that the kids could make it themselves (for example, they can make cookies from a mix, they just can't eat them) but right now we're simply trying to focus on something they can all eat. The idea was to keep it as a sweet treat but I can't think of anything that I could do without gluten, milk, or eggs! Anyone have any ideas???

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Old 08-22-2007, 11:37 PM   #2
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I just wrote up a lengthy response to your question and sent it off but I guess some gremlin got into my computer because it is gone. I'll try to get back to you tomorrow. It's getting late here......
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Old 08-23-2007, 12:12 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VacraMassanie View Post
Hello all -
I'm a para in a program for children with severe autism, and many of my students have dietary restrictions. I have one who is gluten-free, one who is lactose intolerant, and another one who can't have eggs (maybe not any diary, I'm not sure). As far as I know, no one's going to have a fatal reaction or anything if I accidentally give them something they're not supposed to have, but I'd rather steer clear of common problem foods like peanuts just in case.

One of the big parts of their school year is celebrating everyone's birthdays with special treats. In the past, their parents sent a little something specifically for their kid only, like a lollipop, but the teacher has decided that it would be best if we could find something that all the kids could have. Ideally it would be something simple enough that the kids could make it themselves (for example, they can make cookies from a mix, they just can't eat them) but right now we're simply trying to focus on something they can all eat. The idea was to keep it as a sweet treat but I can't think of anything that I could do without gluten, milk, or eggs! Anyone have any ideas???
Getting materials and letting the children assemble fresh fruit kabobs, might be one way to go. Children seem enjoy making things themselves and I find even kids who turn up their noses at a whole banana, will eat slices mixed on a skewer with other fruits...Just an idea for you to play with if allowed a marshmallow could be added in the treat.
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Old 08-23-2007, 02:05 AM   #4
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Fruit idea is terrific. How old are the kids? If you have the facilities, rice flour/soy milk pancakes w/ fruit used to make faces can be fun.
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Old 08-23-2007, 04:18 AM   #5
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Rice krispie treats made with lactose free margarine instead of butter would fit the criteria. The standard, easy recipe is basically just marshmallows, rice krispie cereal, a bit of margarine and some vanilla extract. (For a specific recipe, click here.)

Other ideas:
  • Baked apples (with margarine, cinnamon and brown sugar)
  • Fruit kabobs served with soy yogurt "dip"
  • Rice pudding made w/ rice, vanilla soy milk, and sweetener of choice (honey, cane sugar, etc.)
  • Caramel popcorn (use margarine in place of butter - recipe here)
  • Fruit parfaits (the kids can layer fruits and soy or rice yogurt/ice cream) in pretty clear containers
Hope that helps.
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Old 08-23-2007, 08:34 AM   #6
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I had one more idea... puffed rice squares! They are similar to rice krispie treats but a bit different. Kids love them though.

Here is a recipe (use margarine in place of butter)
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Old 08-23-2007, 08:47 AM   #7
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I also work in a similar type program within the public system. A few years back there was a very strict no food policy due to different allergies. We have a balloon free school due to latex and peanut free areas. The new superintendent has since lighten the policy to include food with permission forms signed by parents. Whenever we have had a specific "party" I send home forms including each and every food or drink item to be served. I am aware of each child's allergy but there is always the risk of an underlying one too. One child's i.e.p stated he was allergic to pickles and pumpkins (wasn't clear if it was eating pumpkins or being expose to) Needless to say I didn't bring in a pumpkin in the fall. Ahhhh it used to be so fun and easy.

The reward system I use now is mostly pencils or stickers. Also a birthday certificate on there bday.
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Old 08-23-2007, 09:29 AM   #8
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I just wrote up a lengthy response to your question and sent it off but I guess some gremlin got into my computer because it is gone. I'll try to get back to you tomorrow. It's getting late here......
Let's try this again....

Here's a fudge recipe from enchantedkitchens.com:

Fudge

3/4 c. organic cocoa
1/2 c. coconut oil
1 cup pitted honey dates
1 cup raisins or dried cherries
2 cups walnuts, chopped

Combine cherries or raisins, cinnamon, dates, and coconut oil in a food processor. Add cocoa and process until well mixed. Knead in walnuts. Pack firmly in a plastic wrap-lined pyrex pan. Lift out, cut, and refrigerate. Serves 8.

-Rice milk can be substituted for cow's milk in recipes

-Quality health food stores, and even some supermarkets, carry gluten-ree flours and they also carry allergy-free recipe books

-Here is a substitute for eggs for baking purposes only:
1/2 C. flaxseed or flaxseed meal
1 1/2 C. water

1. If using flaxseed, grind in a blender on high speed until it is a fine meal.
2. Add water to meal and blend for about two minutes.
3. This will be a good substitute for eggs and can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days. 1/4 C. of this mixture = 1 egg. If more is needed, increase proportionately.

I have used the above recipe as a substitute for eggs in recipes. Of course, it is loaded with Omega 3's which would be good for your students. Baked goods turn out beautifully.
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Old 08-23-2007, 09:36 AM   #9
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There are many products out there that allow you to make common treats like B-day cakes that cater to these kids.

Both my kids were Cow's Milk Protein Intolerant. There is a Hospital in Toronto (Hospital for Sick Children) I am sure any children's hospital will have them. Has an area that caters to allergies and intolerances. It was amazing to see what products they have that cater to Gluten/Dairy allergies.

Just a thought.
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Old 08-23-2007, 11:34 AM   #10
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Sugar-free Jell-O. The kids could make it themselves, with your assistance in the boiling water department, and you could even add fresh fruit to it, if there are some fruits that everyone can eat safely.
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