Just wanted to share this great link from SunButter that features some holiday tips for kids with food allergies including some of mine and a link to my blog.
Hey, SunButter, I'm glad you like my advice because we LOVE SunButter around here. It's our new favorite snack and so much less fat than peanut butter besides being safe for my allergic daughter. You guys rock!
I was thinking about other suggestions that I have for parents based on my experiences and here's a big one: go with your instincts and never let your guard down.
Sometimes the holiday foods presented to us are overwhelming. There are so many high-risk for nut allergy items that it can seem tempting to say "what the heck, it's Christmas, just eat it." I understand that but don't do it. Too many reactions occur because someone had "just one cookie" or piece of candy.
Instead, know that you will be faced with tempting sweets and off-limit foods and be prepared. Bring your own safe cookies (but keep them on their own tray) or whatever item is your child's favorite. That way, you can whip out that safe choice when your child is faced with something they really shouldn't eat.
SunButter included one of my favorite tips which is "Don't apologize for the allergy." Many parents, especially families where the allergy diagnosis is fairly new, can be made to feel like they are being overzealous or are raining on everyone's parade because they have to restrict the foods their child eats and/or is exposed to.
It's not your fault and your job as a parent is to make sure your child's health is protected. So don't cave, don't apologize and most importantly, stay positive. A cheerful, firm attitude really does work when it comes to food allergies.
Thanks again to SunButter for providing a great product and for supporting my blog!
Found your blog through the Sunbutter FB posting. I just want to say something about the "not apologizing". Honestly, in my 30+ years of dealing with my allergies, I have found that acknowledging that it is an inconvenience to other people goes a long way in their willingness to accommodate me. So often people start out hostile, but when I let them know that I realize it's not convenient, it really does make a difference. Sometimes that comes out as apologetic, but when I'm trying to cultivate friendship and a willingness to accommodate, it does help. The word "sorry" doesn't indicate that I'm willing to eat something unknown just to be polite, just that I understand that the 3rd degree on ingredients is outside the cultural norm.
I have friends who will now call me from the store and read ingredient labels to me before having me and my family over for dinner and I sincerely believe that's because I've been willing to acknowledge that I'm a difficult party guest.
I think trying to be a helpful guest is different than apologizing for having a food allergy--because of course it's not your fault. I hear from many people--who either have allergies or their child has allergies-- and they tell me that their families or friends rake them over the coals because they need to be careful with what is served and/or eaten. I want them to feel strong and confident about rejecting food or limiting foods because food allergies are no one's fault and they can be fatal.
Cultivating friendships when dealing with food allergies can be an exercise in diplomacy, as you point out. I think it's great you've found ways to help people around you understand and be helpful to you.
Thanks for your comments!
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