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  • Writer's pictureSam Balenzano

Birthday Parties

It's that time of year where kids are going back to school, and maybe your child is going to go to school for the first time. New friends means birthday parties!

As a parent of a child with PKU, I'm sure it can be worrisome to send your kid to a birthday party and hope they don't eat anything they shouldn't. How will your PKU child feel when all the other kids are eating chocolate birthday cake? Or Ice cream? Or pizza? Or chicken wings? I'm here to tell you, you have nothing to worry about.

First of all, when I was growing up, not a lot of people had allergies, so there wasn't a lot of alternatives for things. Now, allergies have been normalized and there are lots of vegan options such as jackfruit and oat milk. Sending your child with their own food won't make them feel isolated, it'll make them feel good that they can eat with their friends!

Secondly, for me I wasn't a big eater, so I could go to a birthday party and live off the chips and fruit + veggies, so I never had to bring my own food. Also, my parents made my life about play time and not about food, so the food portion of the party was just a hinderance for me because I wanted to keep playing!

I remember one birthday party I went to, it was at Crash Crawley's (similar to Chuck-E-Cheese), and my friend was allergic to nuts. Because the cake was chocolate, and we didn't know if there was nuts in it, my friend and I both couldn't eat the cake. Instead of sitting with the other kids and watching them eat a cake we couldn't have, we went and played by ourselves! That was always more important than eating.

In my elementary school, I was very blessed to be surrounded by a caring group of moms who always wanted to make sure I had something to eat when it came to cake time, so 9 times out of 10, they would give me a tub of icing and a spoon all to myself at cake time. A TUB! I was never jealous of not being able to eat a cake when I had a tub of icing!

In conclusion, I was a small eater who was taught that the playtime was always more fun than the eating time, so I had no problems at birthday parties. Every kid is different, and if you're PKU kid really loves their eating time, send them with something they love! That way they have something to look forward to.Every kid is different, but they're still a kid, and every kid loves a good birthday party!

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