(This is a portion of a longer blog post at our “A Gaggle of Girls”, blog)
Happy Celiac Disease Awareness Month!
Happy Food Allergy Awareness Week!
If you are living with food allergies, Celiac disease, food intolerances, or any other dietary restrictions, you are already used to adapting your menu. But what happens when one person wants to be a vegetarian? or you move into a home where people eat dairy? or your children have opposing allergies? or you have one kid who loves peppers and another who hates them? You learn how to adapt your menus so you can make (almost) everyone happy with one meal.
For Mother’s Day, I made a double batch of quiches, and made them in individual sizes so each person could have the ingredients she wanted. This meant that those who like soy “cheese” could have some, and those who like bacon can enjoy without upsetting the new vegetarian. Individual pizzas, quiches, mexican pizzas (tortilla, refried beans, ground meat, salsa, soy or dairy cheese), and tacos are some incredibly easy ways of letting each child eat the ingredients she loves.
One of my favorite adaptation methods is “on the side”. I loved When Harry Met Sally, and I’m afraid I may sound like Sally when I’m in a restaurant! However, at home I have embraced that concept with my daughters. We make salads with dressing on the side, of course, but also make Pad Thai with the shrimp, limes, and peanuts on the side, a risotto with meat and/or cheese on the side, a vegetable curry with meat and some veggies on the side, or make a meal of pasta or polenta with marinara or White Sauce and sausages or meatballs on the side.
When you start to think about meals in a new way, a way where everyone can enjoy a similar meal, you can find new ways to deconstruct dinner. A buffet of choices for pizzas or ice cream sundaes becomes more fun, not just a way to accommodate food allergies and pickiness! Shifting your perspective to fun rather than a chore can help you enjoy your meals, too – not just feel like you need to get through them somehow.