For anyone newly diagnosed with Celiac disease, eating gluten-free at a party can seem like a daunting challenge. Nobody wants the additional stress of having to figure out and plan what their eating. However, with some advice and practice, eating at parties will become no big deal.
At birthday parties when I was a young child, my parents would always bring or send me food at the venue based on what everyone else was eating. My parents always tried to give me something similar to the party menu so I didn’t feel left out. For example, if all the other children were eating pizza, my parents might bring me a mini gluten-free pizza to eat. Other times they sent me with chicken nuggets and fries in an insulated bag. I often would bring a gluten-free cupcake with me for dessert.
As I got older and birthday parties became a night out at a restaurant, my parents would give me a few options of what they were willing to make and let me pick what I wanted to bring. Every so often I was able to eat at the restaurant where my friend was having their party, but usually this wasn’t the case. Above all, don’t let Celiac get in the way of having fun at a birthday party with friends! Eating is only a small component, not all-encompassing!
Before any wedding or other formal party/celebration, it is best to get in contact with the event caterer to find out what gluten-free foods they offer and ensure that there will be no cross contamination. Be sure to find out where the gluten-free food will be made in relation to the other food, what precaution the chefs take (ex: separate utensils, cooking equipment, etc.) to ensure that you or your child isn’t getting glutened. It is not recommended to take food from a self-serve (buffet) area because of the high risk for cross contamination. Even if a food is gluten free, most people don’t think about cross contamination, so it’s best to be safe rather than sorry. Instead, I’d recommend bringing snacks from home to eat.