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johalex

How To Handle Snacks Handed Out After Baseball Games

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My dh has been handling the practices for my 7 yo son's baseball, so I haven't had much contact with the coach. If I had, I probably would have mentioned Alex's gluten intolerance to them. But then again, is it too hard for a parent buying snacks for a whole team to make sure they are gluten-free? I know others have said I should give them a list of acceptable foods for him to have, but that list seems to restrictive to me.

How have others handled this in similar situations? Or, do I just bring along an acceptable snack alternative and hope for the best? The last game we had my son was terribly upset because they had some cool mini-cookie bites that he could not have. He didn't want what I brought for him (cashews) and there was some upset. He has only been diagnosed for 6 months, so we are still new to this.

Any advice?

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I am the one with celiac, rather than my kids ... but I do have six children. If I had cashews when everyone else had cookies, I wouldn't be satisfied! I think it would be too much to ask all the parents of the team to learn the ins and outs of bringing gluten-free snacks, so I would just provide them for him myself in your case. I would be sure to bring something more like the other kids will get. Most of the time my kids get pre-packaged, sugary snacks after their games. If you found either some gluten-free prepackages snack, or any gluten-free snack he likes, then he'd probably be satisfied. Maybe even let him pick out the snack himself.

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You could provide a list of acceptable mainstream snacks that would be easy for the other parents to find. If gluten is the only problem it's less restrictive that you think. You'd just have to hope the other parents would be courteous enough to get something from the list.

Or you could talk to your son before the game and arrange a special snack just for him that you know he would be excited about. There's all sorts of fun gluten-free kid food out there.

I think it is important in either case to tell all the people who will be around your son about his gluten intolerance. You never know who might try to feed him. Definitely tell his coach. It's possible that the coach might try and implement some new rule about snacks so your son doesn't feel left out.

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My dh has been handling the practices for my 7 yo son's baseball, so I haven't had much contact with the coach. If I had, I probably would have mentioned Alex's gluten intolerance to them. But then again, is it too hard for a parent buying snacks for a whole team to make sure they are gluten-free? I know others have said I should give them a list of acceptable foods for him to have, but that list seems to restrictive to me.

How have others handled this in similar situations? Or, do I just bring along an acceptable snack alternative and hope for the best? The last game we had my son was terribly upset because they had some cool mini-cookie bites that he could not have. He didn't want what I brought for him (cashews) and there was some upset. He has only been diagnosed for 6 months, so we are still new to this.

Any advice?

Do the coach and other parents know that your son is gluten intolerant? If not, and you expect accomodation on the snacks, then they need to be told.

But yes, it is too mch to expect the other parents, who don't have to know about a gluten free diet, to buy gluten-free snacks for the whole team.

Why?

Primarily, because they are not going to be as knowledgeable about the diet, and are going to make mistakes that you can't afford to make. They're going to get something that's just wheat free, instead of gluten free. They're going to get something that has spelt in it. They're going to make some mistake that's going to get your son sick. If you are going to ask for this, you're going to have to give them a list, or they won't know what to get, because they don't know the diet.

Secondarily, unless they make it a practice to get things that are naturally gluten free, or are willing to do so (like fruit and vegetables, or rice cakes, which I'm guessing the players are going to be rather unhappy about), the added expense of getting these items for a whole team is definitely not a trivial thing. For some people, it could be a distinct financial burden, especially when gluten free cookies can cost three times as much, and many people just don't like the taste.

Thirdly, forcing the whole team to have their snacks follow the restrictive diet on the team doesn't really seem fair to the other players to me. If there were a vegan on the team, should all your sons snacks have to be vegan as well as gluten-free?

What I think is fair is for the person who has the turn for bringing food to call you and tell you what they are bringing, so you can bring something similar for your son. Having a backup stash of items that he likes (that he picks out) is probably a good idea for the times when the other parents aren't courteous enough to call or are too busy to plan ahead. And having that list available, for any parent nice enough to be willing to get snacks the whole team can have, would probably be a good idea too.

You may want to talk to your son about the fact that, though it is sad, there are going to be times when he's going to have to eat differently than others on the diet, and there are going to be times when he's going to have to pass on something he wants. Those are times that remind us to plan better - to bring foods with us in those situations that we really really like, that are real treats for us. We can be unhappy that it's not fair to us (and all of us are, at one time or another, no matter how positive about the dietary changes we may otherwise be ;-) ), but to stay healthy, it's what we have to do.

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My husband is coach for my 6 year old son's soccer team.

Following is part of a letter the my husband sent to the parents of the players:

We will each be responsible for providing a snack for the team, on a rotating basis.

We do have some allergy concerns this year. One child is allergic to nuts, and another has celiac disease, which means he is allergic Gluten, which is found in Wheat, Oats, Rye and Barley.

The Nut Allergy is perhaps easier to spot when buying snacks, as companies are getting better at putting "may contain nuts" on their labels. Gluten can be quite hard to find, because it is hidden in many products. Rice Krispies will not say contains gluten on the package, but the flavoring used for many cereals is Barley malt. I'm sorry to say the very popular Rice Krispie Squares will not be welcome at our games.

We will probably all find that fresh fruit and vegetables will probably be the easiest and healthiest snack to provide. I will also try to organize a list of "common" snacks and drinks that can be purchased for the kids, based on the two families that deal with these allergies on a daily basis.

That’s my speech, hope you still want to play.

----

When we handed out the list that indicated who was bringing snacks on whatever day, we included a list of suggestions

Example:

U8 "Green Goblins" Snack List

Game 1 Tuesday April 25 Ty

blah blah blah

Final Game Saturday June 24 Marc

Suggested Gluten-free, Nut-free snacks

Fruit

Carrot sticks

Sun-Rype Fruit-to-Go or Energy-to-Go

Yoplait yogurt tubes

Popcorn (air-popped or Act II plain/butter flavoured…not caramel flavoured, and with table salt only—no flavoured seasoning salt.)

Juice: Sun-Rype, McCain and Kool-Aid Jammers and Bibo are all gluten-free. If possible try to stick with 100% juice rather than “fruit beverage” or “fruit punch”.

If you are having difficulty finding a gluten-free snack or can’t tell if it’s gluten-free, please call Linda at (home) or (cell). I believe most snacks that contain nuts will indicate so on the ingredient label in bold as in—contains: nuts or manufactured in a facility that uses nuts. That is NOT the case for wheat, rye, oats, barley, malt. As far as the gluten is concerned, products that say manufactured in a facility that uses wheat is not an issue, providing of course that there is no wheat, rye, oats, barley, malt in the product.

Thanks in advance for providing safe snacks for our team.

Glenn, Coach of the U8 Kelly Green team.

---

By the way, of the 9 games we had so far only one family has not complied with our request, and they brought something that contained peanuts & gluten both. At the second game, the Dad providing snacks came up to me, said he thought he might have screwed up, but he had a backup plan. He had a bag of carrot sticks to give to all the kids if my child couldn't have the snack he'd intended. He didn't screw up - the snack he brought was gluten-free and he was quite relieved and I thanked him no end for checking and double checking.

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I just had another idea:

Do the parents sign up to bring snacks in advance? Maybe they could pass around a sign up sheet at the next game with their name and the snack they are planning to bring. That way you could bring something similiar for your son. Of course there's always a chance they will end up bringing something else, but it will give you something to go of of.

This is a great opportunity for your son to learn how to cope with eating differently than the other kids.

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My thoughts are, if I were a parent, which I'm not, I would fully endorse a healthy snacks rule. I have a girl scout troop and try to provide healthy snacks (which I can preferably also eat) whenever I can. The girls may grumble a little, but the parents appreciate it, and ultimately, the girls don't really care. I'm not going to fill other peoples kids full of junk, you know?

Also, the last thing you need after a long game of baseball is coke and cookies.

There are a lot of good fruit and veggie things out there. Chiquita makes an apple and caramel snack pack that is gluten-free, and many other companies have similar things with celery and peanut butter, carrots and ranch dip, etc. There is also the option of tube yogurt and pudding, yogurt or chocolate covered raisins, etc. If you want to go the junk food route, lunch packages of chips are always an option.

I would provide a list of commonly found gluten-free snacks and ask that the parents consider your child when they are purchasing snacks. If it were their child, I'm sure they would do the same. Of course, always carry back up treats. :)

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I am the one with celiac, rather than my kids ... but I do have six children. If I had cashews when everyone else had cookies, I wouldn't be satisfied! I think it would be too much to ask all the parents of the team to learn the ins and outs of bringing gluten-free snacks, so I would just provide them for him myself in your case. I would be sure to bring something more like the other kids will get. Most of the time my kids get pre-packaged, sugary snacks after their games. If you found either some gluten-free prepackages snack, or any gluten-free snack he likes, then he'd probably be satisfied. Maybe even let him pick out the snack himself.

I Think Carla hit on the eaisest anser... bring better snacks. At my sons sunday school other kids are stuck with Animal Crackers... (or the like) My son? heheh Kola Crisp Bars, Peperonie, Cheese, Panda Puffs, Bananna, and much more. We put 5 or 6 different snacks in for him, and HE gets to choose, while the others get what the week school provides. :D Hard to complain about not getting animal crackers then! :D

They got mint cookies? So? Offer Ice Cream Sundays, Snickers, etc.

WE dont make the other parents do anything... just deal with thier kids being jealous LOL

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I find the kids' school uses food rewards etc, then there is birthday parties, camping with friends - everywhere a group is gathered - we want to hand out fun treats for kids. Nothing wrong with that, but as we all know - it means extra planning for parents and occasionally disappointment in the kids with food allergies/celiac/diabetics to name a few.

For my son who is diabetic/celiac, I need to look for gluten-free as well as know carb counts - this is too much to ask of another parent unfamiliar with either disease. I try and ask prior to events - what kind of snacks will be served?

I have cookies in the freezer so I can grab their favorites if cookies are being served.

Birthday cake at someone else's party?....... I make cupcakes and the kids ice them with gluten-free icing the way they like and we bring them to the party.

Rice krispie squares being handed out? ...... I make crispy rice squares with the gluten-free rice cereal. I told the kids the cereal is Rice krispie in reverse so its like backwards dessert - they looked at me funny before they laughed. Guess I wont be a comedian.

smarties being served? .........choose M& M or skittles ** note, the regular skittles are gluten-free, the skittles littles are NOT

We freeze pudding tubes or yogurt tubes - its nice on a hot day

....of course there is always, fruit and veges, or cheese cut into shapes.

Pizzirilli makes really good crackers that go well with cheese.

cereal bars - Enjoy Life brand gluten-free ceral bars (very berry) are a hit with my kids, they also like the rice bars by Envirokidz

sugar free gum is a treat

stuff like that will keep most kids from even realizing they eat a little different.

I don't expect others to learn what took me months to feel comfortable with - I feel better knowing I have provided the safe /fun snacks. The kids are more comfortable cause they helped choose the snack and they know it is safe too

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Thanks so much for your input, everyone! I really need to see that I am not alone in this concern. My dh and I have decided to handle it ourselves, rather than excpet the team to conform to his dietary needs. Especially since it is a bit after-the-fact of having the snack schedule handed out. I am going to take Alex shopping to pick out his own special treats for after games when the snack that is offered isn't gluten-free. I just think he needs some time, as I do, in dealing with being *different* because he can't eat everything that others can. It is a lesson he is going to need to learn, though a tough one.

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at our soccer team meetings we would just tell everyone that all i could eat was popsicles, and i didn't really care if i couldn't have the snack but they all listened and had popsicles at every game

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My son started pre-scool a few weeks ago. I've been very upfront with anyone who is involved with him regarding his major issues with gluten and giving them my Gluten Intolerance/Celiac Disease mini-lesson. Everyone has been supportive and understanding. I've provided a bag full of different gluten-free snacks for him to choose from at school. They include tostitos, pirates booty, tings, peach cups and ener-g cookies. For incentives, I sent in a bag of Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips. I've also sent in a freezer bag of a couple chocolate cupcakes with frosting and sprinkles to be kept in the freezer at school in the event of an unplanned "special" activity so he's not left out or worse....glutened!! :). His class is having and an end-of-year concert with refreshments and snacks. I'm simply going to bring a tray of the chocolate cupcakes that he loves, which btw are quite yummy, and put them out with everything else.

I know this doesn't have anything to do with a sports team, but my point is that it's all about planning and educating people. No one we knew had ever heard of Celiac Disease...including us!! :blink: My husband and I take full responsibility for all of the planning and educating because we know better than "they" do. I firmly believe the more educated people are the more likely they are to comply with and understand his dietary issues. We've had friends and family call before we've come over to ask what he can have and specifically ask about ingredients that they weren't sure about. In fact, my sisiter-in-law just called yesterday to see what she should have for my son at their BBQ on Saturday. She not only wanted to make sure there was safe food for him, but didn't want him to feel left out from what his cousins were eating. Our family friends and are, obviously, unbelievably understanding and supportive of the dietary challenges we face. Good Luck!!

--Kristy

PS-my son is also allergic to peanuts so that adds an additional twist to everything!!

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Thanks so much for your input, everyone! I really need to see that I am not alone in this concern. My dh and I have decided to handle it ourselves, rather than excpet the team to conform to his dietary needs. Especially since it is a bit after-the-fact of having the snack schedule handed out. I am going to take Alex shopping to pick out his own special treats for after games when the snack that is offered isn't gluten-free. I just think he needs some time, as I do, in dealing with being *different* because he can't eat everything that others can. It is a lesson he is going to need to learn, though a tough one.

It does get easier with time, I found I was in a "fog" for a few months, trying to absorb all the info, recognize gluten in all its forms....find the stores that carry gluten-free mixes, or stuff like quinoa. Dealing with cooking failures and finding recipes/food the kids liked.

The kids have a really positive attitude, but that didnt develop overnight, they still miss "regular donuts", but they know that they can have kinnickinnick donuts to dunk in milk if they want a treat.

One thing I did that seemed to help my son (he was having the hardest time, he already felt different in the classroom when he did his blood glucose or needed insulin). For his birthday, I made gluten-free choc cupcakes for everyone but didnt tell the class til after...they all raved about the great cupcakes..and then my son told them - they're gluten-free!! It opened the eyes in all the kids - they no longer saw him as having to eat "weird" or different"..suddenly they saw that he had great food - the only difference is that is has no gluten. my son beamed when they asked when I was bringing cupcakes again.

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I would have included mini bags of Frito Lay snacks (Cheetos, Doritos, Fritos) and marshmallow bars made with Fruity Pebbles or Cocoa Pebbles (in a disposable pan) instead of Rice Krispies on the acceptable list. People feel better about accomodating me when I can "name drop" familiar brands.

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I would have included mini bags of Frito Lay snacks (Cheetos, Doritos, Fritos) and marshmallow bars made with Fruity Pebbles or Cocoa Pebbles (in a disposable pan) instead of Rice Krispies on the acceptable list. People feel better about accomodating me when I can "name drop" familiar brands.

We don't have Cocoa or Fruity Pebbles in Canada, and most of the kids around here eat the Nacho Cheese Doritos which are full of gluten. Good point on the Lays chips, though, plain Lays are readily available and so are Hawkins Cheezies in the snack size package.

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