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emja73

Eating Out W/ A Toddler?

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Thanks for all of your input in my post below... totally new here. How do you eat out w/ a toddler? she can't have chicken nuggets, can't have mac & cheese... all of her favorites :( and what about birthday parties or pizza parties that friends have? I'm just trying to wrap my head around all of this... thanks.

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My gluten-free daughter is not a toddler, but I can tell you how we handle parties. I call the other mom in advance and find out everything they are having at the party. I then send my daughter with the same food, but gluten-free.

With a toddler in a restaurant, I think I'd either bring something from home or order something like mashed potatoes for him/her. I also might just share some of my food with him/her. You are right, just about all the food for kids in restaurant have gluten.

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My two year old is a very picky eater. When we go out to eat (usually we only go to Outback Steakhouse) I order her a baked potato and call it "a big french fry" and a side of bacon strips. It's not the healthiest dinner, but at least she eats and is happy. My best advice is to feed him/her ahead of time and bring a coloring book or favorite toy for him/her to play with during the meal. He/She can pick on french fries (if safe), mashed potatos, or whatever they'll eat.

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Hi, I try to choose places to eat where the fries are gluten free. Then I order him a cheese burger or hotdog (no buns) and fries. Friendly's hotdogs, burgers, and fries are gluten free. We also go to Cheeseburger in Paradise for the same reason. For some very odd reason, he will only eat instant potatos, so mashed potatos out for us is not going to happen. He also will not eat a baked potato. So until his taste expands, we will eat at places where the fries are ok. Also, in case you don't already know, if you go on Wendy's web site they do not list the fries as gluten free. But if you call they explain to you that the fries are actually gluten free but that you need to call the individual restaraunt you plan to eat at to make sure they are using a seperate fryer for the fries and chicken. We have only had success there. I know it is not exactly our idea of eating out but hey, it is something :P .

Nicole

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Hi - Like CarlaB mentioned, I just bring something from home for Izak to eat (he's almost 16 mos). In a pinch, we'll get a plain or cheeseburger and be VERY clear that no bun is to touch it; steamed plain veggies (most kitechens are willing to oblige); plain rice; or if he's really being a b&tch, just a banana or two and a dish of applesauce. At a diner, a plain scrambled egg works too. But like I said, I usually bring something from home for him - that is if I decide to bring him at all! These days a babysitter is infinitely preferable than dealing with a squirming toddler who has to touch EVERYTHING.

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At Taco Bell Luke likes to get the pintos and cheese. (the tostada is also gluten-free) I often bring a EnerG Foods tapioca dinner roll along when we eat at wendys, braums, or McD and order a bunless hamburger with pickes and then he has his own bun. He also likes to dip his bunless hamburger in chili at Wendys. (My husband is gluten-free too so he always has the chili at Wendys) I usually pack applesauce, grapes or something else to supplement his meal. He currently is off dairy but before that he loved yogurt too. I think it was ribs he ate at chilis and then the corn on the cob. They did have some gluten-free kids choices there. We usually just pack some stuff to add to his meal (and my daughter's too) Hope this helps. We don't go to really fancy places right now with the kids and I always bring a cooler along with extra foood.

I send his own treat for birthday parties. :) Kendra

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Hi. Mom of 3 here. Girls are 10 and 8. Boy is one year old (today). We go out to eat every week (insanity at its finest). My MIL likes to eat out to visit, so we do. Hubby, 8yr old, and 1 year old all gluten intolerant. The eight year old order her own meal. Most resteraunts are good about charging for a child's dinner, and modifying when we explain that there is nothing on the children's menu she can eat. The baby eats from our plates (he eats anything that is put in front of him - except ham). So, if we can find gluten free food for Dad and Sis, baby is good to go. If not, nobody eats there.

The suggestions above for french fries, veggies, applesauce, burgers, and hot dogs all sound like winners. If your toddler is old enough, perhaps salad would be an option. My kids always liked sweet potatoes, grilled chicken, steak cut up small (well cooked), and rice. We have found that Vietnamese restaurants are easy to eat gluten-free at. And once the kids taste it, they like it. (First visit, refused to order anything, now it is their favorite place to eat!) Rice noodles, rice wrappers for spring rolls, etc.

Good luck.

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My daughter is 20 months and we have done 2 birthday parties successfully, we have eaten out a few times successfully (at places with and with out gluten free menus) HEre is what we do!

Instead of Chicken nugets: Unbreaded chicken breast cooked on a clean grill or pan cut up into strips that resemble nugets! Usually I get her a side of steamed veggies with no spices or mashed potatoes

I go to places that have gluetn free menus and order what I think she'll eat from there. Outback Steak house has gluten-free items on its kids menu.

Birthday parties: I usually make a batch of gluten-free cupcakes and frost them... and I bring it along with me to the party. I feed my daughter before we go so she is not super hungry and I always bring a bag of snack food for her. Usually some cut up fruit, Larabar, raisins, and a few pieces of gluten-free candy. I make her her own plate and guard it with my life :)

Depending on how well I know the person I'll ask what they are serving and bring the gluten-free equivalent to what everyone is having for my daughter... that way she is eating the same thing as everyone else. gluten-free pizza parties I would make her her own version :)

I hope that helps!

Kibbie

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My son is 3 1/2 and hs been gluten-free since he was just 3 y/o. We've successfully gone out to eat many times. Some of it is trial and error, but the biggest part of it being a success is *planning ahead* I agree with the previous posters that bringing food with you is always an excellent idea; I don't ever leave home with out gluten-free food in my diaper bag. Ya never know when you'll need it! :)

Going out...We usually order a bunless burger, fries and milk. Unfortunately, even when you explain to people what must be done, there's always the risk of cc when you're out. I always have snacky/dessert foods with me in the event the ice cream isn't gluten-free. My kids don't know any different so, fortunately, it's never presented an issue. If my son asks for something off one of our plates that isn't safe, we simply tell him he'll get boo-boos and offer him something he can have. He's so interested in what's going on around him and coloring that we've never had a problem in any type of restaraunt.

Parties and stuff...When we're going to someone elses house, I usually bring something that can easily be prepared without imposing such as a hotdog/burger, french fries, pasta, mac and cheese and a dessert that I know he can eat. Gluten-free chocloate chip cookies (I make Toll House using Gluten Free Pantry All Purpose Flour) or gluten-free chocloate cupcakes with frosting and sprinkles are *always* a hit; the other kids have no idea that they're not the "real deal". ;) If there's gluten-free food available for him, we feed him that. Our family and friends are very cognizent of his dietary needs (he has food allergies as well) and supportive of the diet that they have either called me, or I'm comfortable enough to call them and ask what we're having for dinner. Happy dining-out!! :rolleyes:

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