Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Snack Time

Ahhh, snack time. The idyllic moment  of childhood when kids pause from their energetic play to fill their tummies with their favorite treats and reflect on their day.....That is, until you go gluten** and casein-free. Then those harmless little snack times can threaten to get the best of you.

Until now, I've been able to convince Sky and Pink that their dietary limitations weren't a big deal. I compensated for a lack of dairy in snacks by making homemade ice cream or giving them crunchy granola bars (Sky's all-time favorite), and they were thrilled. Now, though, I'm having a hard time convincing Sky and Pink that rice crackers and corn chips are adequate replacements for their favorites: cookies and cupcakes. When we were just casein-free it was actually possible to find some baked good they could eat. Now, not so much. And the troops are rebelling, people. They miss bagels, the occasional donut, and good bread. 

But most of all they miss spontaneity and variety. 

The good news? I seem to have aced the lunch box challenge (see photo series below). They're more than happy with their rice balls, hummus and veggies, and sun butter and jelly on gluten-free frozen waffles. The bad news? I have not mastered the art of the unexpected snack.

It's not until you embark on a special diet that you realize just how ubiquitous the mid-morning/mid-afternoon snack is. This week alone, I was unprepared for snacks at a play date, Sunday school, and a birthday party. I also didn't anticipate the chocolate candy rewards handed out at dance class and Cub Scouts or the chocolate that accompanied the favors from the pool party. Each time, the parent in charge expressed appropriate remorse for not having viable alternatives for us, and two even offered to buy something different next time, writing down a list of things my kids could eat. (I can't even begin to tell you how heartwarming that gesture is, by the way). Still, that doesn't solve the problem of the unanticipated snack. Sky takes responsibility for and ownership of his dietary restrictions. He sees the value in what we're trying to accomplish. But so many instances where he can eat nothing being offered is demoralizing, even for him.

I know I need to get better at always having a back-up snack on hand. I've already supplied both of their teachers with a bag full of gluten-, casein-, nut-, and dye-free snacks, and I always take some whenever we go out of town. But clearly I need to do more. That, or I need to convince everyone to quit handing out food all the time.

**I know, I know, I know. I just can't resist the fine print: We haven't managed to get totally gluten-free, yet. There's gluten in our Costco-size container of soy sauce, and Sky has a few more oatmeal granola bars to get through. Still, we've seen improved behavior overall--though, he will be the first to point out, gluten doesn't seem to help increase patience for little sisters nor does it help him remember to stop singing at the end of songs when everyone else does. 

#1 This is the part where I try to distract you from the sore lack of compelling content in this post by showing you pictures of the lunches we've made recently. Some of these have appeared on my FB page, so sorry if you are seeing them for a second time.

#2 I forgot to mention that this is a quiz. Try to guess which lunches I made and which ones Ren made. I'll give you a hint--his always look better than mine. Leave your guesses in the comment section if you want.

#3 Like the green beans rolled up in ham? A nice touch, don't you think?

#4 Van's Gluten-free Waffles. When someone suggested these as a bread alternative, I thought she was crazy, but  the kids love them. 

#5 This one may not look like much, but there's cooked fish inside those rice balls.

#6 Reverse-rolled brown-rice sushi with ham, lettuce, and carrots.

#7 "Niku-jaga," broccoli, tomatoes, and rice balls. This is a tricky one since I made part of it and Ren made part of it.

#8 Hummus, veggies, and sesame seaweed rice chips.


viviane said...

Ren made : 1, 3, 6 and half of 7 (niku-jaga ? what are they, by the way ?)

kailiia said...

For gf,dairy free,nut free, and dye free is a major challenge and you should be cheered for doing so good - I jsut wanted to give a shout out to the Enjoy Life company (which all of their products are Gluten, Dairy, Soy, Nut, egg, fish, shellfish, sesame, potato and sulfite free. THey have regular coupons on their website and you can order online direct from them if no stores near by carry their products. (Not sponsored, just found that they are pretty tasty though personal experience). A second big shoutout to Udi's (who is also a gf, dairy, nut and soy free manufactureer). They have a smaller online presence but their sandwhich bread makes me not miss "good bread" and where I am there is only 1$ a loaf difference in cost over "nice" bakery bread anyway (2.50$ over wonderbread).

Keep with it!

Mom on the Edge said...

Ooo, close, but not quite!
Niku-jaga is a type of Japanese stew with sweetened soy-sauce-based soup. Ours always has carrots, potatoes, onions, and pork, but sometimes it also include green beans and kelp.

Mom on the Edge said...

Any advice on how to keep the Udi's palatable after the first day or so? They like it when we first get it, but then I think it gets a little hard.

Anonymous said...

Oh, man...these bentos look so delicious!! Props to you and Ren for putting so much time and effort into this diet. My mom never packed my lunch - or, when she did we would wind up with an apple and an entire package of crackers. Totally embarrassing to open at the lunch table.


Mom on the Edge said...

Thanks! Though, just last week some kids in Pink P's class made fun of her for having seaweed. Sigh.

Tenntrace said...

My 12 year old was looking at these pictures and wants to move in with you. Any blogs, cookbooks, etc for making any of those, ESP the reverse roll turkey sushi wrap thing?

Mom on the Edge said...

We basically just make things up as we go, but I will work on a blog on how to make some of them. The ham rolls are easy. Line up unsnapped green beans on flat piece of ham and roll. :)

Mom on the Edge said...

I made #3. Otherwise, you got it!