What parent doesn’t want to make their child’s birthday a very special day, filled with all the fun and joy in the world? As parents, we feel the need to indulge our little ones with food they may not normally get, activities they may not normally participate in, and many, many presents at birthday time. But, what’s the ending result? Have you noticed your LO to be cranky, hard to deal with or even extremely hyper during this time? A lot of the highs and subsequent lows of the day are yours to choose, just like the food you decide serve. Spoiling your kid on their birthday doesn’t have to mean derailing their diet, sabotaging their immune system or giving them a tummy ache. Have a birthday bash without the crash!
BIRTHDAY BASH WITHOUT THE CRASH
To start, I just want to say that I don’t want to be one of ‘those mums’ or my son to be one of ‘those kids’ that doesn’t eat like everyone else. No matter what my efforts, my kid will one day eat “non-paleo food” and I realize this. Not even “one day” currently, he eats ice cream or an occasional treat. But it’s amazing to see how much better a child thinks, behaves and performs when they’re eating healthy. We’ve come to see hyperactivity, attention deficit and dyslexia as commonplace in kids. What we don’t often realize it that the cause could very well be simply in the balance of bacteria in their gut. The presence of foods that produce an intolerance or allergic reaction could be the cause. All of which can be avoided through an overall better food selection.
KIDS DON’T KNOW ANY BETTER
And that goes for birthday parties too. After all, for a kid who doesn’t know any better, this is really just doing them a big disservice on their birthday – not to mention creating exhausted, cranky kids that no one wants to be around. Oh and a resultant night of sleeplessness for you too as their hyper continues into the night.
My boy just turned two in February and is already known for his even temperament, which hopefully can be taken back to his healthy beginnings. That said, he’s only two right? And he probably doesn’t know what a birthday is, however after the five day span of ‘happy bday to you’, I think he was starting to get the hang of it being his? So, this birthday is pretty much about us parents. And an opportunity to realize that you can indeed have a great bday bash without the crash.
THE BASICS OF A BIRTHDAY BASH WITHOUT THE CRASH ARE:
SUGAR HINDERS IMMUNITY
Sugar hinders immunity. Say what? Did you know sugar has a crippling effect for 4-6 hours after being eaten? That means you give your little one candy then they get exposed to a child with a virus, and your little person is much less able to defend himself from getting sick. They’re now more likely to get sick because of sugar consumption. Further sugar depletes B vitamins, which are critical to the immune system functioning and protection against infection. And yet more sugar displaces more nutrient dense foods further reducing intake of nutrients that could protect and strengthen immunity.
Instead of: soda and chocolate cake
Serve this: water if they’re thirsty and not with meals. Water dilutes their stomach juices for digesting food, so it’s important to drink water separately from the meal; Chocolate cupcakes made with 6 eggs, 1/2 cup each cacao, coconut flour, maple syrup, coconut oil and coconut milk, 2.5 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp each cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Whiz all, bake in muffin tins at 320F for 25min or until fork comes out clean. Frost with ‘guacolate’ using 2 avocados, 1.2 cup each cacao and honey, whiz and spread.
Or checkout these amazing recipes as real food birthday cake substitutes: Paleo Molten Chocolate Lava Cake, Paleo Version of Ding Dongs or Paleo Blonde Brownies your kids won’t know they’re eating real food. These are amazing!
SUGAR HINDERS DIGESTION
Sugar hinders digestion. Like the term ‘kids and candy’ easily rolls off the tongue, so does ‘sugar and digestive fireball’ especially combined with the excitement of birthday parties. Because pure sugar or candy is simply just one of the possible sugars consumed. It’s also only one of the blood sugar responses. You have to realize we’re giving our kids other foods that break down to sugar (bread, pasta, rice, grains and dairy), which means more sugar still or sugar overload. A blood sugar high is really all the hormones flooding in to reduce the high no matter the source. Then subsequent hormones flood in afterwards to lift such a reduction in sugar and so on until we are on a blood sugar roller coaster. Now add a child who’s developing hormones you’ve suddenly put on this roller coaster.
ADDITIONAL PARTY FOOD SUBSTITUTES
Instead of Gummy Bears or Sugary Jellies
Serve with: Cherry and pear jellies. Cook and puree and cup each cherries and pear in separate pots, sprinkle a tbsp gelatin on each leaving tis it blooms. Gently whiz then pour into shapes and refrigerate 2-3 hours before serving. These gelatin gummies are good for adult digestion too.
You can also experiment with different fruits! Try our Watermelon Gummies. They were a hit during Halloween.
USE COLORFUL FOOD AT YOUR KID’S BIRTHDAY PARTY
Color at birthdays is a great place to start: digest the rainbow. Nope this is not a Skittles ad. Because sugar hinders digestion, it alters mineral balance. And sugary foods replace this rainbow generally vegetable and fruit foods, which incidentally are full of the vitamins and minerals sugar displaces. Sugar replaces and displaces minerals. Imbalanced minerals are unable to function properly as they rely on each other in specific proportions. Because minerals are helpers to enzymes when minerals are unbalanced, enzymes are too and so don’t function properly to do their job, especially affecting digestion. When foods aren’t digesting, allergies are likely, which is why foods eaten with sugar are more likely to have allergies developed against them.
Instead of: fruit loops, goldfish, or any other artificially colored weird kids snacks
Serve with: guacamole and mango salsa. Delicious, colorful, fruity but balanced with good healthy fats
Instead of: chicken nuggets
Serve with: chicken strips first rolled in arrowroot, then beaten egg, then almond flour and salt fried in coconut oil.
Instead of: candy and more candy
Serve with: chocolate crackles 1/2 cup each cacao, macadamias (chopped), coconut oil (melted), shredded coconut, honey to sweeten, handful each dried goji and blueberries. Mix all ingredients and serve them in mini cupcake patties. Deliberately make the batch small because that’s just how treats should be: a suggestion, without being sickly.
FOOD ISN’T THE ONLY WAY TO MAKE KIDS HAPPY
Food isn’t the only way to make kids happy especially on their birthday. Spoil them with presents for sure. Cover your house in streamers, balloons and cards all about their day. And remember throughout that attention is everything: even though you have guests, they’re the star, your star. Mostly too hope to continue your efforts to give them a healthy appetite full of choices, to know what he likes and hopefully when it comes to food that he’ll be good most of the time. It’s just my job as a parent to do the “best job I can.” Empathy, choice, “please” and ‘thank you” can, hopefully, set him up for success later in life.