How To Eat Out with Friends: Dietary Challenges and Socialising with Kids

I was advised to feed my son the same plant based diet I eat, in an attempt to prevent him from establishing Multiple Sclerosis (MS) down the track, as MS often occurs within families although as yet, there has been no direct genetic link found.

I have taken this pretty seriously like most parents of a child who has a serious food intolerance or allergy and do my best to prevent him from eating saturated animal fats wherever possible as this has been strongly linked with MS however, this can become difficult when it comes to formal occasions such as birthday parties and other functions, so I have found the key to be….. PLANNING!!

Whenever we have a function to go to I pack a huge freezer bag full of food. If it’s a children’s birthday party I might take things like:

– A home made cupcake (you can freeze these and just whip one out and smack some natural icing and decorations on it the morning of the party and you are good to GO!) which is nice for them esp for when the cake comes out!

– Some organic Corn chips (I like to bring some food that resembles the food the other kids are eating so Mr I.S.N doesn’t feel completely left out)

– Some organic fruit (in case there isn’t any or isn’t enough)

– Some dairyfree dip such as Hommus – yum!

– Maybe soda water to have with lemon (for something a teeny bit more exciting;-))

 

If it’s a long day I also pack things like:

– Wraps and fillings – Spinach, Alfalfa, Almond Butter, Carrots, Tomato, Tempeh, Avocado, etc…

– Tamari Almonds (or other nuts)

– Dried Mango (or other dried fruits)

 

I do basically this, but with varying food alternatives for any time we leave the house for any extended period of time.

Initially, it can be a little confronting but I find most people are happy to have the pressure to cater for you taken out of their hands, of course if they go out of their way and make us food that’s great but I like to contingency plan just in case, as sometimes people (my own mother included!;-)) can accidently add foods that aren’t vegan into their cooking when they are cooking whilst on autopilot.

An example of this would be my mother making my son lunch the other week and at the end when we were suitably famished, she completed the dish by dumping an entire can of tuna on the top and stirring it through… At this time I was thankful I had a second jar of passata in my bag of tricks and a bunch of vegies and herbs and just threw us together something quickly, that ensured neither my son nor I went hungry.

I pretty much carry our food everywhere we go like a camel does with water. 

Obviously, as my son grows, he will be in situations where he has to navigate social settings without me which can be daunting. I have spent each day since his birth providing him with a foundation of healthy eating and I attempt to inform him (age appropriately) of the potential consequences to his health and wellbeing of eating ‘junk’ foods. Although I began my plant based journey to benefit my own health, as a vegan, I attempt to instill compassion in him towards animals and hopefully prepare him as much as possible for social situations involving food, following that, I have to respect and support him in any decision he makes with regards to his own, life long food choices and his own health.