I get asked a lot of questions about the Feingold Diet so I thought I’d start posting some common questions about Feingold and how we have dealt with the situations. Feel free to send me your questions, and as I have time, I’ll post them so that everyone can learn from them.
Question: We just recently went out to a family wedding, and well, the diet was a struggle to say the least. I was seriously motivated to bring our own food to the wedding, but didn’t. Also, my parents were giving the kids doughnuts, and they ate unapproved chocolate. Today, we are back home, and bad behavior is abounding in both the kids. On the way home, we ran out of food, and do you think I could find a meal at any grocery store that would be acceptable! Nope!
Answer: Absolutely bring your own food when you go out. If you don’t feel comfortable doing so right now, I often will feed my kids right before going out somewhere and then I just bring them a snack and dessert to eat at the party while others are eating. No one tends to notice. My kids are bad about eating at parties anyway. They’re too busy playing to sit down and eat. A wedding is a little different.
We went to my brother’s wedding 2 years ago, and I had them request a special meal for my allergic kids. It doesn’t cost them anything extra. My dd had a plain chicken breast cooked in olive oil and pepper and salt etc. with broccolli and rice. They know how to do gluten and dairy free, which usually also means crap free, or closer to it than chicken nuggets and fries anyway.
Of course, dessert we always bring. Usually a cupcake or muffin with frosting that I made and froze. I have these Cup-A-Cake holders that work great. I got them online. They keep the cupcakes from tipping over or getting smushed. By the time we get to the party, they are defrosted.
When we’re in a bind for food and we are out or on vacation, I will let my kids have a hamburger from McDonald’s or Wendy’s. It does have corn syrup in the buns but if they have to eat, they have to eat. Wendy’s fries are also approved now.
Also, we do pizza from Papa John’s (Papa John’s used to be approved but they stopped filling out forms. We do them, as do other members still though without a problem (though would be stage 2 – get no sauce for stage 1 and extra cheese helps sometimes). Some things from Subway on Italian bread are approved. Five Guys burgers and fries are approved (though not the bun). We also do Chipotle.
Don’t beat yourself up. There are times when you have to do what you have to do, and you can go right back to the diet if you have an infraction. It’s nice to know why they are acting up though when they do.
I’d rather go stage 2 than have them eat artificials personally so if we are going to Six Flags or something, I pack fruit for one of my kids who is very picky – grapes, strawberries, etc. and we just deal with the crabbiness the next day. I figure it’s better than letting them go hungry or having them end up eating something much less healthy. (By the way, I bring my own food everywhere – I’ve never been turned away. I just tell them that my kids have allergies and they can’t eat any of the food there. No running out to the car for me and saves a ton of money at the parks. :)) My daughter will eat melon which is stage 1 so for her I will pack cantaloupe, watermelon, and honeydew cut up.
The main thing with going out is to be prepared. Pack a cooler for the car and then also bring as much non-perishables with you as you think you might need, plus a little more just in case. I found an awesome backpack cooler online at http://www.target.com/. I actually saw someone with it at a McDonald’s playland and you know I had to see what brand it was and look it up when I got home. It’s a MaxCold brand. I got a pink one. It looks just like a regular sized backpack…but secretly it’s a cooler! I love it! It’s not huge, but it’s great for parties and such when you don’t want to look like you’re lugging in food for an army.
It’s also really nice in the summer for the car to keep drinks cold when you are running in and out of stores and have to leave your drinks in a hot car. I also sometimes use a Nissan Thermos that I got online that keeps drinks cold for 24 hours. I used to pack lemonade in it, but we recently switched to all water for the kiddos. My son uses it for school now, or for sports. When I only had two drinks to bring, I would just bring a lunch bag with an ice pack. You’ll also need an ice pack if you don’t have one. Otherwise, I put ice in a quart size freezer bag and throw it in. I hate it when ice is just thrown in my coolers. When it melts, you have water all over your stuff. But that’s just me. If you don’t need to take a lot of food, you could also just pack your kids individual lunchboxes like you would for school. It depends what your kids like and how long you are going to be gone. Vacation would be a little bit different than a party for a few hours.
I never leave the house without a snack for the car in case someone gets hungry, which in our case, is all the time. Gum works nice too to stall for time till you get home. We order from http://www.iherb.com/, the B Fresh Moon Melon or Bubble Gum, or my daughter also likes Spearmint or Peppermint. Cinnamon is WAY too spicy for some reason. Everyone spits it right out. Go online and do a search for iherb coupon codes. You can find one for first time orders that will give you $5 off.
We also have some nice thermoses for hot food. Forget the ones at Target. They don’t work very well for longer periods – like more than two hours, if that. I have some Nissan Thermos brand ones that I got online. Amazon has them. I’ve had the same ones for years and they still work well. We use them for school lunches often. The ones at Target are also way too small. I also like ones that are stainless steel, not aluminum. We use ours for hot dogs a lot. I got a taller skinnier thermos and it fits a whole hot dog perfectly. I boil them in water, then put the boiling water right into the thermos with the hot dogs to keep them warm. I fill it about half to 3/4 full. Put some ketchup in some tupperware, and a plastic fork if you need it. My kids will eat them whole and we are gluten free, so we don’t use a bun, but you could bring one. We keep an extra supply of plastic forks in the glove compartment of my car. In the thermos, we’ve also done spaghetti, beef or chicken stew, soups, leftover chicken and rice, roast, mac and cheese, etc. These thermoses will keep the food warm for at least 6 hours if not more.
Sandwiches are also easy to do. Put them in a sandwich tupperware box and throw it in your cooler. We use Rudi’s Honey Sweet Whole Wheat bread. Right now, the only place I can get Rudi’s bread is Whole Foods, so I buy a few and freeze them because I only get out there a couple times a month and I hate running out of bread. My kids also like eating Hormel Naturals lunch meat just rolled up – turkey, ham, or salami. They are in a cardboard box near the Lunchables at the store.
We also really like some summer sausage I order online from US Wellness. http://www.grasslandbeef.com/. They sell grass fed beef. That is where we get all our meat from. We put it on crackers. Glutino’s for the GF’ers in the house, and Annie’s or 365 brand crackers for my FG’er. For snacks, Trader Joe’s Baked Onion Rings are the favorite right now. They are like Funyons. Very addictive. Or Angie’s Kettle Corn popcorn. I don’t know if these are just local because I couldn’t find them in Florida. They are awesome! Our Costco has a big bag of them, and every other grocery store here has them.
I also keep some little bags of Ruffles or Fritos in the car. Something about having your own little bag is such a novelty to kids. We happen to own a vending machine so we get the big boxes from Sam’s Club. Breakfast bars are also nice to keep on hand in your bag. Or homemade muffins. When you make muffins, freeze them. They make great snacks. Also, we recently got a food dehydrator, so I am really liking being able to bring along dried fruits, and soon I will try my hand at homemade beef jerky in my dehydrator. Wish me luck. For stage 1 fruits, I make my kids dried mango, pears, watermelon, and bananas.
So, anyways, that’s what we do. In the beginning, you will feel overwhelmed. I did! It does take twice as long to get ready to go anywhere, so give yourself extra time to get ready. We’re always late going anywhere, but I can’t honestly say it’s because of Feingold. I was born late and have never stopped being late. Character flaw I guess. Oh, well. But, I have to say, it’s worth it in the end! If it takes a little extra time to go somewhere to avoid the behavior we will get afterwards if we don’t, it’s so worth it. And after you’ve done it a few times, you will become a pro. It just takes practice, like anything else. You’ll learn what works and what doesn’t and how much food you need to bring for your kids. At this point, we have 4 kids, and I have to bring my own food now too because of food issues with having my gallbladder removed, so I am packing a lot! So if you only have one or two kids to pack for, be thankful! It could be worse! 🙂