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Bringing your own food to a birthday party... is it rude?

post #1 of 123
Thread Starter 
DD, age 2, has been invited to two birthday parties this month, both family. One is at McDonald's, and one is at a place like Chuck-E-Cheese that serves food that I wouldn't touch with a 10ft stick

DD doesn't have any food allergies, per-se. She was sensitive to gluten as a baby and now it gives her behavioral issues, we suspect. Currently we're making a highly concerted effort to 100% eliminate artifical colors and HFCS because they make her fly off the handle. We've also eliminate nearly all processed foods from her diet. She is making a positive change

Is it rude to bring food for DD? Not sure what the food situation at McD's is, but at the other place it's probably pizza and cake, so it is ordered for everyone as a group and not individually.

Thanks in advance We've never been to a party like this before, our family usually has home cooked food at parties so this hasn't been an issue.
post #2 of 123
I think it's kind of rude. Would your daughter even go along with that plan? I would think it might be hard to get your child to eat healthy foods while all her friends are eating hamburgers and pizza.
post #3 of 123
I don't think it's rude. Although to save time on explaining why you are avoiding the junk food, I'd just call it food allergies. And your daughter will be just fine.
post #4 of 123
My son's dr. advised us to put him on a gluten-free diet back in October, and since then he has been to a couple of birthday parties where we've brought in extra food for him. I will make him a turkey sandwich on GF bread or even pick up some California rolls (both are his favorites), and I always bring a GF cupcake so he's getting cake too when the other kids have theirs (there's an awesome vegan bakery near us, they use agave and other natural ingredients, it's a godsend).

I have always just made a small mention of it beforehand so we're not unpacking all this stuff unexpectedly. I never met any resistance, in fact the other moms almost seem embarrassed or something that they can't accommodate him -- but I reassure them it's not any trouble for us.

Oh, re: McD's, in a pinch DS has had a plain hamburger from there, no bun, and a few fries -- though I can't say the fries are definitely GF, for him it doesn't seem to make a difference.
post #5 of 123
Thread Starter 
Thanks I suppose one day (well, in this case two) may not hurt

For the McD boy's last birthday, we were GF, and his mom was actually worried about accomodating us, which was very kind of her. She made sure to have a big fruit and veggie selection for our DD, since that was all she'd eat at the time and it was GF

The other party DD may just not eat. She's kind of finicky around people and doesn't eat much anyhow.. We shall see

I really don't want to offend anyone, but I don't want to set DD off.. you know? She was already heavily hooked on HFCS foods (via breads and such, not necessarly pure junk foods), and she's finally kind of "ok" with being without them.

post #6 of 123
We went to a party saturday at Chuckie Cheese. They actually had a pretty well stocked salad bar. We have a milk allergy so i just purchased the salad separate from the party. In the past i have always taken food to parties for my ds with the allergy. No one has ever batted an eye. i am guessing they would prefer you to be there and bring your on food than not go at all.

i say go take your own food and have a good time.
post #7 of 123
Taking your own food is rude. Plus, the other kids may notice and raise a fuss. Pre-feed your daughter, so she won't be hungry and offer her whatever you think is okay at the party.
post #8 of 123
My dd isn't that old yet, but I'd definitely just bring whatever she needs. I used to work in childcare, and kids these days (the ones who are in group care, at least) are very used to the idea that some kids have different foods than others; a LOT of kids have different diets for one reason or another.
It's not like it's homemade food that you're not eating, even. I really don't think anyone is going to be offended that you aren't feeding your kid mcdonalds.
post #9 of 123
Taking your own food is not rude if you know you'll be in a situation that doesn't have food that accomadates your (or in this case your child's) diet. It's rude to expect a guest to go hungry or to eat something that isn't good for their body (mental/emotional health, behavior, etc.), especially if that guest is only two years old. Frankly if I were on a specific diet ( for weight loss, allergies, vegetarian, whatever) and some one was having a party at a fast food restaurant with limited choices that fit in to that diet I'd bring my own food or not go. In this day and age I think it's understood that there are many different ways of eating. Between the vegetarians/vegans, the GFCF-ers, the TF-ers, all the different allergies, you can't always please everyone. As a hostess I just serve what I want to serve and assume that if people have specific dietary restrictions they'll bring their own food. The only time I'd think it would be rude to bring your own food is if you just didn't like the way the hostess cooked. That would be rude.
post #10 of 123
We always pre-feed the kids in questionable situations, then let them graze the 'bad' food - they never eat much. You may have different struggles with this food issue as you DC gets older and has all kinds of thoughts about fitting in, or being different, or wanting to get at the 'yummy' stuff that other kids are eating. I've learned to choose my battles - it really gets tedious to micromanage this stuff when they start developing a will. Having said that, my kids hate cake, icing, soda, most candies simply *because* of how we eat at home. I never disallow them this stuff at parties - they just can't stand the stuff and find it tastes too sweet, or funny, or whatever.
post #11 of 123
since your dd has no food allergies

and since the hostess was so kind last time

bring your own food IS rude!!!!

plus a one time deal is not going to really 'hurt' your dd kwim - even though you ARE trying to keep her off those foods.

i would definitely prefeed my dd to make sure she just grazes anyways.

its also so hard to say which way your kid will align.

i have seen two year olds just wallop down whatever sweet they could lay their hands on - even others cake - since they had never eaten it before.

its one thing if your child doesnt want to eat. its a whole nother issue if you bring food.
post #12 of 123
It sounds like your child does actually have food allergies - to gluten or certain additives. If she has behavioral changes when she eats certain things, it sounds like she has an allergy, or at least an intolerance (described by our ped as basically something that bothers, physically or otherwise, someone when they eat it, but doesn't cause a full blown allergic reaction).

In that case, I think it is totally reasonable to bring your own food. I can't imagine someone expecting you to feed your child something that doesn't agree with them. We were at a birthday party recently, and one of the kids has major food allergies. His mom brought his food, he wasn't bothered by it and none of the kids wanted his food, or even said anything.

On the other hand, if a parent just doesn't like the food being served, and so brings their own food - I do think that is rude. We knew a family that had a really odd diet. The kids weren't allergic to anything, but the mom had the whole family on a pretty odd diet (one that, honestly, I think is unhealthy physically and if her kids don't grow up to have major food issues, I'll be shocked), but she thought was very healthy, etc. She brought food for her kids to something at our house, and I thought it was rude. Basically, it felt like she was saying that our food wasn't suitable to feed her kids.

I think that if a kid has real allergies, it is something they have to learn to live with - including learning how to take care of themselves and still enjoy social situations. If a kid doesn't have allergies, and the parent creates artificial restrictions, it is rude to the people having the party and the kid will end up resenting it.
post #13 of 123
I think it's fine, especially considering the age of the child in question. I'd alert the hosts in advance, though, and just explain that you will bring your child's own meal due to food sensitivities. That will help them out if they are pre-ordering (probably not an issue at McDonald's, but elsewhere it may be).

As she gets older, you'll have to figure out how to handle this kind of situation. Particularly since you may not be with her at the party - most parents around here drop off their kids at parties at about age 6.
post #14 of 123
Not rude AT ALL!

Your dd has a FOOD INTOLERANCE, which many not be life-threatening, but no less serious than a food allergy. There is no reason to make your dd MISERABLE just because somebody wants to have a party at a particular venue. That's just ridiculous.

Yes... even ONCE can cause problems. People who don't understand food intolerance don't understand the ramifications... they don't have to see the results.

ETA: A link for the Feingold diet information, which is a huge help for people with food intolerance. The site is also a treasure trove of information about food intolerance/sensitivity for those who do not know.
post #15 of 123
In this day and age with all that is known now about additives and such, frankly anyone having a party at a mcd or chuckies is rude to me... well not rude, but way out of touch with reality. I would probably not even go. I have a problem being around other people that are feeding their children what I consider to be poison to the human body. i have zero tolerance for it. there is so much evidence now to support the facts that food colorings cause reactions in all children. HFCS is proven to be bad for the body.... anyway, at 2 it isn't like she would even know there was a party she isn't going to. We are also GFCF and working on SF, for behavioral issues and because I have done the research. It is what is healthiest, IMO. Eating raw as much as possible (but not all, there is benefit to some foods cooked (and I haven't kicked the meat habit yet....) but what is served at Mc is not even qualified as meat IMO. It is from feed lot cows that were very unhappy most likely, and then the bits of meat that used to be unusable due to contamination possibilities are treated with ammonia and made in into patties for fast food and schools. http://www.newser.com/story/77225/da...unch-beef.html In my opinion, it is not food. So I wouldn't feel weird or bad at all about bringing real food for my child anywhere I go. I do in fact, and have for a long time since we were organic before that. To the posters that say a little is okay, once I read the things I have read and decided those things were poison for us, I cannot in good conscience give any to my child. If you are a tolerating person and can still be around mainstream people, go and do as one poster said, take a variety of food that is yummy and real, and make sure there is a sweet cake so she can have cake when the others do. I did like what one woman said that her children have never been restricted from those foods, and so they don't like the taste of them and refuse them, this may work when my dd is older and wondering about those other foods if the rest of the world is still eating it by then.... but we just started my daughter on the GFCF diet 6 wks ago (all of us girls are on it and feel awesome now) and she would still remember mcd... her dad used to take her there and me long ago when we travelled cross country. But now I know more and so I do things differently. I think the main reason people are still eating at places like that even after the NYT expose is they are afraid of change, and the ads (along with the alpha waves from the tv) have them in a state of half sleep. Or I could be wrong about it all... but anyway for now I would tell anyone that my dd is allergic to gluten, casein, food colors, HFCS, nitrates and nitrites.... and it is my opinion all humans are 'allergic' to these things... in that I do not believe the human body is meant to digest them and the chemicals were never meant to be food....
post #16 of 123
It's not rude, per se, but the polite thing to do is mention to the hosts that your child seems to have some sensitivity/allergy issues so while you're trying to isolate the cause(s), you're trying to provide your own food.
post #17 of 123
If I were you, w/ a 2yo who has displayed what I felt were food intolerances, I just wouldn't go. Chuck E Cheese is really loud and overstimulating to my child, we made the mistake of going to a party there once when she was 2 and it was a big mistake. She can't even play MOST of the games at 2. As for McD's I wouldn't go either. DD has never even been inside one. I consider those indoor playspaces to be like germ factories anyways, nasty dirty. As for the food, yeah it's crap, but it is the real world. At 2 you child isn't even going to know what they are missing. When they get older though, it becomes a gametime decision about how much you're going to let your child participate in mainstream activities and foods. At 2, I wouldn't even bother w/all the headache. The only reason I went when dd was 2 was because it was family, if it wasn't I wouldn't have gone, no question.
post #18 of 123
I don;t think it is rude because I would say your child does indeed have a food intolerance. My kids are on very restricted diets for their food issues. Family and friends are very aware so it is usually just a given that we are coming with our own food. DS1 is at the age where he is being invited to classmates birthday parties now. I always call the parent in advance and ask what food they will be serving. I then explain the situation and let them know that I will be sending ds with his own similar food. He is liking the independenc of going alone to a party which is great becasue he is so aware of his own restrictions, but this gives the parent a level of comfort becasue they usually go through everything that will be at the party for my approval. Ds had a party on the weekend and he took his own pizza and cupcakes and everyone was fine with it. I'd rather my child be safe and able to attend these parties rahter than worrying whether I'm going to offend (and I've always had huge support from parents).
post #19 of 123
My kids have allergies so I do bring my own food to parties. But I always clear it with the parent first.
post #20 of 123
Originally Posted by philomom View Post
Pre-feed your daughter, so she won't be hungry and offer her whatever you think is okay at the party.
this. my kids never ate much at parties because they are so over excited.

Originally Posted by mtiger View Post
It's not rude, per se, but the polite thing to do is mention to the hosts that your child seems to have some sensitivity/allergy issues so while you're trying to isolate the cause(s), you're trying to provide your own food.
also a great option if having even one nibble is a big deal.

I personally find it annoying when people say they have allergies that they don't have. If you are going to take your own food, just be honest and polite about it. Don't lie to your friends -- it's tacky and annoying.

You also might want to check at the places the parties are being held and find out the rules for bringing in outside food. This may not *just* be about manners.
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