This week at Daycare
I'm trying a little something, we'll see how things work out over time. I have been doing my best to replicate the meals and snacks that the other kids are eating at school so that my Little won't feel like she's missing out or outside of anything at her daycare.
We have been pretty lucky so far--our Little's daycare has been wonderfully supportive and co-operative with regard to our many food restrictions and concerns. The day cares around here provide meals and snacks for their Littles, and most parents just toss their kids out of the car door with no further thought of their food-safety. But we were differently lucky--so the daycare provided us with the alternative menus for the allergy and vegan babies and assured us that the food production facility (in our case a catering company) had food-safe practices in place to prevent or reduce cross-contamination. It seemed ok. I was prepared to try it out and see how things went.
Then I looked closer. I looked at the variety of foods that the other kids would be eating and realized that my little was going to be living on a diet of gluten-free pasta, tomato sauce, and meat. How can a foodie be expected to eat such a simplified diet? The other kids were getting gorgeous sounding meals that changed daily and weekly and I decided that my Little was going to enjoy her lunches just as much as her little friends.
So, this week, the kids are eating alphabet pasta with zesty tomato sauce, peas and carrots, and for snacks they're having things like nutragrain bars, gold fish crackers, yogurt cups, and banana bread. Our Little seems to be able to eat wheat after all--it's been a Ross/Rachel situation with the what but what it comes down to is that the wheat reactions seem to have been a result of cross-contamination rather than a wheat allergy. So we've been proceeding with caution, as our allergist suggested, and she seems to be ok. We're continuing to feed her a variety of gluten-free and wheat-free alternatives to maintain a nutritive complexity in her diet (there's a ton of nutrients in many of the alternative flours out there!) but from time to time, she'll be eating wheat.
So the alphabet noodles are easy--we tossed some in our coconut milk ricotta (fridge staple around this house) and sprinkled the hempseed parmesan. Not a bad alternative to her buddies' alphabet lunch! Obviously the peas and carrots are out, but we're sending lots of fruits and veggies that are safe for her, and aren't at risk of being contaminated. That's lunch for most of the week. She'll also be taking some leftover adobo chicken and rice for the days the kids are eating chicken and rice, and leftover sunbutter Dan Dan noodles with cucumber for the day the kids are having beef-a-roni (I know, so not the same but I figured the look would be close enough, and who doesn't love Dan Dan anyway?)
Snacks were more of a challenge. I started with some gorgeous coconut milk keffir cups for the days the kids are eating yogurt. Ours are made with coconut keffir, mixed with a tbsp of coconut cream, sitting on top of some fresh raspberries muddled with honey and drizzled with a teensy bit of Saskatoon berry syrup. We also made some hempseed and nutritional yeast "cheese" crackers which our little will be able to eat on their own or with a smear of vegan cheese, and raspberry coconut fig bars. Along with applesauce, quinoa crisps, and some corn chips that are pretty close to what her little buddies will be eating, I think we're ready to face the week.