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My 10 Tips and Tricks for Food Challenges

December 6, 2018

Food Challenges can be a challenge in more ways than one! When your little one is made to eat and it's imperative that it's done in the allotted time frame. It can be stressful on them and you, thus making the whole appointment nothing but a fight. I don't know about you but making my toddler eat, when he doesn't want to or eat something he doesn't like, leaves momma having to think on her feet and FAST!

At this point, we've become seasoned food challenge participants ::sigh:: My hubby and I learn something new after each appointment. Like the last food challenge, baked dairy. Cupcakes. You'd think a toddler would LOVE to eat cupcakes, he eats the vegan ones at home and it's a non-issue. He can't get enough of them. Put him in a doctors office with a cupcake and it's like WWIII. It's him against all of us and the 2 year old is clearly #winning. We were almost done with the eating part of the challenge, he had half a cupcake he needed to eat and he needed to eat it within the next 20 minutes, after spending 10 of those minutes fighting with him, I said we need to put this in something. He loves pouches, sucks them down without even thinking and then I had my light bulb moment. So, I made my husband run across the street to the CVS and buy pouches. I asked the nurse for scissors and paper tape, then waited with baited breath for my husbands arrival because if this didn't work the whole last 1.5 hours would've been a waste and we'd have to do this all over again, on another day. I did surgery on the pouch, inserted that half-cupcake-from-hell, used the paper tape to close the bottom and handed it to my strong willed child, hoping for the best. We literally had 5 minutes left, hubby and I were both sweating it. He took a taste of it, though about it, but he continued to eat it. SUCCESS! With a minute to spare! Phew. Mom pulled a fast one and it worked! His doctor and nurse were clearly impressed and asked if they could give other parents this idea. I was shocked that I was only parent who thought of this. I said sure! Food allergy parents have to help each other out.

So here is quick list of helpful hints to make food allergy challenges less of a challenge:

1- Pouches, Pouches and more Pouches: Take several different kinds of pouches that your child already likes to eat. You could even get these WeeSprout Reusable Pouches. I always take both. Just make sure that if you take regular pre-filled pouches, you bring scissors and tape with you.

2- Yogurt: Yogurt is another go-to snack that my son will eat without thinking. Perfect for hiding stuff in. Extra perfect, if there is fruit in the yogurt. That helps masks the textures of whatever you're trying to hide.

3- Ice Cream or in my case Coconut Ice cream: Ice cream in our household, is that extra special treat that my son always asks for but I often say no. Just so I can keep it 'extra special'. I haven't tried taking ice cream before and it's not for the faint of heart but I'm packing it on ice and will try it, if this mom needs to pull out all the stops.

4- Toys and lots of them! I will pack toys that he hasn't played with in awhile. A few of his favorite toys and books. The hours go extremely slow when you're in a small room.

5- iPad: He only gets to use the iPad on special occasions. A small room with paper thin walls, yes, he will be given the iPad. I think of others and their ears.

6- Pack your patience: Just like animals, toddlers can sense your energy. I'm good at keeping my cool in front of my child, my husband on the other hand, will have a full-on man-sized meltdown if things start going south. Plan for the worst, hope for the best.

7- Always take your EpiPens

8- Remember the diaper bag

9- Wipes and more wipes: Food allergy challenges can get messy, especially with a toddler or an infant.

10- DO NOT forget the food you're challenging!!!

I hope these helpful tips and tricks make your challenges, less of a challenge!! It takes a village and it takes a City to raise a food allergy kiddo.

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