Friday, February 20, 2015

My G-Free Party Ideas

Can you believe it’s almost March already? That means my birthday is coming up, and I discovered something cool the other day: Did you know the holiday period is the “off season” for birthday popularity? I didn't, but apparently as the calendar turns to spring, summer and then early fall, more and more people have birthdays, culminating with the most popular birthday of all: September 16.

That means we’re all likely to have our share of gifts to give and parties to attend as 2015 rolls along – a lot of them probably for kids. But, what about those youngsters we know who are gluten free? Picking a birthday gift or throwing a party that’s appropriate for them can be tough!

But, fear not. Turns out there are a bunch of resources out there to help us all handle kiddos’ gluten-free birthdays with grace and ease. For starters, what good is a birthday party without a cake?! There are plenty of gluten-free cake recipes out there to help us clear that first, crucial hurdle – and lots of ways to whip up gluten-free frosting, too. If you are going for easy, Betty Crocker makes a variety of gluten-free cake mixes, perfect for all kinds of birthday snacks. If you are going for EASIER (my preferred route), find a bakery near you that sells gluten-free treats. Here in Chicagoland, my go-to is Sweet Ali’s Gluten Free Bakery – their delicious cakes and cookies make a sweet addition to any party!

Have you ever been to a child’s birthday party that didn't involve pizza in some way? I can’t remember many. A good way to fill kids’ bellies and get them involved with the g-free lifestyle is to have a gluten-free pizza-making station at your party – and you’ll thank yourself for making that decision later, when your hands are free to tend to other things while the group prepares its own meal!

If food still looms as too large a barrier to a smooth, fun party, I've had good luck focusing on themes and goodie bags, instead of edibles. Cool decorations and fun favors can go a long way in replacing yummy treats that may be hard to make, or not suit everyone.

These ideas just barely scratch the surface of all the ways we can celebrate birthdays, the gluten-free way. Let’s get prepared to wow our birthday boys and girls with party experience they’ll really enjoy!

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