Valentine’s day fun for Grain-free Sugar-free kids (SCD, Paleo, GAPS)

Parents who use grain-free and sugar free diets to heal their children are on high alert before certain holidays. Valentine’s day can feel like a cultural assault for these families. Chocolate commercials, jars full of treats in many public places, and school classroom events centered around sweet treats. At SCD Families we have many ambitious parents who are determined to help their grain-free sugar-free kids feel included in the celebrations without compromising their diet.  

Here is what parents at SCD Families are worried about and how they find new ways to help kids celebrate without a sense of depravation and with plenty of joy:

My son has been depressed about the next two holidays. They are all about the sweets he cannot have.

She misses candy. She was SO upset on Valentine’s Day, I broke down and cried with her (I didn’t cry when she spent days in the hospital, but her heartbreak on this one broke me down) When she talked about the big bags of candy at school and how left out she felt. That was her first big candy holiday on the diet, and she loved candy. She told me she had a nightmare the other night about Easter.  So… I’m thinking it’s time to adjust my family traditions to represent the essence and spirit of holidays and find something equally fun/distracting/happy making as candy and those other illegals.

Of course we’ll be bringing treats to school, but I know it’s hard on her when everyone around her is eating things she can’t have. She’s only six and it doesn’t make her mad, she just gets really sad about being different.

Food centered class parties are a whole new thing to navigate. I’m hoping to persuade the teacher to let me make something for the whole class so she can share her treats. I know that would make it easier for her!

We left our (lovely, really) homeschool group early this week because they’d ordered pizza for lunch. I wasn’t going to make my intro stage 7 yr old sit through that.

My son’s teacher added a fresh fruit tray to the Christmas party spread this year. He ate that with his BTVC brownies and OJ that I packed. His classmates are totally supportive and don’t even question why he can’t have something.

For holidays and any unexpected celebrations they have at school, I give the teacher a bag of small nonfood rearwards she can go into whenever the needs arises. I also have a few legal cupcakes the school keeps in the freezer for her on celebration days.

My sons fave new treat. I melted some cocoa butter in the microwave, added peanut butter and honey to taste. Then I poured them in heart shaped candy molds and put them in the freezer. They taste like Reece’s peanut butter cups. Great for V day.

I poured some yogurt in a cheese cloth to drain for a few hours and then mixed it with cut strawberries, honey and vanilla then poured into the heart-shaped molds and froze for a few hours. I am trying to sneak more yogurt in and thought maybe this might be a more fun way to do it.

Sadly we are not yet at the ‘treat’ stage, still treating a flare. My son will get one heart shaped almond cookie, about the size of a quarter! And a small LEGO set. I told him at his school party, to just keep thinking about that we’ll be giving him a Lego and try to ignore all the candy/cookies. I hope we can keep his spirits up!

Valentine’s Day was tough for our son. He came home with a box full of candy and one lone pencil. I spent the two weeks leading up to the 14th putting hearts on my kids’ doors, with reasons I love them. That day, we have them books, and a few toys. After dinner, I gave them the special treat I had made, cacao butter peanut butter cups. You can combine old and new traditions, but it does take a bit more work!

My son has gotten used to not eating candy. He feels better on his diet and recognizes how much better he feels. Sometimes he will say he misses certain things but I just act nonchalant about it. I tell him he’s so much healthier now and he agrees. It takes time. I try to be strong and not show weakness about it, but it’s hard.

We used to keep a treasure chest at home (you can also keep one at school with the teacher) . My child could pick a treat when she needed one…dollar store trinkets, etc. They were so helpful in the beginning. It’s really hard though when they are surrounded by things they can’t have. Hang in there though…it does get easier. {{{Hugs}}}

My daughter is a teen now. She started the diet at age 5. Initially I tried to prepare for every possible scenario, but it wasn’t always possible. For public gatherings, like our neighborhood’s 4th of July parade (where candy is tossed to the kids) or Easter egg hunts, or school events, I decided to exchange candy/treats for coins. For example, a jelly bean would be a penny and a fun size candy bar would be 25 cents. It had a few benefits — she could enjoy the event without thinking she was missing out, she counted up the coins in her head to figure out how much she was going to make (sneaky math practice!) and she learned that candy was gone quickly (and was a temporary treat that would cause her to feel worse later), but she could save her money for something that would last a lot longer. It ended up me costing less time and money than if I had to make something comparable to take with me and she was thrilled with it. Now that she is older, we don’t do this anymore and she doesn’t seem to care, but when she was younger, it helped a lot!

My 4 yo treats each sugar holiday like Christmas. She has one little thing she’ll ask for then she trades her candy in for it. I usually spend 2-20 dollars depending on the holiday and what she wishes for… hard not to buy her an entire toy store 😘. Her brother can do the same if he wants but usually opts for candy. Then I’ve supplemented sweets on the day with either peanut butter fudge or liberated foods treats so she can eat with friends.

My kiddo is getting artichokes & a pink rose. And she will be thrilled. 💕

I have ordered a heart shaped pan from Amazon and will try to make a red cake in it.

Making Marilyn’s Chocolate Cake in heart shape mold. Also, making hot wheel valentines for my son’s classmates. He’s 3rd grade and still like toys. Also, instead of going out to dinner, I am planning a family yoga class and possibly go out to the movies that night.

My mom always made a heart shaped meatloaf for our Valentine’s Day dinners. I’ve carried on the tradition too. ❤️

I got my 9 yr old son a waffle cone maker and thought I would make strawberry ice cream. Also an itunes gift card.

We are doing 14 dollar bills rolled and shaped in a heart attached to cardboard. Taking food out of the equation. Trying to emphasize that holidays are about The company you keep not what you eat.

I have to confess, since we live in the boonies and my kiddos are homeschooled and don’t know about the glories of V-Day parties….we’re um….skipping Valentines Day….bad mommy? 🙂

Sooooooo over my son coming home from school sad about the way teachers reward with candy and sweet treats! Everyday it’s doughnut or ice cream party or a piece of candy for early turn in, etc.

Our district has a policy that excludes any “food” rewards or parties…even with it in place, it’s ignored every day.

My daughters teacher worked with us and many times had fruit that she would give to her or let her pick out of a prize box she had. I also brought in things that could be stored in the fridge for treats. Overall it worked pretty well BUT it is still ridiculous. Even though my younger kids do not battle this I don’t want them pumped full of junk! Let them play outside longer for a REAL treat!

My daughter’s request a good chicken pot pie for her valentines dinner. We used the Comfy Belly recipe.

Yogurt done, nut brittle done, nut clusters done, butter biscuits done, chocolate covered strawberries done (for valentine’s day), now to prepare dinner. OH MY ACHING BACK!  Baking days are painful!

Our class is having an ice cream party. I’m making mango and raspberry sorbet. For at home I’m making a carrot cake with yogurt cream frosting. I was trying to find a donut pan today but no luck. Oh well… I also picked up some beet powder and freeze dried raspberries and strawberries. I’ll add a little pizzaz with those!

I made a coconut cake the other day, but pressed it into a shallow pan, baked it longer than needed, then he used a cookie cutter to make shapes (preschool was rolling out and cutting sugar cookies). I’m thinking I’ll try that with heart shapes and homemade 7-min frosting for Valentine’s.

For my daughter with Crohn’s I bought Heart lights, pen with a poofy thing on top,and make up. For my son I bought a dart gun with a package of darts. No candy this year

Best advice:  

Make extra SCD treats in the weeks leading to Valentine’s day (favorite treats listed below)

Carry safe treats in purses, backpacks, classrooms and car rides.

Offer small toys or fun activities instead of SAD treats. The term SAD treats is helpful when talking with kids. (SAD stands for Standard American Diet. Kids may have an easier time avoiding treats labeled as SAD).

Try crafts instead of candy! Go to craft holiday events at your local craft store.


Recipes SCD parents often use for Valentines day

Treats to order online

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