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Engineer61

Picky Eaters and Restrictive Diets

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Ask ... and ye shall received ...

 

In addition to the picky eaters issue, how do you handle dietary restrictions like ...

 

Vegan

 

Severe food allergies like peanuts, berries, fish or shellfish.

 

====

 

In my household, peanut products are very restricted, since my daughter is anaphylactic. She is old enough now that she can recognize even the traces of them and can safely dispose/clean-up as needed.

 

I have the same with all berries (except strawberries) and pitted fruits (peaches/plums/nectarines/etc).

 

In many cases it takes only small traces to trigger an anaphylactic reaction.

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This is a topic that I don't know a lot about, so I'll ask a question that's been bugging me for a while ... how does someone with these severe allergies walk into a restaurant and eat? For the most severe, what if someone at the table next to you is eating something with [insert allergy type here]? How do you control for your kid playing on the playground with another kid who just ate a PB&J sandwich and didn't wipe his hands very well?

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I do not have much experience with the restrictive diets. But one on of my co workers has recently developed reactions to foods she has eaten all her life, and the specialists have no clue why. She has to keep an epipen on her at all times, has a couple stashed around the office and her home, and instructed the non-clincial folks in the department on how to use one, and has left written (and possibly notarized)instructions that if she goes into shock, any of us can give her an injection and take her down the hall ASAP.

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My son is allergic to peanuts. If he eats peanut butter, he has the best of reations: He will get kinda quiet, and usually within one minute, throw up. Maybe throw up twice. Then then it's over with.

 

The worst thing he suffers from is mortal embarassment.

 

We are lucky in the fact that he recognizes if he eats a peanut laden food. His throat gets a "funny feeling" and his stomach gets alittle warm, Then his mouth waters and he knows what is next.

 

Now, I could throw peanuts at him, and all that will happen is he throws them back at me. I will inadvertantly start a peanut throwing war. But no reaction. I can eat a whole jar of peanut butter and breath all over him. The worst that will happen is a coment on my breath. No reaction.

 

We have a boy in our pack who will get red itchy spots in peanut shells touch him for more than a few seconds. He has a reaction just from reading the word peanut! :)

 

So my point is, it's different for everybody. My son can eat some things that are cooked in peanut oil, but not other things. I guess it depend on the quality and brand of peanut oil.

 

Of course, most Asian restaurants in my area cook with peanut oil because it is cheap. So no Chinese or Thai foods for him.

 

He can eat Cinnamin Toast Crunch trail bars even though they do list peanuts as an aingrediant, but cannot eat other products with a lower level of peanuts in it...so the process in which the peanuts are handled or cooked or procesed also makes a diference.

 

AS for picky eaters who are just pickey for the sake of being picky..... they will either get over that or learn to bring their own.

 

For allergies, we work with them as much as is reasonable expected: We will buy a bar or two of white chocolate for campfire smores. We will buy a loaf of special bread, we will usually offer two differt choices at mealtime anyways.

 

But if a scout can only eat grade A triple Gold rated fillet mingon at all meals - well mom or dad better go shopping. We will cook it, but we aren't paying for it.

 

If a scout or parent tells us the only eat X brand of hot dogs instead of Y brand, then we tell them to eat X brand or go hungry or buy their own.

 

Unless it's a kosher thing. If their religion requires kosher hot dogs, we buy them and have no problem doing so.

 

As a side note, if you never tried them before, Hebrew National hot dogs are Kosher hot dogs and they are AWESOME! They cost more, but man, they are good.

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Have you tried involving the picky eaters in the menu planning? If they have a say in the menu then they have no place to complain about the food (other than Mommy didn't cook it). They may not get everything they want to eat on the menu but they might get a few things to survive on. Even our pickiest eater, an Aspergers kid, ate camp food by day 3 of our 7 day summer camp. Sometimes hunger will just take over. Kids have to be really screwed up to starve themselves to death, and they won't starve to death on a weekend campout. Get crabby but not starve to death.

 

I have dealt with one vegan in my camping trips. She brought her own food. We couldn't come up with a menu that gave her enough food to live on and meet her vegan needs.

 

As for allergies we try our best. We have left the PB at home and only had jelly as an option. We have checked labels for trace levels of allergens (usually families know what brand is safe and we'll buy that brand of cookies/bread/margarine/etc) and do our best. We won't serve an allergen on purpose as a food (I'm allergic to corn, so no niblets corn for dinner, soft shell tacos instead of hard, etc). Jsut as important for the unit to be food sensitive, it is more important that the allergic person know about their allergy and reactions.

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There's a couple of different categories here:

 

First, you have just generally picky eaters. No medical or religious or any kind of reason for being a picky eater - they just don't like certain food. At a Boy Scout level, this is a perfect problem for the patrol to tackle themselves when planning their menu. Either they come up with meals everyone can enjoy, or they come up with separate meals.

 

Second, you have Scouts with legitimate dietary needs based on medical or religious reasons. The people needing gluten-free meals, vegetarian meals, mild to moderate food allergies, or religious restrictions. I'd say you handle this roughly the same way as the first category. The only difference might be, in the case of a brand new Scout, it may be appropriate for a parent to be involved in monitoring the menu selection process for the first couple camping trips.

 

The third category are the Scouts with the severe food allergies. I know that a favorite hypothetical is "what do we do with the Scout who will go into anaphylactic shock 50 milliseconds after passing within a mile of a peanut..." - the reality is, these cases are very very rare. If a Scout with this type of condition does join the troop, I would say it is appropriate, and necessary, to have a frank discussion with the parent on what the needs and expectations regarding food prep are. Often, even young people with such severe allergies are very aware of what they need to avoid, and are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves. So don't let fear and ignorance cause you to overreact - if the Scout's fine unless he actually EATS peanuts, there's no need to ban ALL peanut products from troop menus. If he's more sensitive, plan accordingly. Just get the facts on the table, and be sure that the necessary information is conveyed to his patrol, and key adult leaders. Oh, and make sure the Scout carries his EpiPen, if he needs one.

 

Overall, except in the most severe (and rare) cases, just let the boys work it out in their patrols. There's lessons to be learned in accommodating others' preferences, and lessons to be learned in setting your own preferences aside out of respect for the others in the patrol. Just let the patrol method work.

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It seems like it's possible to get past a peanut allergy by slowing building up to eating whole peanuts. I just read http://yourlife.usatoday.com/health/story/2011-11-30/Program-helps-girl-sneak-peanuts-past-her-allergy/51496028/1 "The first dose she received was the equivalent of 1/250,000th of a peanut..." "It takes a really, really dedicated, committed family that's really invested in this process," she said. "They have to come in every week for five to six months and they have to be extremely diligent at home, that they measure their doses carefully, that they get them at the right time, that they don't miss doses, that they don't exercise afterward."

Kirsten completed the program successfully Oct. 27 and received a diploma -- and a stash of candy from nurses that included Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers and other sweets she had never tried. A few days later, Kirsten went trick-or-treating and didn't have to throw away any candy.

Kirsten still takes twice-daily doses of peanuts, usually in the form of chocolate-flavored peanut butter or peanut M&Ms, to maintain her body's tolerance.

See also http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1150649/Children-peanut-allergies-cured-scientists-develop-way-build-tolerance.html from 2009 and http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/news/5013/exposure-could-protect-children-with-lethal-allergies from this year which agrees -- those who've slowly built up an immunological tolerance to peanuts basically have to keep eating peanuts daily to maintain their resistance to a peanut allergy.

 

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my son troop has a few with peanut allergies - we have pbj for boys that won't eat what else is there (just jelly for those allergic to the pb)

 

we haven't had to deal with any special diets except for the catholic's no meat on friday, but then that's just cracker barrel and they will eat the cheese and crackers and leave the meat alone.

 

we have had some picky eaters - my son was one of them... he didn't like eggs. so whenever his patrol would cook up some sort of scrambled eggs with meat they would call him over once the meat was cooked and he would eat just that rather than when the eggs were in the mix. but he's now learned to enjoy eggs. But now we have another scout that always liked eggs, but now he ends up vomiting when he eats them so he has gone the route my son use to use.

 

considering we encourage all patrols to cook following the daily recommended guidlines for meat, carbs, fruit, veggies... it would be a bit of adjusting if we had a vegetarian or a vegan... either it would be up to the patrols to learn to adapt or would be a prepare their own deal - and would probably leave that up to the patrols to figure out how they want to handle it.

 

when we have webelos and the parents visit on campouts we always have them eat with adult patrol - it's easier for us to track down their meal needs and come up with recipes for them. we also come up with meals where the webelos will get to help and see a couple of different cooking methods. the adults also have a knack of getting done with everything fast and first so they get to watch the other patrols cook their meals and are given tastes. so if a boy visits as a webelos we already know dietary needs before they join the troop which helps too.

 

but we preach that allow cooks ask the following... anyone allergic to anything? is there anything someone won't eat at all? this helps just in case someone has had a change in their eating habbits.

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1) Trip planning meeting is open to anyone... you got a special diet need / restriction... then show up and help plan the meals.

 

2) If its a true allergy - then the scout needs to carry and be responsible for their Epi-Pen. This is NOT a duty that can be delegated. Otherwise, Its like expecting someone else to put your seatbelt on you when you get in a car. Make sure at least THREE people on the trip (other than the allergic person) knows what an Epi-Pen is for, how to administer it, and lastly what to do AFTER you've had to use it.... The Epi saves the life immediately, the follow up care keeps them from dying later that day / night. If Epi is used - you go to the ER plain and simple.

 

3) Any other special restriction diet other than a true allergy, I have no time nor need to concern myself with. I don't get paid to help plan, do food buy, cook, etc... You have some special thing you either can't have or can't live without. FINE. Good for you. Bring your own food and cook along side everyone else. The idea you have to try to accomodate every whim is bunk and you'll drive yourself crazy trying.

 

I had a mom on a campout pitch a fit because we expected her to use the same campfire we had for her Kosher hotdogs. Its a gate over an open flame... HOW does that possibly contaminate the WHOLE grill? I told her I'd be happy to pull some coals off to the side and scrub the grill a little with steel wool to clean it off. Otherwise, she could cook her dogs in water on the campstove or on a stick over a campstove flame.

 

I'll try to accomodate as best as the situation allows, but I'm not going to loose sleep over it... too many other things to think about on a campout to dwell on one person's special cooking needs. They'll either adapt, step up and lead, or not come - their choice.

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Picky eaters?

There are some foods that I don't like or am very particular about.

I'm not keen on most nuts, I'm not allergic to them, I just don't like them. Same goes for peanut butter, Brussels sprouts, hard cooked eggs, calf brains and caraway seeds. During Lent I try not to eat meat on Fridays.

I try my best to avoid these foods and it's not a big deal.

I watched as Patrols make their menus for camp outs.

It's fun to watch democracy at work.

If my son eats eggs he is sick. He has known not to eat eggs and has avoided them. When he was young he did tend to want to wear his allergy as some kind of badge of honor, but that got old.

Most kids know what they can and can't eat and most don't make a big deal about it.

I've had kids who don't eat certain foods at home but will eat that food at camp.

Have had Scouts who due to their religion can't eat certain foods. While maybe not having certain meats as the main menu entre, they know not to eat some breakfast meats and just double up on the other items that are available.

Restrictive medical diets?

Can be be very difficult.

Best thing is to talk and work with the parent.

I sometimes have a big problem as a dietitian I sometimes know that the diet that their kid is on is the work of some stupid doctor who has no idea what he is talking about. But I remind myself that the kid isn't my kid.

Most times a standard menu that a Patrol has come up with can be made to work for most diets with just a few tweaks.

So far while I have had a few Scouts who were vegetarians, I've never had a Lad who was vegan.

For work I did an entire menu cycle that would have met the needs of vegan inmates. It was to be a pilot plan that the department was going to try, but got put on hold. It was done using our standard menu with tweaks that made it vegan friendly.

 

One thing that does get to me is the adults who are on restrictive diets that seem to think that while they are at camp that their diet can be put on hold.

These guys are playing with fire and are asking for trouble, which really isn't fair to the other people around them.

 

For the most part with Lads of Boy Scout age, the best thing to do is not make a fuss.

There is a wonderful life lesson in them learning to deal with what it is they have and might have to deal with for a very long time and there isn't always going to be someone catering to their every need.

Ea.

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Picky eaters are a rich peoples problem. Moms and dads drive thru the fast food joint and placate their kids with what they WANT to eat. Mom will cook separate dinners.

 

One of the benefits of boys from the hood is they will eat anything you put in front of them and left overs are rarely an issue.

 

 

Oddly enough none of the boys have any food allergies....ZERO. I wonder why that is?

 

 

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Sounds like something that the patrols need to do. I would hope by the time a Scout is 11, they would know their dietary restrictions, and be able to explain it to their patrol (in addition, the parent needs to explain situation to SM). An epi pen is also a necessity, if life threatening.

 

 

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Basement:

 

Small sample size is why your scouts from the hood don't have food allergies. My boys' troop doesn't have any boys with food allergies either, and they are all middle class kids. Have one extremely picky eater, but he is mildly autistic, and can eat anything as long as he has ketchup for it.

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Short asked:

 

"This is a topic that I don't know a lot about, so I'll ask a question that's been bugging me for a while ... how does someone with these severe allergies walk into a restaurant and eat? "

 

Actually, depending on the establishment and the allergy involved...you don't go in at all!

 

My daughter, for example, does not eat in Chinese restaurants if they use peanut oil or have peanut dishes on the menu.

 

I avoid the frozen yogurt places because of the number and types of fruit used. I'll go in with my family, but I won't order anything. I'm also very cautious at places that mix ice creams in front of you ... like Coldstone Creamery.

 

I had a co-worker years ago that when we traveled, he'd hand me his Epi-pen when we went to dinner. When the food was served, he would try one bite, then wait a few minutes before continuing. If he passed out, I was to hit him with the Epi-Pen, call 911 and get the second Epi-Pen ready. He was hyper-allergic to shellfish, so any shellfish on the menu was a danger....very few restaurants that DON't have shrimp on the menu somewhere.

 

 

"For the most severe, what if someone at the table next to you is eating something with [insert allergy type here]?

 

For those situations, you have to be observant enough to know the dangers....I always loved it when the school served fruit salad at lunch...I called it Death Salad and would sit an extra seat away.

 

"How do you control for your kid playing on the playground with another kid who just ate a PB&J sandwich and didn't wipe his hands very well?"

 

True "contact" allergies are somewhat rare, it usually requires ingestion...however, there was a kid in my daughters school who would wipe down her place at the table in the cafeteria before eating, and the lunchroom monitor would move to where she was. One day she did pass out because she didn't clean a big enough area...she collapsed before she opened her own lunch box.

 

===================

 

On a side note, there is some research in Britain that suggests that the increase in peanut aADD/ADHD may be linked to Soy intake in children. Soy-based infant formula became preferred over milk-based many years ago. I wonder if the peanut allergy is also linked.

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Thanks E61!

 

I guess I could have done--I was lazy. :(

 

Recently a Patrol was arguing over what to plan for lunch on a canoe trip. Sandwiches were decided --Ham and Cheese. One boy --a newbie who rarely came (and actually did go either) insisted "No cheese! It is one of the foods my parent never make me eat! Then the flood of special orders came in and it went back to Ham and Cheese. The boy was very unhappy; I reminded him that he could open the sandwich up, remove the offending piece, and resume eating.

 

We had one, well-coddled, patrol where the boys were in a circle on the ground planning the trip menu. Around them were 4 parents interjecting "Tommy doesn't like peanut butter, Billy only eats ruffled chips, etc..." We had to tell them to give them space.

 

We rarely have a boy who has a real food allergy issue or religious restriction but if so we accommodate it. In some cases we had a boy who was Diabetic and he brought his own food since he managed his diet in a very restrictive manner.

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