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Engineer61

Picky Eaters and Restrictive Diets

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Basementdweller, um, well, no good answer here. I personally think this belongs on the SM side, but am also not one to believe everything has to be divided into strict sides. SM is annoyed at the problem (problem = scouts and parents complaining), says the SM side is very overworked, and can't deal with it. SM's attitude is that he doesn't think regular diet kids should have to eat special diet foods at all unless they want to. I'm heading up the sub-committee, asked for ASM's, and none have responded. So, bigger issues that may throttle any attempt at improvements.

 

Operationally, there is one ASM assigned to mentor each patrol so MY personal bias is that it belongs there, i.e. mentoring the patrols around meal planning and cooking and working together. The only policy that may be needed is something that gets the ASM's all on the same page with how to handle this and gives them some support, i.e. something that says this is how we handle it in our troop. ASM's are probably where the education is needed re the variety of special diet options/meals/menus. I came here to challenge my personal bias before setting out on the task. All of the responses have been helpful and given me "food" for thought. :-)

 

At least three of the special diet boys are on the PLC right now, so seeking information from them at a meeting re how this is going for them and what they feel they need is a great idea. Ideally, that would again come from SM side, but the SM wants it to come from the committee side, likely because it involves a "policy". Don't know if SM feels he needs a policy to get the ASMs on board or if they'll dismiss it as irrelevant because it came from committee. Remains to be seen.

 

Lisabob, agreed. Balance is good. Working together and respecting others is very good.

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Tampa Turtle, great idea for the individual bringing his food to have/present a meal plan. Agree with the potential for increased junk food. Also have seen that the scout bringing his own food doesn't eat as "well" as the others because cooking gear/time may be limited. He's preparing his own and may opt for the quick and easy way - have seen some of our vegetarian scouts do this. Live on trail mix for the weekend. Gluten free kids also have brought quick thing. That doesn't give the other scouts good examples of eating well as a vegetarian and so no learning occurs as has happened in your case. Also doesn't advance the cooking skills of the individual scout.

 

 

 

 

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The scouts are where the answer lies.

 

I will bet if left alone the problem will take care of itself. The Patrol involved will either figure a solution out or ignore it.

 

 

Wondering out loud here.

Are the boys/parents with the problem are using it as a control issues??????

 

Do the boys involved want to be in scouting?????? could be their excuse to get out

 

Does the Patrol want him or them as members?????

 

How new are the boys to the troop?????? I would never change troop culture for one or two new boys.

 

 

We have a scout who doesn't like tomato.......The patrol knows it. They still cook spaghetti or make pizzas......But they scoupe his out first and add butter to it or get a crust and cheese and make pizza with out sauce.

 

The boys know it and CHOOSE to accommodate him. There was ZERO adult intervention.

 

 

Scouting is great till the adults get involved.

 

My advise is to back off and let the scouts figure it out......That is what my advise to the committee and concerned parents would be.

 

 

We also had a boy whose mom claimed a bunch of allergies, After we returned from a camping trip he was telling her about all of the excellent food he ate.....mom's face turned crimson and she was pissed......every meal had something he was "allergic" too.

Turns out he was not allergic at all.

 

 

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My oldest will gag and have cheese alergies to a storebought frozen pizza or a homemade one. Pay more $ at a restaurant or take out and no problem. It's a miracle!

 

He once proclaimed the pizza he ate at a bowling alley was the "correct kind". I saw them carry out the boxes--same brand as at home...

 

If a boy has a real legitimate medical issue with food scouts is a good opportunity for him to start managing and advocating for his condition on his own.

 

 

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Basementdweller,to answer your wondering out loud, 9 out of 40 boys have special diets. Makes us special. We have four patrols (age grouped), so each of them has two special diet kids at least and not necessarily the same special diet. There is probably one scout that is a parent issue - claims boy has various sensitivities, but boy wants regular food and eats it if parents aren't supervising. One scout is new to the troop, but his milk protein allergy is Dr. verified. The other 8 have been in the troop for several years.

 

None of the regular diet boys really want to have to deal with the special diet needs because it is "more". Got to respect that it really is work for them. Can't say that the special diet kids have any better insight or plan for dealing with this. That's where the demonstration of good things to eat despite a special diet might be very helpful and adults can assist with this. Was also why I pondered the value of pulling the gluten free (or vegetarian) kids out just for the purpose of cooking. Takes away from that part of the patrol method, but has some positive benefits.

 

 

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Hey hopalong, might want to check out Quinoa, too. It is a grain, but not wheat. The people with gluten issues who I know can eat it, and I've been told it is the only grain that also includes protein in it (so good for vegetarians, too). Plus, it is tasty but not an intrusive flavor - a little bit nutty flavored - and can be used in the same way that rice or smaller pastas might be used, for example in casserole or one-pot dishes (not so sure it would be great with spaghetti sauce). It is a bit more expensive than other grains but in some markets it is beginning to be available in bulk which tends to be cheaper.

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Two important insights we're overlooking:

 

1. Hopalong adds, "Can't say that the special diet kids have any better insight or plan for dealing with this." So they exepct the OTHER boys and/or the troop to figure out how to accommodate their diet? If the boys who live with these restrictions don't have any better insight as to what to do, how can you expect the boys who know little or nothing about these diets and see them as an imposition to come up with positive solutions.

 

I really think -- and I'm loathe to say this -- you're asking a whole lot of the boys to accommodate all these different restrictions. There are simply too many variables and demands being placed on them. Do you at least have the vegan boys in the same patrol? Dang few boys -- and not a lot of adults -- even follow simple recipies, much less have the ability to modify one to meet special dietary requirements. I'd say most menus selected because of they are simple recipies resulting in decent meals. Bacon and eggs, pancakes, grilled cheese, pasta, hamburgers -- all campout standbys with few ingredients. Occasionally one boy will have a personal recipe for chili or spaghetti sauce, but other than that, we rarely see complicated dishes. .

 

We have some really good camp cooks in our troop, but it has take YEARS to develop and we actually put a fair bit of focus on cooking. It really comes down to experience. And if you think about how patrols operate, any one Scout may serve as grubmaster once or twice year. If that's the only time he cooks vegetarian or gluten free, he doesn't have much chance of becoming comfortable with it.

 

2. "SM is annoyed at the problem (problem = scouts and parents complaining), says the SM side is very overworked, and can't deal with it.

 

So you have an overloaded, at best frazzled/at worst burned-out Scoutmaster who is being pressured by parents to deal with a problem which -- in half the cases -- have been created by choices the parents have made.

 

How many of the special needs Scouts have parents serving as trained, contributing ASMs? (Tagging along as a helicopter parent DOES NOT qualify!)

 

Here's the real solution: A good number of these parents need to volunteer as ASM, GET FULLY TRAINED and start attending campouts. I would NOT ask one of these parents to get involved directly in this issue -- too much temptation for adult meddling -- but rather they should take the load off other leaders so the experienced Scout leaders can help the boys find a solution. I'd ask my most dedicated patrol method advocate to take on the task -- Kudu or B-P, you available?. You have plenty of folks advocating for their little niche, you need someone in the mix who understands the program and is there to ensure the solutions are in line with the Boy Scout methods.

 

All the stuff being posted here and on the other thread with all the recipies is great, but should come in to play about four steps down the road. The first step is to get troop leadership in place which is committed to the patrol method and to training the BOYS to solve this.

 

 

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Two important insights we're overlooking:

 

1. Hopalong adds, "Can't say that the special diet kids have any better insight or plan for dealing with this." So they exepct the OTHER boys and/or the troop to figure out how to accommodate their diet? If the boys who live with these restrictions don't have any better insight as to what to do, how can you expect the boys who know little or nothing about these diets and see them as an imposition to come up with positive solutions.

 

I really think -- and I'm loathe to say this -- you're asking a whole lot of the boys to accommodate all these different restrictions. There are simply too many variables and demands being placed on them. Do you at least have the vegan boys in the same patrol? Dang few boys -- and not a lot of adults -- even follow simple recipies, much less have the ability to modify one to meet special dietary requirements. I'd say most menus selected because of they are simple recipies resulting in decent meals. Bacon and eggs, pancakes, grilled cheese, pasta, hamburgers -- all campout standbys with few ingredients. Occasionally one boy will have a personal recipe for chili or spaghetti sauce, but other than that, we rarely see complicated dishes. .

 

We have some really good camp cooks in our troop, but it has take YEARS to develop and we actually put a fair bit of focus on cooking. It really comes down to experience. And if you think about how patrols operate, any one Scout may serve as grubmaster once or twice year. If that's the only time he cooks vegetarian or gluten free, he doesn't have much chance of becoming comfortable with it.

 

2. "SM is annoyed at the problem (problem = scouts and parents complaining), says the SM side is very overworked, and can't deal with it.

 

So you have an overloaded, at best frazzled/at worst burned-out Scoutmaster who is being pressured by parents to deal with a problem which -- in half the cases -- have been created by choices the parents have made.

 

How many of the special needs Scouts have parents serving as trained, contributing ASMs? (Tagging along as a helicopter parent DOES NOT qualify!)

 

Here's the real solution: A good number of these parents need to volunteer as ASM, GET FULLY TRAINED and start attending campouts. I would NOT ask one of these parents to get involved directly in this issue -- too much temptation for adult meddling -- but rather they should take the load off other leaders so the experienced Scout leaders can help the boys find a solution. I'd ask my most dedicated patrol method advocate to take on the task -- Kudu or B-P, you available?. You have plenty of folks advocating for their little niche, you need someone in the mix who understands the program and is there to ensure the solutions are in line with the Boy Scout methods.

 

All the stuff being posted here and on the other thread with all the recipies is great, but should come in to play about four steps down the road. The first step is to get troop leadership in place which is committed to the patrol method and to training the BOYS to solve this.

 

 

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Of course it is more....more prep work.....Can't just boil hot dogs and chips for lunch or cold cut sandwiches......Probably cost more.

 

 

Is it fair or proper to force the Patrol to incur more expense on a camp out because one scout cannot or will not eat, insert, meat, gluten, bread, tomato, peanuts, ????????

 

 

I don't have much patience for this sort of nonsense.

 

My daughters school ban peanut butter for lunch because one kid had a severe peanut allergy....500 kids could not eat peanut butter sandwiches because of on kid....It was to the point they had a cafeteria employee inspect all the sack lunches for peanut butter.....I called as did 50 other parents about this, ridicoulous to impact 500 kids for 1. Now that kid eats lunch in the school office, they don't inspect lunch and all is as it should be. Plus it saved the cost of one part time cafeteria employee to inspect the lunches.

 

This is what this troop is doing, I would move all the "FOOD PROBLEMS" into on patrol and let the other Patrols be normal boys. they can have burgers and fries if they want too and bacon and eggs for breakfast. The other boys can eat veggie dogs and gluten free pancakes with sugar free maple syrup.

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Basement,

 

I beg to differ and I understand the frustration BUT

 

IMHO a benefit of the Patrol system is to get boys of differing backgrounds and abilities, fat kids and skinny kids, lazy kids and energenic kids, jews and goys, whites and blacks, etc, etc to work out reasonable accommodation. (I would agree on the over banning of peanuts--we have seen that) I think segregating into a separate patrol would not be the first choice.

 

When we do the Sausage and Eggs Dutch Oven Breakfast the serious kosher kid brings his own, the casual Kosher kid eats around the sausage. Sometimes we have used Turkey bacon. Sometimes we go Vegetarian. And a lot of times boys eat things that are far from their first choice. This is all part of growing up.

 

A place to start is to have the boys start out with a table of what they CAN eat. As a diabetic I am constantly working with my wife on what I CAN eat--she concentrates on just the foods I should avoid. And a lot of times I can eat part of what she makes and make the rest myself.

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Twocubdad, just meant to say that the special diet kids have no better idea of how best to resolve this than the regular diet kids. Take any one of them and ask them to accommodate the different diet needs of the patrol and the "deer in the headlight" look shows up. Just saying they are all on equal footing with their skill set to resolve this. I think they can do it, just need to know they need to and that there is guidance/support available for how to work it out. Very easy to resort to a majority rule approach rather than cooperative, and that results in potato chip sandwiches. As you said, it is asking a lot of the boys. I agree this would be best handled by our best patrol method leader, but he has not yet been willing to take it on.

 

Basementdweller, that is what the SM wanted to do, but has realized that with all of them in one patrol they would be all able to eat fruit, vegetables, and rice. Not sure it is right for everyone to share the extra expense burden of a special ingredient, but also not right the other way for the scout who can't eat the menu to bring his own and pay for what the others are eating.

 

Tampa Turtle, I'm hoping that with a bit of encouragement and support, the boys will see they can work this out. Even if they can't fully resolve it, perhaps improve the situation.

 

I asked our SPL if I could have a few minutes on their PLC agenda next meeting to gather some information about what this issue looks like to them. Is it an issue? The SPL is a vegetarian and on the PLC we have at least 1 gluten free boy, perhaps 2. Hopefully will be able to get a snapshot of the issue from them.

 

 

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I would not expect them to bear the food cost of others.

 

 

I also think you need to but out and let the boys figure it out. You are out of line addressing the PLC, it is the PLC, not the PLC plus interested adults.

 

 

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Yah, interestin' discussion.

 

I think there are quite naturally real concerns for da medically verified nut allergies, and dependin' on severity yeh might want to create a no-nuts patrol. :)

 

I also think a mixed-age patrol that puts the meataphobes together is a reasonable choice, as it allows 'em to develop da specialty cooking and planning skills required, and the older boys provide mentoring for the younger fellows.

 

I think it would be very difficult to impossible to accommodate a variety of special needs diets in an ordinary patrol and simultaneously maintain patrol cohesiveness, avoid personal "cold" meals, and not generate resentment by making the majority eat grass all the time. I've seen adults try and fail to accomplish this, so expecting kids to might be a bit much.

 

Workin' with boys, I've also noticed that vegetarian meals often seem to take longer to prepare (longer cooking times, more knife work), which is an additional burden. Veggie meals also rely on spices and textures that are often outside da palates of other lads.

 

As an aside, I think scouters also have to be alert to the child abuse and neglect issues in a vegetarian low-protein diet for growing children, especially adolescents. Providin' adequate nutrition for young folks with this sort of diet is a challenge for those who don't have good dietician-like training. I've seen it rise to the level of mandatory-reportable neglect on several occasions.

 

Beavah

 

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My son is allergic to nuts. ANY nuts.

 

Luckily, he doesn't pass out or have breathing trouble...he just vomits and then turns red in embarassment and in less that 2 minutes - is completely fine>

 

Now, I do not expect his future patrol to ban nuts just because he is allergic to them>

 

I eat nuts and peanutbutter as well as my wife> Matter of fact, I don't have to worry about sharing my Reeses cups with my son! :)

 

But step back and look at the bigger picture for a minute: Why are our sons in scouting? What is the outcome we expect from this?

 

More mature, smarter, wiser, better able to take care of themselves and show that are responsible?

 

Unless one is alergic to nuts...then we ban them?

 

WHY? Because we do not expect our child to be responcible to find out what he is eating or what the ingredients are?

 

Unless we plan on having every place that ever serves food to ban peanuts...then all we are doing is setting that kid up for failure>

 

No, I do not suggest a patrol could plan peanut omletts for breakfast with pecan waffles with almond syrup, and PB&J for lunch and then cashew crusted salmon with pecan pie for supper - and tell the allergy scout tough luck.

 

But what I am saying is during the planning process, the patrol can say: "Hey look, we all want "X" dish which has peanuts in it for lunch, what can get for you that is reasonable in cost and preperation?

 

And the allergy scout should prepare his own meal in that case.

 

This way, the roop has compromised in accomidating special meal scout, and the special meal scout hasn't hijacked an entire patrol or troops meals to suit his own needs.

 

Wah Lah! They are working together, they are being responcible, they are also being courteous to each other>

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Scoutfish

 

The boys are reasonable and will accommodate a scout who doesn't like or is allergic to some foods. They forget sometimes but the boys care about each other, honestly. our patrols truely are a band of brothers.

 

My experience with the boys and camp menus, they know what they like and they will eat it every camp out if not monitored.

 

There is much much more to hopalong's story, I guarantee it. I am going to bet there is a history of an ASM or parent dictating menus and the boys have had enough.

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