Thanks to our recent holiday in NYC, my little picky eater gained a whopping three kilos!!! This in a mere six weeks.
We left Paris with the American pediatrician threatening nutrition shots if my three-year old little bub didn’t gain weight as he was off the charts tall, but a meager 13 kilos. He hardly put on any weight for months.
I can’t fault him for not wanting to eat given his multiple food allergies – some severe like wheat. We tote around a mini medicine cabinet, which includes an adrenaline pen to treat a potential life threatening anaphylactic reaction. According to his allergist, even inhalation of wheat flour in the air can trigger a reaction. Touch wood – my son has never suffered a major allergic reaction. He’s never consumed any wheat in his entire life, and we are hyper vigilant when he is around others eating wheat.
To detect symptoms of an allergic reaction in a child, check out FARE – Food Allergy Research & Education
For allergic children, there is a very real component of fear of eating. Whether mild or severe, an allergic reaction is not pleasant to experience. Who can blame an allergic child for being scared of eating? Why would one be excited to eat food if it could hurt him? There is also a component of disgust since some allergy-free foods are just not that tasty. Add these together and what allergic child wants to eat?
My little picky eater needs gluten free (GF) replacements, while his older brother is a total foodie, like his parents, and is free to savor French baguettes, chouquettes, you name it! While my son doesn’t know what he’s missing since he’s never savored these French treats, he does have taste buds and some GF foods are just not that great.
Meal times typically resulted with a pouty look, accompanied with a “beurk“as the French say; that’s “yucky” for the Americans. And, I don’t blame Paris… in a city where there are boulangeries and patisseries on every block leaving heavenly scents in the streets, who wants to make/eat gluten free?
Across the Atlantic though, we found a ton of delicious GF foods in NYC. All it took was one bite of an amazing GF breaded chicken tender to whet my son’s appetite and to slowly fade his allergy anxieties. He craved for his favorites and even asked for second helpings. My skinny tooth pick ate like a gourmand. He happily ate by himself without me begging him to eat. There were no toy or video incentives for him to eat. He simply looked at food, then at me and said, “Mmm yum!” It was a dream come true.
I was nervous to return home to Paris since I wasn’t sure he would keep his appetite without those new GF goodies (I even contemplated how to import frozen GF waffles!). Luckily, our trip to NYC awakened his appetite for good and he is happily welcoming his old favorites. And, most importantly, I see the fear of food in my son’s eyes disappearing. From his newfound love of food has grown a courage and curiosity to try new things, with caution of course!
Eating used to be like a chore. My little picky eater didn’t want to do it, but he had to. For the first time, eating is a pleasure!
Want to shop Gluten Free in Paris? Here are my favorite addresses:
25 avenue des Ternes, 75017 Paris.
(See website for store locations and online shopping)
Great selection of Schar and Gerblé breads, wafers, cookies, pasta, etc. My boys love all the Schar bread (even my older son without allergies loves Schar’s Ciabatta and Gerble’s Madeleines).
5 Rue Saussier-Leroy, 75017 Paris.
Nice variety of breads, pasta, cereal, tortillas, cakes and macarons, etc. This is my go to shop for cakes when we have play dates or other occasions. More specialty items found here.
11 rue Bayen, 75017 Paris.
(visit website for other locations and online shopping)
Good selection of breads, rice crackers, cookies, cereal and granola bars. (These are the only granola bars I have found in Paris so far. My son loves them. )
This is my favorite one-stop shop where I can order all of my household items and do bulky shopping, as well as stock up on all the allergy-free foods. Large variety of organic GF and some dairy free products. Under “Epicerie”, select “Sans Gluten”.
Lots of different brands to choose from for breads, pasta, rice crackers, cookies, soups, ready prepared meals, sandwich meat, dough, cake mix, cereal, ice cream, etc.