Team Snacks with Acid Reflux Disease
I started writing for HealthCentral when my son with acid reflux disease was two years old. Our challenges back then were related to sleeping through the night and making sure we were giving him the correct dosages of medication. Today, he is a thriving seven year old, and like many boys his age, plays on a soccer team. Our challenges now are the same as they were then, but with the added dimension of balancing our son's food restrictions with social acceptance.
In this SharePost, I'll tell you what did not work for us last year on the team, and what seems to be working this year.
Last year was our son's first year of organized sports. He played great and really enjoyed his new friends and learning the game of soccer. All of the parents on his team were asked to sign up to take their turn at after-game snacks. I did not speak up about Ben's food restrictions. I just picked a week and signed my name like everyone else, not wanting my son to be "different." But here is where the story gets tough. My son also has food allergies in addition to his reflux. After every game, all of the little soccer players would shake hands with the other team and then run full speed to the sidelines for their snack. Without fail, each week the parents provided not only unhealthy food choices, but the worst possible choice for a child with acid reflux disease. And so, there my husband I were, left either in the position of saying no to our son in front of everyone, or whisking him off the field before the snack was distributed like CIA operatives on maneuver. (Let's just say neither choice worked very well).
This year, I chose to be a bit more proactive. Before the season began, I called the President of the Board of Directors for the soccer league to ask him if would encourage the coaches to ask the soccer parents to provide healthy snacks. That didn't work. He told me that he would never tell the soccer parents what to do. That would only open a can of worms. (Sigh).
Not easily deterred, I then called our son's coach and explained the situation to her. She replied, "No problem, so what you are telling me is that you are going to be in charge of snack?" (I can do this).
So, I came to the first practice armed with a signup sheet that included not only a place to sign up, but also some healthy snack choices to choose from. I gathered the parents together and explained my son's food restrictions and how this might also be an opportunity to allow the children to associate exercising with healthy eating.
We're in week four of the season, and all is well. Our team is snacking on things like watermelon and bananas, our son is happy, and hopefully our community is just a little bit healthier.