My oldest daughter has taught me that we sometimes don't give kids enough credit as they deserve when it comes to protecting themselves from any food allergies, sensitivities, or intolerance.
My kids are only 5-7, and although our family is familiar with eating gluten free, not eating dairy, onions garlic and a whole lot of other foods and ingredients has been tough.
Our house has become quite complicated lately. My wife Amanda is the person with Celiac in our house and is the reason why I started gluten free Edmonton.
At age 2, my daughter was presented with food allergy symptoms and is not allergic to nuts.
I have been battling bloating and am now working with a dietitian to follow an elimination diet (FODMAP), to determine where my intolerance are. I won't go into detail about FODMAP, but to get the gist of it, you eliminate gluten, and other high fructose, items like garlic, onions, creams, lactose, apples etc for 2 to 8 weeks. Then you introduce one item back a day determining what your body can tolerate and what it can't. It is a long process.
But just like any change, I have my support system. Amanda and our kids. When Amanda is not already, my kids have been amazing at helping me with this transition. Even eating out, making sure I order something with no dairy, no ketchup (it has garlic etc.). They have been great.
My daughter also handles her nut allergy quite maturely well for a 7 year old. Especially at birthday parties where you think disappointment will come in around cakes and treats. But usually when we pick her up, she tells us that she skipped the cake because she wasn't sure if it was nut free, and just eats more of some of the snacks that were available. She knows she doesn't want to harm herself.
Also we hear all the time from her friends parents that if they had peanut butter in the morning, that they demand that they have to go and wash their mouth and hands before they go to school to not hurt their friend.
Some people may look at these intolerance as inconvenient, but others, like these kids, don't. I think they take it more seriously than some adults.
Simply put, they don't want to hurt their friend.
Lets give our kids, other kids some credit and confident that they can make the right choices to eat safely with a Celiac Diagnosis, a nut allergy, a dairy intolerance and whatever. These kids are going to be off on their own eventually, so it probably couldn't hurt for them to start to make the right choices and learn how to ask the right questions early on in the journey.