My family doesn’t frequent fast-food places. You won't find me pulling into the drive-thru to pick up a quick meal for my son Joseph, 7.
I’m not on a campaign against burger joints. I know plenty of people on special diets who have found safe options at fast-food joints. It’s just that I’ve never felt that it was a good choice for Joseph, who is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, milk, egg and soy.
Joseph never complains. He’s satisfied with his healthy diet of grilled or roasted meats, fresh vegetables and fruits, and homemade baked goodies. But he’s not immune to the pull of marketing campaigns that feature kids enjoying a Happy Meal and a prize. Every once in a while, he asks me to make him a safe version of some type of food he’s seen or heard about. So it was no surprise that he asked for chicken nuggets the other night--"just like McDonald's."
When the request for chicken nuggets came, I was so happy to find a few recipes for gluten-free chicken nuggets that even tout their resemblance to McDonald's nuggets: Living Without's Gluten-Free Party Nuggets at LivingWithout.com and Batter Fried Chicken Nuggets in the EZ GFCF blog. The nuggets have become a family favorite! I always make at least a double recipe so we can all enjoy them or I can freeze some to eat later. Homemade oven-baked French fries and steamed broccoli or some carrot sticks usually round out the meal.
Joseph wouldn't know if they taste like the kind of nuggets found in fast-food joints, but he knows he loves them. With this homemade “happy meal” regularly on our dinner menu, it matters even less when we drive by the drive-thru.