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SCD Recipes and Ideas for Your Child's Birthday Cake, Halloween, Easter, and Christmas

Updated on October 9, 2011

If your child is following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) or has other dietary restrictions, then you know how difficult birthdays and holidays can be. These events emphasize food as part of their traditions, whether it be a sugary sweet birthday cake or bags full of Halloween candy, and children naturally expect and look forward to them. It can be heartbreaking for a child if you tell them they can't have a birthday cake or that they can't eat their Halloween candy. It also makes them feel left out and different from other children. I know that the first year of trick-or-treating for my child after starting the SCD was difficult. He didn't even want to go. Over the last couple of years, I've come up with some SCD recipes and traditions to help my child enjoy birthdays and holidays just as much as he did in the past. Included below are the ideas that have worked the best for us.


For my son's birthday, what's worked really well is to prepare one SCD compliant birthday cake and purchase or make a traditional birthday cake as well. The other children will most likely eat the traditional cake but I've had some try the SCD cake and most liked it too! My son then blows out the candles on the traditional cake but I serve him the SCD cake. The other children are understandably curious about the other cake. Rather than get into details about his diet, we just tell them that he has allergies. Allergies are so common that the other children don't question it any further and my son doesn't have to feel left out and different.

There's a great cake recipe on the SCD Recipes website (see the link above).  I have a couple of pointers on this recipe.  It calls for 1/2 pound of almond flour, which is equivalent to 2 cups.  Also, when I make this cake I don't use the lemon filling.  Instead I use the Honey Frosting recipe from the book "Breaking the Vicious Cycle," by Elaine Gottschall. It tastes like marshmallows and the kids love it!  I would recommend using two egg whites instead of one.  This makes enough frosting for a double layer round cake.  It's delicious.


My son loved Halloween before the SCD. After he started the diet though he started to ask me why he should even bother trick-or-treating if he can't eat the candy. I tried to encourage him by saying that he should focus on the fun of hanging out with friends and putting together a great costume but that wasn't enough to get him excited. I then tried the tactic of getting him a gift. When he finished trick-or-treating, he would hand over his candy bag and get a gift in return. This worked pretty well but still wasn't an overwhelming success.

The best thing I've done so far is to offer him money for each piece of candy he collects. It was difficult to decide on the value per piece of candy and when I initially told him it would be twenty-five cents he scoffed and couldn't believe how little money that was. But when I explained to him that if he collected one hundred pieces of candy he would get $25.00, he started to get excited. This was the closest thing to the jubilation of getting lots of candy to eat except he'd get cash instead. It really jazzed him up about getting out there to trick-or-treat and made the night fun. When other parents heard about what we were doing, they wanted to do the same thing with their children, just to keep them from eating all of that sugar. At the end of the night, my son "earned" about $20 for his efforts and had a great time!


Luckily, at Christmas time, kids on the SCD have gifts to distract them from all of the traditional cookies and candies they can't eat. That helps but I still try to make a few treats for my son so he doesn't feel left out when everyone else is stuffing themselves with gingerbread men. I always make his favorite SCD cake, the Lemoncake with the Honey Frosting mentioned above. I've also made the meringue cookies from the SCD Recipe website.  They're sweet and crunchy and allowed on the diet.  Even non-SCD guests enjoyed them.


The Easter Bunny traditionally brings a basket filled with chocolate bunnies and other candy treats, with a token toy in the mix. Instead of focusing on the candy, my son's Easter basket emphasizes the toys. I usually include a DVD/Movie as the center piece and then some smaller toys on the side. Or you could include a video game or stuffed animal as the main toy. Then, I add in sugar-free gum, which my son loves and chews a lot as a substitute for candy. There are so many new flavors out now that you can create a variety treat just with gum alone.

I think it's also important to emphasize the meaning of Easter and Christmas to focus attention away from the gifts and candy.  This should become the focus of the entire celebration, not just a voice over.  Then, children will learn that these holidays take place for a reason, not just as an excuse to receive gifts and eat sweets.

Make New Memories

I hope that these ideas will help you create new memories and traditions with your child on the SCD.  These kids are already going through so much that I feel it's important to try to do what I can to make it easier.  I know it's helped with my son.


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      Ellis 6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing such wonderful present ideas. I have friends and family on the SCD diet. In addition to making SCD compliant cakes, I plan on getting them gift baskets such as those from