Growing up in the GTA, I have quite a diverse range of friends, who now have children of their own. I am fortunate enough that we get together often within these different circles of friends for playdates. Usually, these playdates are a potluck where everyone brings a snack to share. As many of you know, my family and I are Muslim, and we prefer to eat only halal. We are lucky enough in the GTA and Vancouver to have such cultural diversity that almost everyone knows what halal meat is. However, sometimes it can still be a bit tricky to navigate this in the context of a playdate (or any other social gathering) where there are shared meals and foods that might not be halal. How does one navigate this, while being respectful of those inviting you to their homes or when inviting others over?
My first approach to this is open communication. I often find that just saying what you can and cannot eat makes it easy for your host. You may not know it, but the other person or their child may have celiac disease and can’t have the wonderful halal chicken sandwiches you prepared when you invited them over. Or they may be lactose intolerant to the mayo, or have a nut allergy. Open communication with the parents about what you can and cannot eat is key. We are already dealing with MULTIPLE toddlers, we don’t need more havoc, am I right?
When hosting play dates, I always have a spread of mostly vegetarian options for both the kids and parents. These include cheese, veggies, some baked goodies, and this time I made these potato patties. When I have gone to play dates, I have simply communicated with the parents involved about our dietary restrictions, and then taken a snack or two that I know my daughter will eat in case there aren’t any halal options for her. 99.99% of the time there are halal options for us when we have communicated that to others. Bottom line – have open lines of communication.
Another important factor that comes into play in ‘living halal’ is alcohol. I have been to play dates where there is alcohol served, and I have again politely communicated our preferences. And that is A-OKAY. We are so fortunate to live in Canada, where people are open and accepting to all different faiths and practices, that saying no to something is just the new normal. By the same token, when I am hosting anyone for a play date (or even a birthday party), I explicitly state that we do not drink alcohol in our homes, and that is perfectly fine. Remember, communicate openly and respectfully. Living a halal lifestyle should not stop you from interacting with others who are of a different faith or background. Our differences should not separate us from each other, but rather be ways in which we open up the channels of communication and understanding.
And don’t forget to caffeinate yourself appropriately before these play dates 😉
I hope you found this post useful! Until next time, friends!