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Helping your child be gluten free

Updated on November 8, 2012

Children with special dietary needs, such as eating a gluten free diet can be difficult to carry out on a day to day basis. All of us understand the peer pressure placed on children as they grow up having to be different than their friends who enjoy certain meals that they cannot eat. Everyone remembers their childhood and the difficulties temptation can place on our decisions, which is why empowering your child with information helps to protect them when you are not around to check on their diet. A child that understands what faces them is a child that is more capable of dealing with their situation.

While understanding this issue is one matter, making sure that your child stays gluten free on a daily basis is very important to their overall health. A child who is healthier and feels better is more active and has fewer distractions from their educational needs. Presented here are a few solid tips on how to help keep your child gluten free so that they can grow up happier, healthier and looking forward to what life has to offer them.

Children suffering from celiac disease have a rather tough time. While the condition itself is not painful, given that proper treatment is administered, having to deal with a restricted diet can be frustrating and annoying. Even those who are old enough to understand the reason why they cannot eat the same things their friends do will have a difficult time keeping track of all the requisites of a diet free from gluten. Parents can help make things a little bit easier by following a few simple guidelines.

Sticking to a gluten-free diet is challenging at any age. It's a good thing though that a lot of the healthy food items that people are encouraged to eat more of, like fruits and vegetables, do not contain the offending protein. For breakfast, for instance, doing away with wheat-based grains should be easy enough, although you have to be on the lookout for cross-contamination. If your child whips up his own breakfast, help guide them through the things that they can and cannot eat until they pick up the habit and automatically avoid food with gluten.

You can serve rice or oats for breakfast but you have to be mindful enough to check if what you're serving was processed using the same equipment that processes wheat-based cereals as well. There's usually a warning label on the box so look for that to be safe. There will also be other cereal options that have been specifically made to be gluten-free without affecting taste so look for those too.

For all other meals, you'll be glad to know that you can serve all kinds of fresh meat. Kids generally like hamburgers and chicken so knowing you can serve those without harm is a relief. You can also serve most canned meats so you can whip up something quickly for them to take to school. Just make sure you read the labels so you can spot any ingredients that may contain gluten since the protein is common in additives like thickeners.

Nearly all fruits and vegetables do not contain gluten so you can feed your child fruits and vegetables without much reservation. You just have to choose fresh over canned as much as possible because canned versions may contain the protein. Fresh is also synonymous to frozen in this case because nothing is added to the fruit or vegetable so they can be consumed with ease as well.

Kids like to snack all the time. While you may be tempted to take away snacks at home, the better alternative is to simply provide better snacking options for your child. You can do away with junk food but sticking to an all-fruit plan is not a good idea because eating just fruits can get boring after some time. Mix things up. You can rice cakes one day and popcorn the next. Jell-o is a favorite too but just make sure to keep the sugar in check. You can also offer chocolate treats every now and then but you still have to check the labels to be sure. Most chocolates will be ok for your child though.

Don't get too wrapped around screening food items for gluten that you forget about beverages. The good news here is that it is easier to find gluten-free drinks. Fruit juices are safe but watch out for too much sugar. Tea and coffee are ok if you have older kids but you still need to keep things in moderation.

There are a lot of food items out there so it shouldn't be a problem finding tasty and healthy options for your kids. Just be vigilant about reading labels (teach your kid too!) so you can avoid bad choices and your kid will be fine.

Any and all information contained herein is not intended to take the place of medical advice from a healthcare professional. This information is for educational and informational purposes only. Readers should always consult with a physician before taking any actions of any kind relating to their health. The author nor publisher will in no way be held responsible for any reader who fails to do so. Any action taken based on these contents is at the sole discretion and liability of the reader.

Keeping your child’s diet gluten free can help them in so many ways beyond their own health. By following the disciplined guideline that is laid out in this program, your child will develop good habits that will keep them eating healthy for the rest of their lives. This is not to say that they will always avoid temptation, but these events which happen from time to time should be accepted as part of growing up. A slip here and there serves as a reminder as to why their gluten-free diet is so important.

In summary, remember these following tips.

- All fruits and vegetables are good, none of them contain gluten.

- Pay special attention to breakfast cereals, especially wheat-based products.

- Don’t take away snacks. Simply replace junk food with good, healthy choices.

- Teach your child to read the labels and know what to look for, after all, they’ll be on their own one day and will have to do this themselves.

- Listen to your physician and follow their prescriptions and advice.

- Enjoy all gluten-free foods in moderation.

Gluten Free Childrens Book

Gluten Free Children's Book
Gluten Free Children's Book | Source

The last tip may be the most important. One of the worst medical issues in the US is obesity which comes in large part due to people eating too many calories. Even healthy food can become problematic if too much is consumed. Be sure to keep your child healthy by serving appropriate amounts and have them drink plenty of water which helps curb the craving for food and engage in healthy exercise which strengthens muscles, improves the heart and keeps them more active and healthy for their entire life.

It’s best to think of this journey as a day by day challenge. Slipping once in a while is to be expected, but the slips must be caught and corrected. By following this simple set of tips, you can keep your child healthy and teach them what to look and look out for when eating on their own.


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  • lloydl profile image

    lloydl 5 years ago from Colorado Springs, CO U.S.

    O.K. my book is available for free download 11/22/2012 - 11/25/2012.

  • lloydl profile image

    lloydl 5 years ago from Colorado Springs, CO U.S.

    I uploaded my book to Amazon about a week ago, but there's a few things I want to correct before I make it available for free, I will let you know when it's free.

  • RTalloni profile image

    RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

    A good practical look at helping children live gluten free. Looking forward to that book.

  • lloydl profile image

    lloydl 5 years ago from Colorado Springs, CO U.S.

    I'm very happy you found this Hub page helpful and like your daughter there is quite a lot of individuals who have some level of gluten intolerance.

    I'm in the process of completing a children's/recipe book with lots of colorful illustrations, it's about a little boy name Lucas; who found out that he as Celiac Disease after numerous tummy aches after meals.

    I'll provide you with a link so you can download it for free sometime in the middle or the end of October when it's completed.

  • LauraGSpeaks profile image

    LauraGSpeaks 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

    Very timely hub for me to read. We just put my daughter on a gluten free diet and I am searching for good tasting gluten free foods and learning how to substitute other ingredients in my baking. I am pleasantly surprised by how many gluten free items there are!