A gluten-free diet is difficult for anyone, but especially children. Kids on a gluten-free diet must manage peer pressure and teasing, and have to deal with being different. Choose kid-friendly favorites to help your child, whether he's a preschooler or a teen, adjust to or maintain a gluten-free diet to treat celiac disease or manage food allergies.
Breakfast is surprisingly easy to make gluten-free. You'll find gluten-free cereals in regular grocery stores and health food stores. Flavored or sweetened cereals may appeal to kids, especially as they transition to a gluten-free diet. Gluten-free waffles, baking mixes and other breakfast staples are also widely available. Other favorites, including eggs and most homemade smoothie recipes, are naturally gluten-free.
Packing a gluten-free and kid-friendly lunch to send to school is a bit harder than managing breakfast at home. Gluten-free bread often crumbles and may not work well for packed sandwiches. Try skipping the sandwich altogether. Send a thermos with soup, tortilla chips and bean dip, or gluten-free crackers, lunch meat and cheese. Add fresh fruit and a gluten-free cookie as a treat, either homemade or purchased at the health food store.
A gluten-free diet makes many family favorites hard to manage. Spaghetti and other pasta dishes, burritos, and pizza will all require gluten-free adaptations. Experiment with gluten-free tortillas, pizza crusts, and pastas to find your favorites. You can also replace burritos with a bowl containing the fillings or top zucchini slices with pizza toppings. Tacos, traditional meat and potatoes meals, and many ethnic dishes are easy to make gluten-free.
Snacks and Sweets
Many fresh fruits and veggies make ideal gluten-free snacks, and they're good, healthy snacks for family members who aren't following a gluten-free diet. Serve these snacks with peanut butter for the fruit and creamy dressing for the veggies. While you'll always need to check ingredients and call the manufacturer to make sure foods are safe, many prepared snack foods are already gluten-free. You'll find potato chips, tortilla chips and nuts that are safe for your gluten-free kids. Ice cream, as long as it doesn't contain cookie or cake ingredients, and many types of candy, are also gluten-free. Allowing your kids some of these junk food treats can make a gluten-free diet a bit less of a burden.