Raising Gluten-Free Kids

by Maggie on July 23, 2010

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Raising Gluten-Free Kids from She Let Them Eat Cake.Com @MaggieSavage

Raising Gluten-Free Kids from She Let Them Eat Cake.Com & @MaggieSavage


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Raising gluten-free kids is a lot easier than you might think.

My husband was diagnosed with Celiac Disease six years ago, so we’re pretty used to living gluten-free. In fact, I’d say we’re almost pro. We’ve learned how to eat out, travel, and wade through the gluten-eous world we live in.

Our 3 year-old son Callum, was diagnosed with a gluten, egg, and dairy intolerance eight months ago. That changed life a lot, because now we had a child with a gluten intolerance. Although this wasn’t a big surprise (celiac disease and gluten intolerance are genetic), it was still a shock because we knew we’d have to make some major changes.

Our 1 and a-half–year-old daughter, Liv, has never had gluten. We decided early on to keep her off of it until she was at least two. And now that Callum has been diagnosed with gluten intolerance, it will be even longer before Liv tries gluten.

So we’re a gluten-free family. I eat gluten-free too.

We don’t want to risk gluten crumbs in the toaster, in the oven, or in the almond butter. It’s just not worth having the ever-present risk of accidental gluten ingestion, so we’ve eliminated it from our home.

It is so much easier for the whole family to be gluten-free rather than to have two of us eating gluten, and the other two gluten-free. Imagine the sorts of questions we’d encounter as our kids got older…

“Mommy, why can Livvie eat that cupcake but I can’t?”
“But Mommy, why are you allowed to eat those cookies?“
“Mommy, why do Livvie’s waffles look different than mine?”

It’s one less battle to fight, and everyone’s happy!

Here are 8 things we do to make life easier:

1. We’re teaching Callum and Liv the lingo. Callum already knows that he can’t have food with gluten, dairy, or eggs.

2. We talk a lot about using food as fuel. We want our kids to grow up knowing that their little bodies need lots of healthy fuel for energy and for growing. And we talk about how gluten, dairy, and eggs make our tummies feel.

3. We bring snacks wherever we go. I always leave the house with rice crackers, fruit or veggies, homemade snacks and water. It doesn’t matter where we’re going, I have a lunch bag with me.

4. We use the give and take model when it comes to treats. If we’re out at a café or the health food store, I don’t hesitate to let Callum get a special drink. It’s usually chocolate soy milk or a juice of some sort. There are enough things he’s not allowed to ingest when we’re out and about. I’m pretty lenient when it comes to this sort of thing.

5. We have a go-to cupcake recipe for birthday parties. I always bring a couple of cupcakes with me when we go to a birthday party. They freeze really well so all I need to do is thaw them, make some icing, and we’re ready. There’s a link to one of my recipes below if you need one!

6. We do a lot of baking. Make sure you get a good bread recipe and a good gluten-free all-purpose baking mix. Consider buying a quality mixer, like a KitchenAid . You will be able to make much healthier, whole foods at home.

7. We plan ahead when traveling. We always bring our own almond milk, bread, crackers, and snacks when we’re traveling. We also check online for gluten-free friendly restaurants.  Check out my post about traveling with gluten-free kids and dairy-free kids.

8. We always bring our own food when we go to someone else’s house. I even send bread when Callum goes out for breakfast with his Gramps. Most of our family and friends know about our allergies, but it’s still something we do. Nothing is easy when there’s a hungry child around!

Raising gluten-free kids is much easier than most people think. Instead of fretting over the food you or your child can’t eat, try considering all of the food you or your child CAN eat. Instead of worrying about how to handle all of the changes, try focusing on how much healthier you or your child will be.

And as a parent, I can’t recommend this book enough – Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child. It’s a great resource for raising healthy kids in today’s world.

Here are few more kid-friendly recipes you can find on my blog:

Chocolate Pudding Sandwiches
Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Quinoa Banana Muffins
Granola Bars
Quinoa Chocolate Chip Cookies
Bread: The Nutty Version
And if you have a cupcake lover in your house, check out Gluten-Free Cupcakes: 50 Irresistible Recipes Made with Almond and Coconut Flour by Elana Amsterdam.

Any tips you can share to make life easier for those of us who are raising allergic kiddies?