Tips for happy, healthy gluten-free kids

By easyFood

17 April 2018

Cooking for children on gluten-free diets requires special planning and care to ensure that they are getting all the nutrients they need to grow and thrive.

Research shows that children with coeliac disease are at higher risk for nutritional deficiencies, meaning that a variety of nutritious foods is even more crucial to ensure healthy growth and development.

Plan ahead

Explain to your child which foods are safe for them to eat and which contain gluten. Help your child write their favourite gluten-free foods in a notebook or a folder, dividing it into sections for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. This will help your child understand what is safe to eat.

What kids really like

Children want to eat what other kids are eating, whether they’re around the family table, at school or at parties. Kid-friendly recipes for gluten-free pasta, pizza, biscuits, muffins, cakes and breads that look “normal” will always be popular and won’t make them feel different to their friends.

“Children want to eat what other kids are eating”

Get kids cooking

Get your kids involved in preparing gluten-free foods and they will learn all about gluten-free ingredients and how to use them. This is an important life skill for all kids, not just those who are gluten intolerant. Start with easy and appealing foods to get them excited about being in the kitchen, such as recipes for biscuits or pancakes.

Outside the home

One of the most worrying issues for parents of gluten-free kids is the potential for exposure to gluten when they’re outside the home, whether at sleepovers, birthday parties or sporting events.

Tell family, friends, teachers, coaches, babysitters and any other relevant adults exactly what your child cannot eat. Write up lists of safe and unsafe foods and give this information to every person responsible for your child, stressing the health risks associated with accidental exposure to gluten.

Send healthy, safe school lunches and snack foods with your child whenever s/he is going to be away from home.

Stay positive

It is important to show children that gluten-free foods can taste great and look normal, and that they can still eat their favourite foods. With enough forward planning and communication, gluten-free kids need never find their diet restrictive and will get all the nutrients their growing bodies require.