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How to Get Your Toddler to Say Yes to Gluten Free

Celiac.com 04/27/2016 - Parents who want to give a gluten-free diet to their toddlers can face difficulties. It can be tricky when it comes to balancing the vitamins, minerals, and calories your child needs to thrive. Young kids who are used to other foods can become picky eaters as well. Parents have to look for foods which taste good, are healthy, and are interesting enough to overcome objections to the new diet.

Photo: pixabay.comIt's very important to consult with your child's doctor, nutritionists, available networks, and other experts, like Danna Korn, founder of R.O.C.K. (Raising Our Celiac Kids). Find people who have walked a similar path and can guide you to the best possible gluten-free diet for your children.

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Gluten-free food ideas for toddlers

  • Naturally mushy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables (ex. bananas, avocadoes, cooked sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes).
  • You can start the day by making a smoothie; using frozen fruits like oranges, strawberries, bananas, honey and gluten-free yogurt. Smoothies are a great place to hide needed supplements, and you can easily adjust the ingredients to suit the taste and nutritional needs of your toddlers.
  • Cream of rice can be another option for breakfast. You can add raisins, nuts, dried and frozen fruits and serve it with honey, fruit syrup, or brown sugar.
  • Making and eating apple sauce can be fun as well. Just cook peeled, cored apples in a sauce pan with some water and cook them until they are mushy. For extra sweetness, mash these apples, add brown sugar or drip some maple syrup before serving. You may even sprinkle some cinnamon or nutmeg for some nice flavor. Use other fruits like pears, apricots and peaches to make other sauces.
  • Eggs can be served in different forms. For example; scrambled, boiled, poached, deviled, fried, or even make egg salad.
  • Some of the vegetables can be added to the gluten-free menu as well. You can try making muffins using pumpkins or carrots. To give them a better form and shape, you can even use mini-muffin pans.
  • A home prepared macaroni and cheese can be very tasty and attractive to toddlers who consume dairy products. Make sure you're preparing it completely at home so it has controlled an amount of salt and other ingredients.
  • Consider sandwiches on gluten-free bread with fillings like egg salad, grilled cheese, or fresh lettuce. One of the most popular accompaniments of sandwiches is tomato soup: an easy side to whip up for dipping and sipping.
  • One of the all time favorites is rice pudding. If your toddler has a cow's milk allergy you can use rice milk or coconut milk.

The most important thing is to make sure that the diet you are giving to your toddler is safe, nutritionally appropriate, and uses ingredients that are easily available. Having the advice of your toddler's doctor and nutritionist is key.

It's not impossible and it does get easier with time. Like any life adjustment the beginning is the roughest. If you have an early diagnosis though, and you make it through the toddler years, you will be well on your way to making healthy, life-saving, choices for your child for years to come. 

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Celiac.com Celiac Disease & Gluten-Free Diet Forum - All Activity

I am very interested in this too. My daughter tested negative for celiac, but has terrible primarily neurological symptoms. Because she tested positive for SIBO at the time and was having some GI symptoms, I was told it was just a Fodmap issue. I knew better and we have been gluten free for 2 years. Fast forward to this February. She had a SIBO recurrence that I treated at home with diet and herbal antibiotics because I couldn't get the insurance referral. She was doing great. Then stupid me brought in gluten containing chick feed for the new baby chicks we got. Feed dust everywhere. Total mess. Really, no GI symptoms (she was SIBO free by then)...but the neurological symptoms! my daughter couldn't walk for three days. Burning down one leg, nerve pain in the foot. Also heaviness of limbs, headache and fatigue. Better after three days. But unfortunately she had a TINY gluten exposure at that three day mark and had another severe reaction: loss of balance, loss of feeling in her back and arms, couldn't see for a few seconds, and three days of hand numbness, fatigue, concentration problems. Well, I actually contacted Dr. Hadjivassilou by email and he confirmed that the symptoms are consistent with gluten ataxia but any testing would require a gluten challenge. Even with these exposures, antibodies would not be high enough. His suggestion was maintain vigilance gluten free. I just saw my daughter's GI at U of C and she really only recognizes celiac disease and neurological complications of that. But my impression is that gluten ataxia is another branch in the autoimmune side of things (with celiac and DH being the other two). At this point, I know a diagnosis is important. But I don't know how to get there. We homeschool right now so I can give her time to heal when she is accidentally glutened, I can keep my home safe for her (ugh, that I didn't think of the chicken feed!) But at some point, she is going to be in college, needing to take exams, and totally incapacitated because of an exposure. And doctors state side that are worth seeing? Who is looking at gluten ataxia in the US?

Caro..............monitoring only the TSH to gauge thyroid function is what endo's do who don' t do a good job of managing thyroid disease. They should do the full panel and check the actual thyroid hormone numbers.........T3 and T4. The importance of the TSH comes second to hormone levels. In order to track how severely the thyroid is under attack, you need to track antibody levels.......not the TSH. I did not stay with endocrinologists because I found they did not do a very good job and found much greater help and results with a functional medicine MD. You should not have a goiter if your thyroid is functioning well and your TSH is "normal". Maybe they should do a full panel? Going gluten free can have a profound affect for the better on thyroid function and that is something that is becoming more and more accepted today. Ask most people with Celiac and thyroid disease and they will tell you that. My thyroid never functioned well or was under control under after I discovered I had Celiac and went gluten free. It was the only way I got my antibody numbers back down close to normal and they were around 1200 when it was diagnosed with Celiac. I was diagnosed with Hashi's long before the Celiac diagnosis. I am not sure Vitamin D has anything to do with thyroid antibodies but who knows? Maybe it does have an affect for the better. It is really hard to get Vitmain D levels up, depending on where you live. Mine are going up, slowly, even after 12 years gluten-free but I live in the Northeast in the US and we don't have sun levels like they do in the South. I take 5,000 IU daily and that is a safe level to take, believe it or not. I get no sun on my job so the large dose it is! Having Celiac Disease should not stop you from being able to travel, especially S. America. I travel, although I do agree that some countries might be very difficult to be gluten free in. You can be a foodie and travel with Celiac so no worries on that front. You may not be able to sample from someone else's plate, unless they are eating gluten-free too but I have had awesome experiences with food when traveling so you can too!

I don't know what you drank or where.... so here are a few thoughts. - sure, a dive bar might have dirty glasses and serve a cocktail in a beer glass? But a nice reminder place, with a dishwasher, should be fine. If it's a sketchy place, Stick to wine, then it's served in wine glasses that aren't used for beer or bottled ciders in the bottle. - ciders on tap might, just a slight chance, have an issue. Because of beer on tap, mixed up lines, etc. - you may have a problem with alcohol - you may have issues with The high sugar content of the drink. I know I have similar issues if I drink serveral ciders of extra sugary brands - are you positive it was a gluten-free drink? Not this " redds Apple" pretending to be a cider - it's beer with apple flavor. Or one of those " gluten removed " beers?

Hi Stephanie, I'm also from the UK, I've found this site more helpful than anything we have! As already mentioned above, in my experience it could depend on what and where you were drinking. Gluten free food and drink isn't always (not usually) 100% gluten free as you may know, maybe you have become more sensitive to even a trace of gluten that is probably in gluten free food/drink. Is it possible you have a problem with corn, particularly high fructose corn syrup that is in a lot of alcoholic drinks? This was a big problem for me and the only alcoholic drinks I can tolerate are William Chase vodka and gin. I contacted the company last year and all their drinks are 100% gluten and corn free, made the old fashioned way with no additives, so maybe try their products if you like the occasional drink and see how you get on. If you drink out, not many pubs sell their products but I know Wetherspoons do and smaller wine bars may too. l was never a spirit drinker but I must say their products are absolutely lovely! Very easy on a compromised gut too considering it's alcohol. I second the suggestion on seeing a natural health practitioner. I've recently started seeing a medical herbalist, as I've got nowhere with my now many food intolerances since going gluten free last year and I've noticed a difference in my health already.

Sorry for the very late reply and thanks for the replies, I didn't get a notification of any. In case anyone else comes across this and has been wondering the same as I was, I did try a vegetable broth and I did react to it in the same way as if I'd eaten the vegetables. As for the candida, I've been using coconut oil and am seeing a medical herbalist for this and leaky gut. It's only been a few weeks but I've noticed an improvement all round.