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ryo

School Lunch Planning

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this will be our first year going to school with celiac (actually not done with the biopsy yet, it is on friday).  with everything happening so close to the start of kindergarten i am a little overwhelmed! i have spent hours on the forum and it has been so helpful.  thank you so much for all that you share!

 

so my current question is around planning for school lunch.  my daughter will bring her own food but i was wondering if i should send her with a little place mat to put under her bento box.  has anyone done this?  i was thinking it would give her a little space from the other lunches and keep her food away from the table.  am i over thinking it?  or am i making her stand out to much from her peers?  

 

would love to hear any other lunch ideas i should think about also.

 

thanks in advance for any thoughts or experience you guys have!

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I  can  tell you  the kids  don't  want  to  stand out or  have  special treatment.... I  would  just  send  a  napkin... she  will learn  quickly what works  and  what  doesn't..... I believe  there  are other more  important  matters to  be thiking  about.

1... snacks in the  classroom

2. playdough  GLUTEN

3.teacher  understanding  what  all gluten is in.

4 Field  trips

5 parties, birthday, holidays

6  hand  washing  often

7. potty  calls ( celiac  kids  sometimes need  restroom  more  often than  others.

 

You  should meet  with the  principle, school nurse, cafeteria  staff before  school  begins. Do  a  504 plan .... you will need  to  educate  these  people. Many  will  say  oh I  know all  about  it. The kids  get a  stomach  ache!!!!!  Right!!!! They need  to understand &  how they  can't  forget  and  give the  child  a  piece of  gluten laced  candy  because  they  behaved  well....

You need  to  make  a  safe  box  that is  kept  in the room  for  when  treats  are passed out.ie: pretzels, chips, candy. gum , crackers ,  fruit  leathers  or  what  she enjoys.

You also need  to make & freeze  cupcakes, cookies,  ice  cream cups  for  when  a kid  has a birthday  party. this  way  the  teacher  can go to the  freezer  in the morning  of the party  and  get  out  a  treat for her  to have ....

 School  parties run by the PTO's, parents usually  have  a  theme  for the  party  plus  food  you will need to connect  with  these  people to  find out  their  plans  , then you can match  whatever  they are planning  so  your  child  does not feel left  out or  doesn't  get sick  from  what  someone/ adult handed  her  thinking   it  was  gluten-free...

Our kindergarden  did  a  few  baking  projects  with  flour.  white  flour  can  stay  airborne  for  four  hours  or  better.... plus  it  can  migrate to  the  desks & linger until  cleaned.... For  our  scholl I purchased  gluten-free  flour  for the  whole  class  ......

celiac  is  covered under  the  disabilities  act......

Also   there is  an issue  at lunch  with kids  taking  food f rom  other kids  plates. not good  for  your  child  to have  a kid  eating  gluten  reach over  &  help  themselves  in your  kids  potato  chip bag....

 

hth

 

mamaw

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What Mamaw said!  (saved me a LOT of typing!)

 

I went into the school to observe what was working (and what was not) during lunch (1st grade)  Well those little friends of hers were all over her eating space with gluten sandwiches, cookies, and crackers. Whispering secrets and playing games, or just talking with thier hands while eating lunch.   We used the paper, disposable large sized napkin or paper towel.  It marked an outline for the kids to remember to keep the crumbs out of her eating space. I do not want any possible contamination coming back home in a lunchbox.  ~"Ain't nobody got time for dat!"

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mamaw knows her stuff :)   i have a celiac 'candidate' grandson (parents had him 'tested' and he is neg :( even though he has all the indicators) and he had a rough time last year at pre-school getting to the bathroom in time.  i hope he does better this year - it sure is embarrassing - meemo <that's me!) is going to have a chat with his teachers this year.  because:  ~"Ain't nobody got time for dat!"amen, mommida :)

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I've been stressing over lunch ever since we had to go gluten free....but that is simply because lunch is always an issue for me. Or maybe it's simply because I suck at planning and end up running out of ideas and I don't eat a big lunch but my husband and both my boys do so they're starving when I'm not even hungry. Ah...it can be a vicious cycle sometimes. 

 

Thankfully, my little guy (who is the Celiac one) is also the most open about new foods and also likes a bigger variety of foods than his older siblings. :) He is happy with peanut butter and jelly on a tortilla, a fruit and a veggie. Some days he's more hungry and some days he's less. I think we will be ok this year. At least I am hoping we are! He was sick a lot last year (due to the undiagnosed Celiac) and had to come home quite a bit. I'm hoping this year isn't like that since he is going to school in the next city over and we're going to have to ride the city bus for now so getting him could be a challenge.
 

I like the idea of a folded napkin....I may have to make some up for him quick for use at school. I never thought of that. I do know that there is a kid or two at this school that also have Celiac....so I'm hoping that the school is good with this. He will definitely only be bringing his lunch (he already was because I'm not a big fan of the food they serve at the schools anyway) and the school he is going to now is definitely making an effort to get away from food as a reward for things and even as treats for birthdays and such.

Good luck...this is our first year of doing gluten free at school too. I think those younger years are harder since kids just don't understand. It's hard for my little guy too because he doesn't react right away so it's hard for him to put how his stomach feels together with what he ate the day before....and it isn't always a stomach reaction. Some days he just ends up crying over everything and some days his joints hurt instead of getting stomach pain. :(

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thank you all for taking the time to respond.  it is so helpful to get advise from other parents going through this.  the good news is her teachers (and the staff at the school) are very responsive and ready to help in anyway that they can.  now it's just up to me to catch all the details!

 

can anyone explain what i should be looking for in things like crayons and paint?  will it actually be listed as wheat?

 

thanks again!

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We use Wrap-N-Mats. http://www.wrapnmat.com/ It's basically a napkins but one side is spill proof and they have some nice designs.

 

maybe include a little wet wipe in the lunch too so crummy fingers (or tables) can be wiped ahead of time.

 

 

Glad you saw this!  I was trying to remember them from a previous post you made (probably last year at the beginning of school). 

 

I wanted some for me!  When we travel & I have my sandwich and we go into a fast food place for everyone else, I get bunches of napkins to put on the table for my lunch.  Are they waterproof enough to put carrots or something a bit damp?  Nothing that would spill water out, just damp.

 

They have a Lacrosse one!  I am always eating at a Lacrosse tournament!

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The outside/bottom of the wrap is just cotton, but the inside/top has a plasticky layer that is totally waterproof and easy to wipe off. My kids don't mind using them, but they do "forget" (ignore) them unless I put it on the top of their lunch. LOL

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I went to the website and ordered some of these Wrap-N-Mats! One of the things I like about them is that you can use them for wrapping your sandwich -- seems like a dual function. I haven't tried them yet -- waiting for them to be delivered.

 

What I wonder, though, is how well they clean. For example, I'm hoping my daughter will open the wrap and use it on top of her lunchbox. If she doesn't, and puts it down on the lunch table, I'm concerned that the wrap will pick up some gluten.

Do you ever throw them in the dishwasher or washing machine to clean them?

 

Whenever we go to my mother's house, it seems like my daughter gets glutened no matter what we do! We use our own paper plates and don't use any of my mom's food or utensils or cups....so I'm starting to think that my daughter picks up gluten on her hands from various surfaces, and then gets the gluten in her mouth. How can we possibly avoid that kind of gluten ingestion in the public school?

 

I'm not sure about the possibility of "airborne" glutening at public school (or elsewhere).

 

She's 11 and she tries hard to watch out for gluten, but she does put her hands in her mouth sometimes!

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I went to the website and ordered some of these Wrap-N-Mats! One of the things I like about them is that you can use them for wrapping your sandwich -- seems like a dual function. I haven't tried them yet -- waiting for them to be delivered.

 

What I wonder, though, is how well they clean. For example, I'm hoping my daughter will open the wrap and use it on top of her lunchbox. If she doesn't, and puts it down on the lunch table, I'm concerned that the wrap will pick up some gluten.

Do you ever throw them in the dishwasher or washing machine to clean them?

 

I've put mine in the washing machine on gentle, and I have also hand washed them. Hang them to dry. They're never as pretty again but they're clean.  :)

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Do you wash the Wrap-N-Mats after each day's use? I feel "paranoid" in a way, thinking that I should do that, however I see that gluten is on so many surfaces and I can't imagine that the public school cafeteria is a "safe" gluten-free environment. Or that the lunch tables will be clean of gluten.

 

I ordered several different mats, thinking we could try them, and I'm thinking I'll wash after each use. I also wonder if my daughter will like them -- she's in seventh grade and there's so much peer pressure, etc. I figure that if her sandwich is wrapped in one of these, she can simply open it up to get the sandwich and leave it open to eat on it....might not be that "weird." The kids are sometimes so nosy and mean to each other in the middle school grades.

 

What do you do? Do you wash them after each use? Or do you just wipe them down?

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Today's the big day! It's her first day (and she'll be home soon)....I can't wait to hear how it went.

 

Another lunch-related question....

 

1) what about hand soaps? I've noticed that many of the hand soaps contain "Vitamin E" as a moisturizer. Often, Vitamin E is from wheat germ. What if a Celiac washes her hands with something that contains trace amounts of gluten, then eats a sandwich or other "finger" food like carrots, cookies, etc.... Will she be ingesting gluten (from the soap!!) ????

 

2) Also, what about the overall environment in the lunch room, with the vast majority of children eating gluten-containing foods? Is there anything to worry about? (I believe I've heard that one will not experience gluttening from airborne gluten....) :mellow:

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We use those mats too.  My super-sensitive guy has not had a problem in two years at school.  I wipe them down each night with kitchen cleaner (plastic side) and toss them in the wash every now and again if the fabric side gets soiled.

 

The "allergy kids" at my son's school can also get a tray that has been washed in the industrial dishwasher to use so their food doesn't come in contact with the surface of the table.  The peanut allergy kids sit at a completely separate table, since the oil is not always washed off.

 

I don't worry about "airborne" gluten unless there was a craft or cooking project taking place in the room that uses flour.  That would be a problem because it would settle on everything.  He washes his hands before eating, but lets face it, he is 8 so they aren't getting super clean.  So far, in two years, there have been no projects using flour (paper mache?  cooking project?)

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