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kcraft08

Handling School Snacks

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My son is in kindergarten and parents bring snacks daily. I've given a list of things he can eat, but with ingredient changes and different types, it's hard to know if he's getting gluten.

 

Over the holidays, he was given a twizzler and some hot cocoa because they thought they were gluten-free. They were not. We spent an entire day in ER after he had stomach pains all week, bathroom issues, vomiting, and pain in the same area as his appendix (which is why we were in the ER). 

 

I know processed gluten-free foods are allowed to contain a level of gluten. With lunches, breakfast, and snacks, he's probably getting too much, as they continue to stack up. My question is....are there naturally gluten-free snacks I could send? I can't send him with any homemade things; otherwise, I'd make something he could take. 

 

Any advice would be helpful. Seriously want to avoid the pains and sickness he recently experienced. 

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Twizzlers are one of those weird things that you would never guess are made with wheat.  And they're one of the reasons why we should never, ever assume that something is gluten-free.  (Fortunately for me, I hate Twizzlers with the passion of a thousand fiery suns.  But the rest of my family LOVES them.)  

 

Just because processed gluten free foods are allowed to contain 20ppm doesn't mean that they do.  You can purchase only items made in a gluten free facility (which opens you up to gluten-free cookies or granola bars), or see what the company has to say about their cleaning and testing practices.  

 

And that's a big thing.  Your risk of CC doesn't depend on the item's gluten status so much as the company and their practices.  Certain nut companies will say that their nuts are gluten free, but other companies might not--even though nuts are a naturally gluten free food.  Lay's potato chips are labeled "gluten free" but other potato chips might not be.  So you would still need to make sure that the companies are handling these foods well, unless your plan for snack time is to bring raw fruits and veg.  That said, here are a few foods that come to mind:

 

Dried fruits (raisins, craisins, banana or plantain chips)

Freeze-dried fruits 

Nuts (if allowed)

Plain potato chips or corn chips

Popcorn or kettle corn

Yogurt (without mix-ins/granola/crunchies)

Pudding (same disclaimer)

Jello

Cheese (string, cubes, snack-size, Babybel)

 

These are foods that I also think more or less come in single servings or snack sizes.  I'm pretty sure I've also seen snack size bags of cut up apples and baby carrots.  If your kindergarten isn't nut-free, they make those nice little Jiff To-Go cups as well.  

 

Looking at the list, it's pretty heavy on sugar and empty calories.  But if their idea of a snack is cocoa and Twizzlers, I'm guessing they aren't too picky about being healthy.  

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Why  are  you not  permitted to send  in  treats  that  he can  eat ? When our  kids  were  in  elementary school  we  matched  all party  snacks, birthday party  food , seasonal parties & even  candy  that  teachers kept  on their  desk  for  a  prize  when  they  were doing  something  that  teacher  thought  they  did a great  job.... we also  had a safe  box  in the room  for  unexpected days  when  other  kids  would  have  goodies   & also  had  use  of the  freezer  for  gluten-free  cupcakes,  ice cream   &  things  that  needed to  be  kept  cold.  We always  had  a supple at  school  for  just  in case .....the  kids  were  even  allowed  to go to the  freezer for a  dessert   if  I wrote  a note  stating  they were allowed...

The  PTA  had  parties  all the  time for the kids, parents would  do crafts  & such  & bring  in treats , they would  let  us know  what  they were  serving  for each event  & I would  match it  for  our gluten-free  kids....

It  sounds  like  maybe the school  needs to be  better  informed about celiac... I  would  get  the  teacher, principle & school nurse  on board  with your  child's illness asap...

You do know  that celiac  is  covered  under the Disabilities act? 

snacks  for  the  safe  box: all gluten-free.  pretzels, corn  curls, tootsie rolls, snickers, chips , crackers, cookies, Swedish  fish, M&M's, fruit gummies, lollipops, trail mix, popcorn, chex  mix  to name  a few  things....

Freezer, ice cream ice  cream sandwiches, cupcakes choc & vanilla, popsicles

when it  was  our  turn  I made  everyone  gluten-free   &  the other kids  loved  it.... we even  made  breadsticks  gluten-free  for  a lesson  about  our  kids  not  being  able to eat  what  other kids  ate...& why.

we also  taught  the other kids  how  it  could  make  our kid  sick  if  they  touched  the  gluten-free  food  with  their  hands  that  had  wheat  on them....

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I agree that nobody should be feeding your child but you.  Period.  Like Mammaw, both my girls (two different schools) have a bag of "safe lunch/snacks" and a bag of "special treats".

 

For my oldest, she has Go Picnics to grab from the nurse if I forget her lunch (it hasn't happened yet, but she has eaten the entire lunch and then grabbed a box from the nurse to have more food).  Her "special treats" include tootsie roll pops, fruit by the foot, ring pops, etc.  It's all junky stuff that the teacher can pull out if it is a party or something.

 

The younger kid is still in preschool and she her snack bag has boxes of raisins, boxes of craisins, squeezable applesauce, etc.  Her treats are mostly fruit strips, fruity snacks, etc.  I don't think I sent in any suckers or anything b/c she's in a room of 2-3 y/os and, while I let her have those things, it's not that common to hand them out to that age group.  Snack is provided by her school, but she is not allowed to eat anything not sent in by me so I bring her snack every time she has school.

 

Also, like Mammaw, in our school you can feed YOUR kid homemade foods, but you can't send them in for the classroom party.  So, I will match one of my cupcakes for a party while the class is eating the store-bought stuff.  It's just a way around the weird public school rules.

 

Does your child have a 504 Plan?  If you're in public school it may make things much easier for both of you.  Also, I would absolutely set up a meeting with all the higher ups (which happens at a 504 meeting anyway) to let them know that he was glutened while in their care.  I doubt they meant to hurt your kid, but they need to know what happened so it won't happen again.


Angela

Undiagnosed, but I'm positive that I'm the genetic link to celiac for my kids.  Gluten Free in solidarity of my girls!

Kid 1 (9 y/o girl) - DX celiac via blood in 9/2013 (age 7.5).  Negative biopsy in 10/2013.

Kid 2 (5 y/o boy) - DX as "latent celiac" via blood in 9/2013 (age 3.5).  Negative biopsy in 10/2013.

Kid 3 (3 y/o girl) - DX celiac via blood in 8/2013 (age 1.5) and 9/2013. 

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Thanks everyone. Your advice has been helpful. He does have a safe snack drawer, which I'm going to request to see. Part of the problem is sometimes ingredients change. For instance, the holiday M&Ms they used at the party were made with gluten. Had I not been there, he would've eaten them because they're on the safe list.

The nurse, teacher, and cafeteria manager are working hard, but I don't think they all get it. They don't understand the impact a small amount can make. Someone pushed them to offer gluten-free lunches, and he's done well with that.

I didn't know about the 504, so I'll definitely look into that. We've only been at this for a year, so we're still learning.

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I guess I don't understand why you would let him eat anything another parent tried to give him? He is too young to know what he can and can't eat and read ingredients. You have seen that you can't count on the teacher to police his food - she probably has her hands full. I would tell my kid and the teachers "Do not eat anything I haven't provided". Give him a treat/snack to bring each day that he knows he can eat in a container or bag he will recognize as being his snack bag.. Maybe put a sticker on the snack package so he knows only to eat the snack with the yellow smiley face?


 

 

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Oh I am SO sorry your kiddo was so ill!  That is terrible! I would be sure to meet with the school ASAP about what happened.  We do have a specific accommodation in our 504 that says "No food not from home" (though we are having problems with that right now).  But  it's a very important thing to convey to them.

 

If you need help getting ideas for a 504, let me know.  We've had one since K and it's basically worked well.  It is a legally binding document that makes all the players get on the same page! It is only available if the school is a federally funded in some way (i.e. public school in the US or one that gets funding for say the school lunch program).

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For the safe snack drawer they should be only things from you. That way you know which items are in it and that the ingredients are safe *at that moment in time*. Because things like holiday m&ms and differently sized Hershey bars DO throw people off if they're not in this life.

Are you in a public school? If so, request a 504 meeting that first day school reopens and we can walk you through it to prepare you. It will help alleviate a lot of the stress.


Angela

Undiagnosed, but I'm positive that I'm the genetic link to celiac for my kids.  Gluten Free in solidarity of my girls!

Kid 1 (9 y/o girl) - DX celiac via blood in 9/2013 (age 7.5).  Negative biopsy in 10/2013.

Kid 2 (5 y/o boy) - DX as "latent celiac" via blood in 9/2013 (age 3.5).  Negative biopsy in 10/2013.

Kid 3 (3 y/o girl) - DX celiac via blood in 8/2013 (age 1.5) and 9/2013. 

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Thanks everyone. I'm going to request a 504 plan as soon as possible. Honestly, I started the year sending only stuff from home, but his teacher asked for a gluten free list to give the parents, so I gave her one. Things have been okay until the holidays. We're only a year in, so I'm still learning. This was a hard lesson to learn made more painful for my son. I can't have that.

I'm sure I'll be back with questions as I move toward the 504.

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You need to find out who your schools 504 coordinator is and send a written request for a 504 qualification meeting.  They have 30 days to make that happen.  I sent a letter from our Dr. too (stated what the dx was, what quality of life issues it impacts as that is what the qualification is for).  

 

That's step one :)  When you have that meeting, go in with what accommodations your child needs (i.e. ONLY food from home. Notice for class parties.  A weeks notice for any activities involving food.  No food/food containers for art projects.  No Play-doh. Those are just a few basics to get you started!

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Thanks everyone. I'm going to request a 504 plan as soon as possible. Honestly, I started the year sending only stuff from home, but his teacher asked for a gluten free list to give the parents, so I gave her one. Things have been okay until the holidays. We're only a year in, so I'm still learning. This was a hard lesson to learn made more painful for my son. I can't have that.

I'm sure I'll be back with questions as I move toward the 504.

 

Hard part with getting food from other parents is you don't know how it was prepared or what else it touched.  At the in-law Christmas party this year, we brought veges and dip that I made because I knew that would be filling and fine for me to eat....until my B%*#* sister-in-law took her hamburger buns out of the package right over my vege tray....which was sitting away from the rest of the food.....just not worth it to rely on others. 

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So frustrating! 

 

When we ate for Thanksgiving this year, I basically set aside food for me and hid my food. LOL!

 

The portion of the food that got set out for others did inevitably get contaminated. I found pieces of glutenous food sitting in my cast iron skillet. I ended up reseasoning it when I got home, to be safe. I guess, no more cast iron for family gatherings.


~Ruth

Gluten free since 2/14/2010 after suffering a rare and serious complication from my gluten challenge

 

 

 

 

 

 

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So frustrating! 

 

When we ate for Thanksgiving this year, I basically set aside food for me and hid my food. LOL!

 

lol  THIS EXACTLY!

Once it is set down on a communal table, it isn't safe anymore!  I make whatever I am bringing and separate it out for my kids vs. the general population.  ALWAYS.  Unless they don't like it ;)  I make sure I only provide it in glass (which can be cleaned in the dishwasher easily) and I confiscate all the plastic lids so no one is tempted to help and was them with the sponge they use on everything else ;)  We have a very specific system and except for the time my aunt left a loaded gun  I mean peanut butter cookies on my counter, we've been good.  

 

I HATE those "Snack Safely" lists.  They honestly scare the heck out of me and I will not provide them to anyone for any reason (and never point them out to people who ask).  Thing change so quickly as you said.  It's out of our comfort zone for sure so I get your hesitation!

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I need to stick with glass dishes for family meals. Good idea!

Disposable is even better but the hippy, Earth loving person I am makes the compromise of glass ;) lol  For new Mom's I always keep it disposable.  I have a dish from a friend who brought me food when my youngest was born...3 years ago ;) 

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The school actually offers gluten-free lunches. They gave me the print out with the list of ingredients. They come in completely separate containers and are kept in a separate location. The cafeteria manager is the only person who handles these foods. They have another child with Celiac, and I assume the parents requested the accommodation. They called me to offer it to me. We haven't had any trouble there, so I'm okay with him eating those items. She keeps the cookies from each package with the gluten-free foods for special occasions. The trouble has come in the classroom with snacks and food art projects. I think I'll focus on that. I do have to give them credit. They have tried to accommodate and to be careful, but again, most people are not informed. That's the rub. He got the twizzlers and hot cocoa within a week's time, and I was informed after the fact. I definitely will request I am notified two days prior to any classroom activities and/or special events requiring food. 

 

I was making breakfast and lunch for him until they offered it at the school. I was spending all of my time (outside of work) in the kitchen cooking and preparing. I think because he had it for so long, he became extremely picky. We're working on expanding his palette, but it hasn't been easy. I think he still fears it'll hurt him. He asks every single time if something is gluten free. He tells them when he knows something is not. However, he is 6 and adults don't always listen to children. In this, he's the authority. 

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I have a 504 plan that we created for my son when he was first diagnosed (1st grade).  I'd be happy to email you a copy.  I used advice from this list and others.  Send me an email at myboytom@yahoo.com and I'll send it to you.

 

Our rule is he only eats food from our house AND pre-packaged foods that say "gluten free" clearly on the label.  And even then, his teacher (or party host) will remove his serving first and keep it separate.  

 

We learned our lesson at camp when the "I-know-about-celiac-because-my-roommate-in-college-had-it" head counselor told him he could eat the graham crackers because she checked the ingredients and "gluten" was not listed.  (Wheat was the first ingredient, but she was looking for the word "gluten")

 

After that (missed a week of summer camp) we don't rely on others to be able to figure it out.  It is not always easy - it took me a while to learn it all.  Now, at age 9 he can check for himself, so it has gotten easier.

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Thanks! You'll be receiving an email from me soon. 

 

Checked for "gluten?" Wow. But I do understand people have no idea! The coordinator is going to try to get a 504 meeting set up this week, so I'll need all the advice I can get! I'm meeting with the teacher today to look over his gluten-free snack drawer to make sure everything in there is okay for him to eat. They have really tried, but you know how it goes...and one event can leave both mom and kid leery of anybody else's ability to truly keep him gluten free! 

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