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Gluten free food ideas for picky toddler with Celiac who is scared to eat

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Hello all, 

I am brand new to this lifestyle and have a 2.5 yr old boy who was just diagnosed with Celiac disease a few weeks back. He has always been a picky and light eater who often prefers milk over meals, so his diagnosis made a lot of sense. He’s doing better with eating since we’ve removed gluten from the house and from his diet, but it’s like he’s afraid to eat cooked foods. He will eat fruits, crackers, cheese, yogurts etc especially if they have something cute like the Paw Patrol on them, but both at home and at daycare he rarely eats anything cooked for him- grilled cheeses, quesadillas, chicken nuggets, even homemade cookies and sweets- sometimes he’ll try over and over to take a bite but spits it out. 
 

It breaks my heart. I know it takes time for his body to heal and that cross contamination is a real threat each day. I’m just hoping there’s another mom out there with some good ideas to inspire an already picky toddler who is at the bottom of the growth charts to eat a little more. Or maybe another good high calorie snack-like food we can add to his diet? I’ve Googled all the “tricks” for picky toddlers and none of them seem to work. He is so active (always running and playing) and is in a great mood each day, he’s so tough! But my husband and I would feel a lot better if we could come up with some good ideas to inspire a healthy relationship with food for him. 
 

Thank you for any advice! 

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Celiac.com Sponsor (A8):

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It is interesting that he won't eat cooked foods. Do the foods he avoids tend to be items that would normally have gluten? The items you mentioned that he won't eat seem to be items that would normally be off limits. I wonder if he fully understands the idea that gluten-free versions  of them are safe?

Also, here are some kids recipes:

https://www.celiac.com/articles.html/gluten-free-recipes/gluten-free-kids-recipes/

and this section of our site deals with kids and celiac disease:

https://www.celiac.com/articles.html/kids-and-celiac-disease/ 

Scott Adams

Celiac.com - Celiac Disease Board Moderator

Founder Celiac.com

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5 hours ago, Scott Adams said:

It is interesting that he won't eat cooked foods. Do the foods he avoids tend to be items that would normally have gluten? The items you mentioned that he won't eat seem to be items that would normally be off limits. I wonder if he fully understands the idea that gluten-free versions  of them are safe?

Also, here are some kids recipes:

https://www.celiac.com/articles.html/gluten-free-recipes/gluten-free-kids-recipes/

and this section of our site deals with kids and celiac disease:

https://www.celiac.com/articles.html/kids-and-celiac-disease/ 

Hi Scott, thank you for your reply! Yes, I think a lot of the foods he doesn’t want to try are ones that his little spider senses may associate with gluten. And maybe he’s also just being a toddler about it, but foods he used to eat a bunch of (gluten-free French fries or tater tots, for example) he has been refusing to eat for the past week. I think he may have accidentally eaten something with gluten recently and maybe that’s what’s going on- do you know about how long it takes for your stomach to feel good enough to eat well again after an exposure? I just have no personal experience with it so it’s hard to know what’s going on well enough to help effectively. 

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I have been through something similiar to what you are and will tell you what my ped. told me. For now feed him what he will eat. Let him have his fill of fruit etc and when you sit down to eat also give him small amounts of what you are having. Then don't pay attention to what he is eating.  Two's aren't known as the 'terrible twos' for nothing. He is at a stage where he is trying to assert some independance 'I do MYSELF' is a common phrase as the shoes go on the wrong feet .  By letting him choose his foods and not making a big deal out of what he is eating he will try new things eventually because it becomes his choice. Try not to worry too much. You'll get through this. You may want to talk to your ped to make sure he is getting enough well rounded nutrition and see if the Doctor has any additional advice. 

Edited by ravenwoodglass

Courage does not always roar, sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying

"I will try again tommorrow" (Mary Anne Radmacher)

Diagnosed by Allergist with elimination diet and diagnosis confirmed by GI in 2002

Misdiagnoses for 15 years were IBS-D, ataxia, migraines, anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia, parathesias, arthritis, livedo reticularis, hairloss, premature menopause, osteoporosis, kidney damage, diverticulosis, prediabetes and ulcers, dermatitis herpeformis

All bold resoved or went into remission in time with proper diagnosis of Celiac November 2002

 Gene Test Aug 2007

HLA-DQB1 Molecular analysis, Allele 1 0303

HLA-DQB1 Molecular analysis, Allele 2 0303

Serologic equivalent: HLA-DQ 3,3 (Subtype 9,9)

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Wise words from Ravenwoodglass!  
 

Non-functioning Gall bladder Removal Surgery 2005

Diagnosed via Blood Test (DGP IgA only) and Endoscopy: March 2013

Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

Osteopenia/osteoporosis -- June 2013

Allergies and Food Intolerances

Repeat endoscopy/Biopsies: Healed

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17 hours ago, ravenwoodglass said:

I have been through something similiar to what you are and will tell you what my ped. told me. For now feed him what he will eat. Let him have his fill of fruit etc and when you sit down to eat also give him small amounts of what you are having. Then don't pay attention to what he is eating.  Two's aren't known as the 'terrible twos' for nothing. He is at a stage where he is trying to assert some independance 'I do MYSELF' is a common phrase as the shoes go on the wrong feet .  By letting him choose his foods and not making a big deal out of what he is eating he will try new things eventually because it becomes his choice. Try not to worry too much. You'll get through this. You may want to talk to your ped to make sure he is getting enough well rounded nutrition and see if the Doctor has any additional advice. 

Thank you, ravenwoodglass. This has brought me both comfort and encouragement. He is only two and things will get better. Thank you. I need to work on being patient and not turning myself into a crazy mom. 

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