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Guest Chrisbee

Packing Lunches For School For Picky Eaters

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Guest Chrisbee

I get up every morning and fix both my boys a gluten-free lunch to take to school but neither one will usually eat it! I bought two stainless steel food thermos containers so they could have hot lunches, but the only success I've had is sending taco meat with taco shells and cheese. And only my ten year old ate that. The six year old emptied it in the trash. I've sent lunchmeat and cheese rollups with Miracle Whip on corn tortillas, pb&j on gluten-free bread, homemade gluten-free mac&cheese, Annie's mac&cheese, BBQ hamburger with tortilla chips and a chicken and rice dish. They will eat all these meals at home, but won't touch them at school! I also send some sort of fruit, yogurt and a snack such as chips or cereal. They will eat that sometimes, but not the main part of their meal, and then they come home ravenous and raid the pantry for snacks. I don't know what to do to get them to eat. Any suggestions? They won't even try vegetables. Should I take away snacks completely until I can get them to eat? We've only been gluten-free a few weeks, will it get better? :(

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I get up every morning and fix both my boys a gluten-free lunch to take to school but neither one will usually eat it! I bought two stainless steel food thermos containers so they could have hot lunches, but the only success I've had is sending taco meat with taco shells and cheese. And only my ten year old ate that. The six year old emptied it in the trash. I've sent lunchmeat and cheese rollups with Miracle Whip on corn tortillas, pb&j on gluten-free bread, homemade gluten-free mac&cheese, Annie's mac&cheese, BBQ hamburger with tortilla chips and a chicken and rice dish. They will eat all these meals at home, but won't touch them at school! I also send some sort of fruit, yogurt and a snack such as chips or cereal. They will eat that sometimes, but not the main part of their meal, and then they come home ravenous and raid the pantry for snacks. I don't know what to do to get them to eat. Any suggestions? They won't even try vegetables. Should I take away snacks completely until I can get them to eat? We've only been gluten-free a few weeks, will it get better? :(

I so wish i could help you. i have been sending my 13 yr old with gluten free lunches and i keep finding them in his backpack every night, when i remember to look, I just found 2 gluten free tortiallas with meat or pb and j in them from 2 weeks ago. I have also found his lunches behind the house. he will take money to school and buy candy, or have his girlfriend take him beef jerky.

I am almost to the point to pick him up and make sure he eats healthy, or go sit with him at school.

I hope someone can give us tips on what to do lol

paula


gluten, casein and soy free

on low carb/low sugar diet

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My kids pack their own lunches and I buy for them whatever they put on the grocery list (gluten-free of course, for the gluten-free ones). Even my 8 year old packs her own lunch, or she buys at school (she's not gluten-free).

I would suggest taking them to the grocery and letting them pick out their lunch food. Then have them pack their lunches with your assistance. They will be more appreciative if it's what they want and if they worked for it.

My kids won't take hot food. The thermos just doesn't keep it warm enough ... they say it gets gross. They will take leftovers if it's something that tastes good cold, but that rarely happens.


gluten-free 12/05

diagnosed with Lyme Disease 12/06

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My kids pack their own lunches and I buy for them whatever they put on the grocery list (gluten-free of course, for the gluten-free ones). Even my 8 year old packs her own lunch, or she buys at school (she's not gluten-free).

I would suggest taking them to the grocery and letting them pick out their lunch food. Then have them pack their lunches with your assistance. They will be more appreciative if it's what they want and if they worked for it.

My kids won't take hot food. The thermos just doesn't keep it warm enough ... they say it gets gross. They will take leftovers if it's something that tastes good cold, but that rarely happens.

I for one have taken him with me to shop, and it still dont help. He has been like this for years, keeping the food in his backpack or throwing it places that we will find it. I use to think he would throw the lunches cause the bread got him sick, but now that it is gluten free bread or tortiallas he is still doing the same thing.

paula


gluten, casein and soy free

on low carb/low sugar diet

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I have a non-gluten free picky eater! Much pickier than the gluten free kid. I've realized you can't make a kid eat, (unless you want to experience vomiting!), so I think the best you can do is ask what they will eat and pack that, healthy, of course, and offer healthy snacks when they get home. There may be another reason your son is not eating at school, other than not liking the food. It can be very frustrating, though-the only fruits/vegetables my picky eater eats are apples and strawberries, and only certain kinds of apples, peeled and cut a certain way. So he eats a lot of those. Good luck!

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Hmm. No advice from me either. I have a gluten-free son who will eat almost everything in his lunch. He'll leave a few crumbs. My non-gluten-free son brings half his lunch home.

gluten-free lunch ideas: banana bread, hard boiled eggs, egg sandwich on Lorka's flax bread, ham slices rolled up either plain, or with shredded cheese inside (sometimes I roll them up in rice paper wrappers), taco salad, jam sandwiches (no peanut butter allowed at our school, darn it!), almonds, soup, carrot sticks, cucumber slices, hot cereal in a thermos.

I wish I could help out more...my gluten-free son has pretty much 3 lunches and we just mix them up. My non gluten-free son decides every morning what to take, or sometimes, we decide for him. It's coming home anyway, so it doesn't matter who chooses what isn't going to be eaten.

Here's the bread recipe. Ty NEVER ate any bread of any description until I made this. Now I'm making it once a week. There is about a 15 page thread on this bread. You can do a search to get suggestions for vegan, non-bean flours and other substitutions.

LORKA


Linda, Mom to Ty (11 years old)

Ty was diagnosed by blood test June 7/05

biopsy Aug 11/05, diagnosis confirmed Aug 18/05

Mom, Dad and big brother Celiac-free.

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Guest cassidy

I am a very picky eater and I don't always eat "meals" at meal time. I like cereal for lunch or dinner. Omelettes for any meal. I also will eat nuts, a granola bar and some cheese and have that be a meal.

If you can ask them what they want and as long as they are eating something healthy, I would give it to them. I have always hated sandwiches, even when I could eat gluten. I usually get in the mood for something and I'll eat it for every meal for 3-4 days and then I don't want it again for a long time.

Have you asked them why they aren't eating their lunches? Can you pack a bunch of healthy snacks so they can pick at those during the day?

It must be frustrating and I guess it depends on the age of the child how well you can understand why they don't want to eat and make them understand that they have to eat something.

What about a smoothie? If you froze it, that might work for lunch. If I don't want to eat I do much better drinking things. I drink carnation instant breakfast (for lunch sometimes) and Boost because those give me protein when I don't want to eat it. I don't know if pediasure is gluten-free, but maybe something like that would work.

Good luck finding something they want!

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((hugs)) to both of you!

I agree with the other posters about asking them what they would like to eat and having them help. It may just be that they are tired of what is being sent. It took me a long time to find a bread that Carleigh liked and when I did, she ate tons of it. The last couple of weeks, I was throwing away her sandwiches. She told me she's tired of sandwiches and wants to take leftovers and other things. She has also complained that I sent too much before also. The same thing has happened with breakfast. I think she just gets tired of things.

Smoothies in a thermos are a big hit with her right now too.


Mom of:

Carleigh~ 10 years old, allergic to wheat, milk, peanuts, strawberries, and many EAs. She is currently soy-light and egg-light ~ celiac testing inconclusive by allergist.

Gluten-Free since 10/05 She's a gymnast. : )

Nick ~ 13 years old with no known allergies.

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((hugs)) to both of you!

I agree with the other posters about asking them what they would like to eat and having them help. It may just be that they are tired of what is being sent. It took me a long time to find a bread that Carleigh liked and when I did, she ate tons of it. The last couple of weeks, I was throwing away her sandwiches. She told me she's tired of sandwiches and wants to take leftovers and other things. She has also complained that I sent too much before also. The same thing has happened with breakfast. I think she just gets tired of things.

Smoothies in a thermos are a big hit with her right now too.

Im going to look into the smoothie idea. I know sometimes he tells he wont eat cause he wants to go play basketball or he is doing homeowrk, or he is just not hungry. I just worry so much cause after school he has wrestling practice, so he does not get home til 6, and one day a week he takes off to a wrestling tournament and dont get home til 8-9. I do give him money to buy something healthy when he goes to the tournaments, but he needs to eat lunch to keep his strength up.

He had only been eating the gluten free tortilla wraps for 3 days, and i found 2, so he had no time to get tired of them lol.

paula


gluten, casein and soy free

on low carb/low sugar diet

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I was having a "what can I make for lunch" crisis this morning. My 2 school aged kids are celiac (gluten-free since October). The lunch thing has been a problem off and on since they started school, even before the gluten-free diet. They'll go through phases when they'll eat all of their lunch and other phases when they'll eat nothing, or virtually nothing. They haven't started throwing their food away or hiding it (at least not yet!)... they just bring it home in their lunch bag. Some days the lunch bag looks exactly the same as it did when I packed it.

I use the thermos sometimes- my 8 yr old likes this. I fill it with boiling water while I'm heating up the lunch- it seems to keep things warmer this way. My son enjoys Heinz beans and sometimes I'll cut-up gluten-free weiners and add them too. My 6 yr old doesn't like beans- sometimes she'll just take weiners and I'll put some ketchup in a small container for dipping. Sometimes they take soup in their thermos- my 6 yr old likes homemade gluten-free chicken noodle soup, my 8 yr old likes some of the Thai kitchen soups.

Some other things... fruit salad; caesar salad; yogurt; cheese; flavoured rice crackers; tin mandarin oranges; fixings for tacos (cubbed or sliced chicken, tomato, sour cream shredded cheese, guacamole, etc.) plus tostados or nacho chips; devilled eggs; cumcumber "sandwiches" (slices of cucumber with cream cheese in the middle); dried fruit; yogurt tubes; rice cakes with cream cheese; mini-carrots with gluten-free dip; celery with cream cheese or gluten-free processed cheese spread; gluten-free pepperettes; pumpkin seeds; sunflower seeds; sesame snaps; homemade granola/granola bars; apple-carrot energy bars (http://www.bestbreadrecipes.com/glutenfreerecipes.htm - I omit the nuts so the kids can take them to school).

My children didn't take sandwiches when we started the gluten-free diet- the bread was better if it was toasted and eaten right away. However, we now make our own bread and it makes really nice sandwiches (toasting isn't necessary)- so they've started taking sandwiches in their lunch now and then.

Does anyone have some suggestions for something to pack with hummus? We used to use pitas. I guess I could use strips of gluten-free bread or tortilla chips- other ideas would be welcome.

Also- I've got tin salmon in the cupboard and I'm wondering if there is something I could do with it that my kids might eat for lunch? Eggs too... any ideas? I pack sliced lunch meats often and would like to cut-back on them- too many nitrates.

Suzie


Suzie

London, ON, Canada

celiac disease diagnosed by pos tTG March 2006 and pos biopsy June 2006

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Guest Chrisbee

Thanks for all the great suggestions. I'll have to try the bread recipe. I have everything but the flaxmeal, but I have whole flax I could grind up. I'm hoping just finding a bread they will both eat will help alot because they both loved sandwiches before going gluten-free.

I never even thought about sending smoothies! I think that is something they both would go for. They love them at home. I guess I just worry about them having a "main dish" too much. It isn't doing them any good if they toss it and they do eat well at home.

I probably send way too much food every day too, because I worry that if I only send what they will actually eat, the schools will think I am starving them. Noah is in first grade and he is allowed a snack every afternoon, which he always eats. Rustin is in fifth and they don't allow snacks, except for during ISAT week.

I don't think the school understands why I'm having them go gluten-free in the first place, even though I went in and talked to them. Both the school secretary and the principal thought it was okay for them to get a little wheat just once in a while because they both knew Celiacs that could have wheat "now and then". And we haven't been to the gastroenterologist yet so I don't have a note, just the suggestion from our family doctor that we go gluten-free and see if it helps.

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Maybe you could ask the boys what they want. It's possible they want food just like their friends are eating or that certain foods are "cool".


Gluten-Free since September 15, 2005.

Peanut-Free since July 2006.

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We're trying something a little different here today.

I made a "menu" of the different lunch things we have in the house. I used category headings- fruit, veggies, meat & alternatives, grains/seeds, dairy, treats. I made a list under each category. When the kids got home from school I asked them to write their "order" for tomorrow's lunch- including at least one item from every category. Only 1 item could be ordered from the "treat" category (they didn't need to order a treat if they didn't want to, Ha Ha! Our treats are usually small, eg. 1/2 dozen potato chips, etc.).

My son said... "Hey cool". My daughter came in while he was "ordering" and said "Do I get to choose my lunch too?".

I'll be interested to see what comes back home in the lunch bags tomorrow afternoon.


Suzie

London, ON, Canada

celiac disease diagnosed by pos tTG March 2006 and pos biopsy June 2006

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snack pack pudding, fruit cups, rice cakes with nutella, homemade cocoa pebble rice crispies, dry cereal in a bag and buy a milk at school to pour on it, envirokid bars, chips and salsa or bean dip, string cheese, flavored milk boxes, squeaky cheese(cheese curds). last year, when my twins were in junior high, they occasionally brought things to put in the school fridge and used the microwave to heat it up---they could do it agin this year, but haven't yet. jello jigglers would be fun. i also try to have some sort of chip for them to take. my 12 year old takes ham slices. i have also bought her foil packets of salmon---she likes to eat it plain.


Christine

15 year old twins with celiac, diagnosed dec. 2005

11 year old daughter with celiac diagnosed dec 2005

17 year old son with celiac gene

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OOOhhh...I can SO relate. We found out that our 7 year old daughter has Celiac 2 weeks ago. Since then, I have been trying to come up with creative things to include in her lunch. SHe has rejected every single one and today I almost felt despair seeing that she had yet again not eaten her lunch. She comes home starving and crying. We used to buy her school lunches which she happily ate. I read a lot of suggestions as replies to your post and that felt helpful.

So much of my despair comes from feeling a fear that I can't give her the nourishment that her body needs. I even had the thought today that perhaps we should go back to home schooling so that I can make sure that she eats...and that's crazy talk b/c she loves public school so much.

I'm finding that this process is much more difficult emotionally than I had anticipated. I walked down the store aisles the other day crying looking at all of the things that she would never be able to eat. Also, the planet all of a sudden got really small and my dreams of us traveling around the world felt dashed...how are we possibly going to be able to travel to places other than mainstream, western cultures?

I hope that this process smooths out. I suspect that it will and that I will find things that she likes to eat...but in the meantime, man this is a DRAG! :(

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Gabriella, there is definitely a mourning process that occurs when your child is first diagnosed with Celiac Disease, and every once in awhile this will pop up again even when you think you've fully accepted it and moved on. But I promise, it gets better. I had the moment of crying in the grocery store, too, but at least cooking at home now is actually kind of fun as I try out and create new recipes. One way I dealt with it was that I promised myself that I would become the best gluten-free cook around (I can't actually say I am that, but I can say I am trying to work on it at least ;) ). Cooking has become my number one hobby, and luckily for me I already liked to cook anyway. And as for travelling, it just takes more thought ahead of time and adjustment on how to eat. Many have commented on the fact that Europe actually is more aware of gluten-free cooking than the US is, and much of Thai, Indian, and Mediterranean food is already gluten free, you just have to verify ingredients. Disneyland and Disney World also have gluten free options (check out the latest "Living Without" magazine, www.livingwithout.com) What is tough while the kids are still picky eaters is eating out since kids at a young age aren't necessarily going to be willing to have a salad with oil and vinegar, plain chicken, and a baked potato that hasn't been cut. But as they get older, it will get easier. And in the meantime, just bring the food you need with you as you go out to eat or visit people. Every time I've gone to a restaurant and bring my son's food, I just explain he has food issues and can't eat anything but I order a drink. I've never had someone even raise an eyebrow at me.

As for the lunch foods, I don't know what to suggest. My son has become the pickiest eater ever, and about every 3-4 days he changes what he's willing to eat. I've just given up worrying about whether or not he'll get hungry. Eventually, he gets hungry enough to eat something that we have :)

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This is a fun subject for me because I have a son who is going through a tremendous growth spurt. He has grown four inches in four months. He is a terrible nightmare with the hormones and all, but worse is the eating. My poor daughter lamented recently that she was hungry. When I told her to go find something to eat she said there was nothing left because her brother ate everything in the house! She wasn't exaggerating.

Here is what I prepare for my growing son. I found the most wonderful bread products by Glutino at my WHolefoods store. They are poppy seeded bagels and large french bread loaves. Now, for the bagels, I toast them lightly and pull just a bit of the center dough out. I fill the doughless tunnel with real peanut butter. Next I put a bit of his favorite jelly on the other half. I take the dough out in order to get as much peanut butter as possible into the sandwhich. He is ravenous at lunch time. I have found that sending him to school with Lara Bars and Glutino cereal bars in his pockets is the only thing that keeps him on his feet until lunch time. He has actually been to the nurse and had me called in simply due to hunger from these growth spurts of his. He cannot function when he's growing like this. I take him home and he will literally eat and sleep, eat and sleep..... His best friend is only 13 and 6feet 1inch tall. That boy's mother has helped me to remain calm during the growth spurts. Of course, she does not have to remain on a gluten free diet, but I need to confirm that my child is not abnormal. Just going to be huge, that's all.

I feed him a large breakfast, but he typically consumes four Lara bars by lunch time, eats his lunch, comes home in a near fog from "starvation" and eats whatever he can find until dinner.

Other lunches that work for him are the glutino french bread loaves. I use a toaster oven and toast them slightly with a little olive oil and garlic salt. I let it cool, add mayonaisse and the Applegate farms gluten free, nitrate free, dairy free smoked turkey breast. I add lettuce or mustard or apple cider vinegar whatever he wants that day. He can eat the entire french bread sandwich and still be looking for more. These are very tasty sandwiches. "Just like Subway", he says.

Another meal he enjoys is kinkinnick pizza crusts baked with oil and garlic salt. I send that in with a large bowl of chicken salad and a spoon. He simply piles the chicken salad onto the triangles of kinkinnk pizza crusts.

This being said, my son is not a picky eater. None of my children are which is good because if I work to prepare it, I expect it to be eaten!

I believe if your child is hungry, he will eat. My son didn't eat much when he was younger. I never knew what a growth spurt was until this year. I didn't know a teenager could become seriously deranged from hunger. If your child isn't eating now, save your money for the growth spurts to come. I spent $1200 on food last month..for four people. I believe he ate $800 of it all by himself!!!!!!


The American Diet of Chips, soda, ice cream, Goldfish Crackers, bread for breakfast (cereal, donuts, waffles, toast, bagels) cereal bars, "gummies", candy, msg, dairy products of all kinds, soy, and other chemicals - is Killing us and promoting diseases. BE HEALTHY. EAT NATURAL FOODS. DO NOT INGEST CHEMICALS! If you cannot pronounce it, do not eat it. Use Coconut oil. Eat herbs in salads. NO DAIRY. LOVE YOURSELF. LOVE YOUR FAMILY. FOOD IS MEDICINE!

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gabriella---i think an awful lot of us have done the "crying in the grocery store" thing early on. i can remember standing in the isle of walmart fighting back the tears as i read labels.


Christine

15 year old twins with celiac, diagnosed dec. 2005

11 year old daughter with celiac diagnosed dec 2005

17 year old son with celiac gene

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Yes ~ I have cried in the grocery store, and also been really ticked as I watch people just pile their carts without seeming to think about what they are picking. In addition to being gluten-free, she also has other allergies to watch for.

I *love* the menu system of the kids ordering from each category for the next day! I think I'm going to do that with Carleigh. She would think that is fun!

I wanted to add that if you send smoothies, make it a bit thick. Also, put water and ice in the thermos for at least 20 mins to help keep it cool. Maybe we could all post a "What's for lunch today" for a while.

Today's menu for Carleigh:

Tinkyada pasta in a hot thermos - not sure if she will want sauce or not.

Baby Carrots with Oil/Vinegar

Applesauce

2 KToo Cookies

Water

Snack will be fresh green beans.


Mom of:

Carleigh~ 10 years old, allergic to wheat, milk, peanuts, strawberries, and many EAs. She is currently soy-light and egg-light ~ celiac testing inconclusive by allergist.

Gluten-Free since 10/05 She's a gymnast. : )

Nick ~ 13 years old with no known allergies.

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I had trouble with this too, but threatening to come supervise lunch every day cleared it up. I also told her if she hadn't eaten her lunch, she couldn't have snack (I know, I'm so mean) but could finish her lunch. Things really got better after that. At first I thought she was just throwing it away at school so I wouldn't know, but she wasn't as hungry when she came home so clearly she was eating.

The key for us has been making lunches as "normal" as possible. While her main entree is something special to stick with the gluten free diet, her sides are usually the same or similar to her friends. She packs applesauce cups or fruit, raisins, individual bags of chips (which I never used to buy but use as a treat so she'll like her lunch) and Capri Sun waters (which are much lower in sugar to juice boxes).


Mom to 3 girls

DD1-diagnosed by allergist 10/2006

DD4 & DD9-diagnosed by Mom 01/2007

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Gabriella, I felt the same way as you when my son was first diagnosed. One advantage I had was that he was 13 months and didn't know what "gluten" food was. Don't worry, you'll get used to it and be able to go out to eat and travel. We go out to eat often, and always talk to the restaurant manager first. We ask for plain meat, chicken or hamburger, cooked in a clean pan, and steamed vegetables with no sauce, or fruit. The manager usually has to watch the cooks make it because they don't always understand and cook it on the grill. Most restaurants know us now. Others have gluten free menus. We have travelled, not internationally, but I know lots of people have. You will get to the point where you go up and down the isles and see all the things your daughter can eat. There are a lot of "regular" foods, it just takes a while to figure it all out and feel comfortable with. You are not alone-I felt the same way. It feels very overwhelming. Hang in there-she'll heal and be healthy and happy in no time!

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Ok - I'll admit it, I was a grocery store crier too. Now I see other moms staring at the gluten free shelf sobbing or trying to find the blue box of Annie's mac 'n cheese and I am eager to help. It will get better for you and for your daughter!

The lunch issue is really a critical one for us because Camryn is diabetic. We count every carb she eats and she gets insulin for the amount she is supposed to eat. Then if she doesn't eat it there is going to be a problem (ie. dangerous low blood sugar). We alslo went through the not eating the lunch thing shortly after the gluten-free diet started. I know this approach is not for everyone, but I told her that as long as she doesn't "play me" or manipulate me with food I will do everything in my power to make it better for her. If she has a lunch that she feels she really can't eat, I will bring her something else, but she has to tell me what so I can get it to her quickly. She also went through some mourning time (and also intestine healing time, I think). She used to take pb &j sandwiches every day. Then she hated the gluten-free bread so we had to get creative. I also look at the school menu and plan to bring her a hot lunch (only like twice a month) if it is mac 'n cheese day or grilled cheese day or something she loves. That really makes her happy (because she is only 6 and I don't embarass her yet).

Other ideas that she likes have been chili and corn bread, taquitos, pasta salad a snack plate of cheese and crackers, hummus, chips, mini carrots, etc.

Then all of a sudden we discovered that amazing Lorka bread and viola, we're back to pb&j everyday like nothing ever changed. There is pretty much nothing that we can't substitute with gluten-free so no more food mourning, she doesn't feel different and eats her lunch! Life does go on! :P


Daughter, Camryn diagnosed with diabetes 3/06

diagnosed with celiac (blood test and biosy confirmed) 5/06

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Maybe we could all post a "What's for lunch today" for a while.

Here were my two kids' choices for today's lunch:

6 yr old:

mandarin orange segments

1 pepperoni stick

cucumber slices

baby carrots

1 white cheddar rice cake

minigo

chocolate milk

4 gummy candies (Dare brand- real fruit gummies)

8 yr old:

blueberry yougurt tube

chocolate milk

2 white cheddar flavour rice cakes

1 slice of ham

mini-carrots with caesar salad dressing for a dip

1 pkg sesame snaps

a chocolate pudding for a treat

Suzie


Suzie

London, ON, Canada

celiac disease diagnosed by pos tTG March 2006 and pos biopsy June 2006

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Today's lunch:

gluten-free 7 year old

2 slices banana bread (about 2" x 2" big - I use big mini loaf pans, not the tiny loaf pans)

1 hard boiled egg, sliced

2 slices ham rolled up into one rollup with shredded cheese

handful of almonds

1 homemade breadstick (leftover from Roben Ryberg's recipe)

1 glass sugar free koolaid (tupperware glass with lid & straw)

NGF 9 year old

taco salad (taco chips, cheese, sour cream, lettuce)

He forgot his thermos of taco meat on the counter, so it won't be a very good or filling salad.

1 glass orange juice (tupperware glass with lid & straw)


Linda, Mom to Ty (11 years old)

Ty was diagnosed by blood test June 7/05

biopsy Aug 11/05, diagnosis confirmed Aug 18/05

Mom, Dad and big brother Celiac-free.

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