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3yo Daughter Diagnosed Last Week ... What To Do About Meals?

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My 3yo daughter was diagnosed with celiac last week. She already has reflux and psoriasis so this is just the icing on the cake. Anyway ...

We rushed right out and bought gluten-free cereals, crackers, etc, etc and even a bread machine, which we excitedly used to produce a loaf of pretty tasty bread. However, now that the initial flurry of activitiy is over and we have to get down to day-to-day living, I'm really struggling with meal planning. My husband and I work and with these new dietary constraints, it's not like we can just whip something out of the freezer or pantry and have a good but simple dinner ... until I totally restock my pantry and freezer, that is. What I need is menus planned out for at least a week at a time. I can't run to the grocery store for a replacement ingredient all the time, you know? It also seems like with gluten-free, we're eating the same things over and over and over. I'm sure we've only explored the tip of the gluten-free iceberg, but I really need a map!

Are there menus available, complete with shopping lists? What about school lunches (which is a whole other issue for my texture-averse daughter, although she is getting better, seemingly in just the last few days).

This has rapidly gone from "oh, this will be an easy change" to "I am so overwhelmed. :huh: " Any help will be much appreciated.


Catherine's mom


Mom of Catherine - 01/18/05 (Celiac, Reflux, Psoriasis)

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Hi Lesley and welcome!

First of all, you will want to eat simply. Make out a list for each day of different foods. For instance:

Monday - Chicken, Broccoli, Rice

Tuesday - Beef, Green Beans, Quinoa

Wednesday - Pork, Salad, Corn

Thursday - Turkey, spinach, potatoes

Friday - Fish, brussel sprouts, buckwheat

Something like this might make it easier to plan meals. I have found soups very helpful. I use gluten-free broth and then throw in whatever meat and veggies I have around. I add spices and sometimes rice or rice pasta for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Soups freeze very well and you can easily make them serving size and microwave for a quick meal.

A lot of people on here like things like tacos, chili, etc. too.

I do not know of any formal eating plans. But a trip to the bookstore sounds in order!

GLUTEN FREE 4/4/08. LEGUME/SOY FREE 5/15/08. YEAST FREE. CORN FREE. GRAIN FREE. DAIRY FREE. I am eating all meats, eggs, veggies, fruits, squash, nuts and seeds. I just keep getting better every day. :)

Do not let any of the advice given here substitute for good medical care. Let this forum be a catalyst for research. Find support for any post in here before you believe it to be true. Arm yourself with knowledge. Let your doctor be your assistant. Listen to their advice, but follow your own instincts as well. Miracles are within your reach. You can heal!

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Hi Lesley, welcome to the board. I'll list some of our "quicker meals" or some of the "quick" versions of things:

Tacos - Ortego - we use the seasoning, sauce and shells

Spaghetti - Tinkyada brand is our favourite (lots of the board agrees) and comes in lots of shapes (elbow, lasagne, kid shapes, etc), I make my own sauce, but lots of jarred sauces are OK. I know that Ragu will list any gluten on their label. I know the Classico red sauces are OK. I know there are more but can't think of them at the moment

Hamburgers - daughter prefers bun-free

Hot Dogs - BallPark Franks will list gluten (part of SaraLee) and Oscar Mayer will list their gluten (part of Kraft) - once again, bun-free

Grilled Cheese - (with bread from your new bread maker :rolleyes: )

I always make two casseroles - one to eat and one to freeze. Progresso Soups will list their gluten - I use their creamy mushroom (pureed because you can actually see the mushrooms and that wouldn't go over well in this house) and their creamy chicken and wild rice in my casseroles

Same with pizza - I make a pizza to eat and then I make and cook several crusts to stack in the freezer to pull out for a quick meal.

Thai Kitchen has some stir fry rice noodle packages - just add some meat and/or veggies

Hormel lists their gluten - they have a pork roast and beef roast in aus jus (NOT the gravy ones) that are quick

Most Ore-Ida fries are OK (not the seasoned ones) - check their website to be sure of a particular "cut", but their regular, crinkle cut & shoe string are good.

Betty Crocker's Potato Buds are OK - I'm not an instant mashed potato eater but they are quick when you need 'em.

Wal-Mart's Great Value Brand Au Gratin (and Scalloped, too, I think) Potatos are safe

Bacon & Eggs always work here - we're more likely to have it for supper than for breakfast

grilled/bake chicken

roasts in the crockpot - there's a crockpot thread going right now where they've listed the link to a gluten-free crockpotter - she's got some good recipes in there.

I make extra rice, too, for a quick stir-fry (LaChoy soy sauce is OK).

I use crushed rice chex to make my meatloaf. I used chopped up toasted freezer waffles (Van's or Trader Joes gluten-free waffles) tossed in butter and seasonings as a topping on my casseroles (replaced stove top stuffing mix in the recipe).

For lunch, my daughter's favourite is to eat peanut butter and nutella on a (room temp) pancake. I make loads of pancakes (from Pamela's pancake and baking mix) and freeze the leftovers and pull them out one at a time as needed. Also, peanut butter on a rice cake or corn thin (same sort of thing as a rice cake but thinner). I will eat tuna/chicken/ham salad this way but she's not into those . . . yet. I've also read where people will buy the tostito scoops (baked or regular) and scoop up their tuna(et al) salad.

Here is a list of companies that do not hide the gluten in their labels. So if the "natural flavoring" is derived from a gluten source, it will call it out.


If you have any favourites that you are having a hard time replacing. Let us know and we'll recommend a product or recipe.


Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted.


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Hello, my 2-yr old was just diagnosed as well. It has been less than a week and I am finding it much more difficult than I thought it would be. But from the seasoned gluten-free folks, they say it gets easier. DS has been such a picker eater lately, that I, too, am having real troubles finding meal ideas. DH and I both work as well, so I get very little 'playtime' with DS because I have to spend an hour or so after work preping meals.

I am mostly concerned about inadvertantly contaminating something since the house is not yet gluten-free. The tips from Darn210 and ShayFL are great. I have been trying to keep a binder of the various info I find online for easy reference. It has been less than a week and I have almost filled the binder!

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I can imagine it is hard for people who are used to easy and pre-packaged foods.....not to mention take out.

But I have been cooking my own foods for the most part for as long as I can remember. Even in my early 20's I would make vats of lentil soups to eat during the week at work.

I just prefer home cooked foods. They taste better to me.

This whole thing has been made easier for me by keeping it simple.

One of my favorite meals is to bake a chicken. It takes about an hour and 1/2....but all you have to do is put in a pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake. It makes the house smell soooo yummy. Throw some acorn squash cut in half when there is 30 minutes left to the chicken. Buy ready to go salad...and SUPER EASY meal. I sometimes throw some rice in the rice cooker for this meal. THIS IS MY DEFAULT MEAL. And there is always left over chicken for me to have for lunch the next day. :)

I also have a dutch oven and make pot roast. If I want it to cook faster, I buy thick steaks instead of a huge pot roast. Then it can be done in an hour and 1/2. Buy pre chopped veggies to throw in the pot with the meat. And throw some cut up potatoes in there 1/2 way through cooking.

Another family favorite is "stir fry". You dont need a wok. I have a huge pan. They sell pre cut baggies with the veggies. And you can get pre cut up meat too. It cooks super fast on med to med/high heat. Uncle Ben's boil in the bag rice (10 minutes) and a ubber fast yummy meal.

Quiche!! If you can have eggs is easy to make too. Buy gluten-free pie crusts. Mix up eggs with a tlb. of gluten-free flour and add whatever meats/veggies/cheese you like and bake.

GLUTEN FREE 4/4/08. LEGUME/SOY FREE 5/15/08. YEAST FREE. CORN FREE. GRAIN FREE. DAIRY FREE. I am eating all meats, eggs, veggies, fruits, squash, nuts and seeds. I just keep getting better every day. :)

Do not let any of the advice given here substitute for good medical care. Let this forum be a catalyst for research. Find support for any post in here before you believe it to be true. Arm yourself with knowledge. Let your doctor be your assistant. Listen to their advice, but follow your own instincts as well. Miracles are within your reach. You can heal!

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Guest Angi

the easiest way to shop and eat, and also the quickest way to prepare food, which is accessalbe nearly to all of us is to shop at a butcher and a fruit and veg store. fresh food doesn't contain gluten. My 2.5 is fussy and willnot eat stirfrys and things but I get lots of mince...chicken pork, beef,lamb. I make spag bol, lamb meatballs, my own chicken chippies with some glutenfree breadcrumbs and grated vegies, the whole family eats this. Jeremy won't eat salad so he eats chicken chips and I toss them through a salad for us. I buy a pack of gluten free corn chips and make nachos. Roasts or silverside in a crockpot could be cooking while you work with whole carrots in there as well. Meatballs I have on a bed of mash instead of pasta. We don't buy much prepackaged food. Morning a d afternoon teas he eats fruit and some almonds. He hated it at first but eventually they will eat. All of the things I cook I make double helpings and then for the second week I can just defrost and serve.

Give yourself a couple of months and then your mind will go by itself. You will evenutally be able to think of your own recepies. the hardest part is the fussy bit. You will find though that she may eat less and still put on weight because her body isn't being damaged.

Get some corn pasta and make a sauce from pumkin and zuccini and then toss over some crispy bacon bits and stir through some cheese. Freeze helpings of it. If your husband wants something more sustaing fry up a quick piece of meat to have with it.

rice paper spring rolls can be made and frozen. Make enough for two or three nights.

Lunches are hard. I havn't become guru at that one yet and I dread school lunches but....its only food.

good luck you will be fine.

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My family has been gluten free for 3 months now. It does get easier but the first month or so is really, really rough. I bought Living Gluten Free For Dummies by Danna Korn (I'm not sure if that's how you spell her first name) and it was a life saver. I love the way she writes.

I use my crockpot a lot. Tonight I threw in skinless chicken breasts and Classico red sauce, cooked it on low for about 7 hours and stirred in Great Value brand (Walmart) Italian shredded cheese the last 5 minutes. I served it over Tinkyada noodles. Tinkyada brand is the best (in my family's opinion). Yummy and easy!

Walmart's Great Value brand says Glueten-Free right on the package for all of its gluten free products. That is a huge help.

For my 8-year-old son's school lunches we do string cheese, Hormel Natural deli turkey, and Lay's Stax. He also likes Kinnikinik's brand of "Oreo" cookies. I do a small thermos with hot dogs or mac and cheese (Tinkyada elbow pasta + Velveeta + milk = Yum!). He also likes Glutino brand "Ritz" crackers with sliced cheese. I buy the bite sized Hershey bars and put one or two in his lunch for a treat.

One thing that I have learned in the past 3 months is to buy one package first to see if your family likes it rather then going crazy and buying tons of something only to waste it .luten free specialty food is way too expensive to do that! I remember getting so excited that first week when I found Ian's chicken nuggets. Pre-dx my son lived on Tyson chicken nuggets. I bought 5 boxes. He took one bite and hated them. Now I am stuck with 5 boxes of chicken nuggets and out $25.


1989: I am diagnosed with IBS.

3/08: 8-year-old son diagnosed with Celiac (blood test and biopsy) and allergies to corn, egg whites, soy, peanuts, walnuts, wheat, and clam.

6/08: My Celiac test is negative.

7/08: I go completely gluten free despite negative test and NO MORE IBS SYMPTOMS!!

7/09: My Enterolab gluten sensitivity gene testing results indicate I have one Celiac gene and one gluten sensitivity gene.

8/09: I am diagnosed with Celiac based on gene testing results and positive response to diet.

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My son and I are gluten free, my husband and daughter are not. I make everything gluten-free. All are meals are prepared safe for us. My best time saver trick is to make all my chicken on the weekends and freeze it. I bake three pounds at a time and shred it or cube it. Then freeze it in one pound bads. Then come a week day I can make stir fry, sweet and sour, tacos, whatever and it's fast.

Addie, wife to Dennis, mother to Gillian (4) and Rook (2)!

Gluten and Corn Free since 02/6

Soy and Peanut Free since 07/08

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First of all, it really does get A LOT easier. The first month is tough. There's no getting around it. You have to relearn so much about your kitchen and the food you eat (at least I did). But, I used to HATE cooking. Baking was OK - mostly because I have a sweet tooth and I liked the results! Now I actually like being in the kitchen. I'd love to quit work and be able to just tinker in there, but that's not possible. I'm not saying everyone ends up liking cooking, but I sure have. It was something I thought I would never be good at, so who wants to try something they feel doomed to fail. Now I have learned I can cook!! All that said, I still work and sometimes I need fast and sometimes we want some of the old favorites. So here's some of those you might like:

Mrs. Leeper's dinner mixes - we love stroganoff and cheesy hamburger. They're like hamburger helper. They also do well the next day in a thermos for lunch. I refuse to look at the nutritional content of these. I'm sure they're just as packed full of sodium as ham. helper, but my hubby and son really like them and they are 15 minute meals and I need that sometimes.

LaChoy Chow Mein - again, high on sodium but something we used to eat occassionally and really enjoyed. Now it's my soccer night meal. It's about 5 minutes excluding rice preparation.

Bell & Evans Chicken nuggets, tenders, and patties - Bought them for my son, but I love them (and I NEVER would have thought I'd see the day I would say I liked a chicken nugget!). I pair them up with fresh veggies and we have a finger food lunch that gets dipped in Hidden Valley Ranch dressing. Oh, and yeah, my son loves them too...

Amy's frozen mac and cheese - a bit pricey, but it was the only mac and cheese product my son likes. Another good lunch on a Saturday meal.

Gorilla Munch, Panda Puffs, Amazon Flakes - we mix the gorilla and panda with other items to make a sort of trail mix. I keep it stashed in the glove box of the car for those out and about hungry moments.

Lara Bars - I'm addicted to them. My son likes them.

Gluten Free Sensations Cookie Mix - I add chocolate chips or M&Ms. They are fantastic and every bit as good as a gluten cookie. I mix them up and then freeze balls of the dough to pull out as necessary/wanted.

Kinninnick cakes - I make the cakes and freeze left overs in individual pieces wrapped in saran wrap and foil for later.

Fried Rice - rice stir fried with egg, frozen peas & carrots, shrimp or ham, and mushrooms. La Choy soy sauce is gluten-free. This is a staple for lunchboxes around here.

We love Ancient Harvest Quinoa pasta and I use it for all kinds of pasta. We love pasta - spaghetti, cold salads, hot salads, lasagna, alfredo, egg plant or chicken parmesan, etc.

We have pizza night once a week now. Last night was pizza and a movie. We ate pizza in the living room while watching a movie. We try to do more "fun" eating at home since we haven't ventured out of the house to eat yet. But with a 3yo you probably aren't worried about that yet!

Despite the looks of some of this list, we eat pretty healthy and simple most of the time. Grilling is great. I love to grill veggies that have been marinated in Italian dressing, any meat, corn on the cobb, BBQ, etc. I made a list of all the things I knew how to make when we first started out in January. I broke them down by typical meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, side dish). Then we'd sit down on the weekend and pick out the week's meals and I'd make my shopping list. It was time consuming at first, but it really helped me. We aren't that regimented now. I mean it when I say it really does get easier and we've only been at it since Dec.

Good luck and do let us know what else you need!

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I work full time also and it is hard especially in the beginning. But... it does get easier as everyone said. Think of cooking dishes that can be eaten more than once during the week. Beans and rice (affordable and tasty). I use Gluten-free mac n cheese in the box to make my own "tuna helper" I add tuna and broccoli. Even my hubby like it. I also make casseroles. Chicken rice and broccoli.

On Sunday I cook a whole (3-6 lbs) chicken in the slow cooker. Sunday we have chicken, roasted veggies, and rice. Mon. leftovers, Tues. beans and rice, Wed. chicken stir fry, Thurs. soup, fri Gluten-free pizza (I use the Namaste crust mix) Sat and Sun I prepare real meals...lol.

My son also has texture issues. To help with dinner I will give him fruit as a snack when we get home. I also cook a few sweet potatoes for him to eat at daycare. I provide all of his food for daycare, I learned the hard way early on that no one reads labels like me! It takes lots of experimenting.

You may also want to consider the public library for some Gluten-free cookbooks. They actually tell me now when the get new books! My problem with some of them was they had some crazy ingredients hard to find in rural Southwest VA. I am glad that I checked them out before I bought them! I did a lot of experimenting!

Good luck!

Knitting is a gluten free hobby!

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MY daughter is 3 as well and was diagnosed when she was 18 months old.... Here is what I stock up on:

1. Gluten Free Pasta (I prefer Quinoa or Brown Rice)

2. Corn Starch, Potato Starch/flour

3. Chi ken Broth

4. Canned tomato products

5. Corn Tortillas

6. Gluten free Breadcrumbs

7. Gluten Free Frozen Pizza for Emergencies

Then the rest is typically what I would have in my pantry anyhow.

I suggest making a list of your favorite foods before celiac disease come into play and seeing if you can play with the recipies to make them again. I've found that substituting cornstarch or potato flour for regular flour works great when cooking and its not that hard to make your own cream of whaver soup... its just a matter of planning.

I've found over the past years that cooking becomes very easy its just a learning process here is what we are having for dinners this week:

Monday: http://www.heb.com/mealtime/recipe.do?reci...tegoryId=PA0000 (I make my own meatballs following this recipe http://www.kraftfoods.com/kraftparm/main.a...recipe_id=54327 I typically double the recipe when I make it and freeze what I don't use that night so I have a stash when I need them ) and use gluten free pasta plus Classico Pasta Sauces

Tuesday: Bratwurst boiled in Redbridge beer and grilled with no bun and all the topping you like.

Wednesday: Grilled pork chops with a pepper and herb de provonce dry rub and a salad

Thursday: Left over night

Friday: Tacos with all the fixings in a crispy corn tortilla (I've also made enchaladas a HUGE batch and froze them for a different week)

Saturday: Chicken Paella with sausage

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