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How To Adjust Young Children To A gluten-free Diet

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Hello. I'm new to the forum, however I have used it as a resource for about a year now as I have gone gluten free. I am now planning to take my children gluten-free as well because I see them experiencing the same symptoms as I did as a child. My concern is how in the world I will convince them that they can no longer have chicken nuggets at Mc D's or donuts at church... My 5 year old kind of understands and is open to the idea because she's ready to not have her tummy hurt everyday but I am scared of tackling this with my 2 year old. How does one go about helping a child adjust to a gluten-free diet when they are too young to really grasp the concept? Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

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I am curious at what tips people will give you. I don't have children. However my family has suffered from the effects of a mother who was restricted from gluten as a child and then turned around and did not protect her children (or herself) even though she should have known better.

This same syndrome seems to be happening with my eldest sister. Her children think she is nuts even though on the gluten-free diet she is so much physically better and able than she was. They'd rather experience intestinal distress and depression than be open to observing a gluten free diet.

As children their mother put them on a very restrictive allergy free diet and since then they of course rebelled.

And now here I am unpopular with my siblings for letting them know about the gluten-free diet and trying to re-introduce it to my aged mother last year... Grudgingly they see some truth in it, but the other part of it has made them demonize me... At this point I have washed my hands of them. However I acknowledge I should have been more politic...

I think the most important thing is not to force others. If you do, they will rebel. I think too making the diet interesting and tasty will help too...

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I also do not have kids, but two suggestions I would make in this situation is 1) make sure the adults around your 2 year old know what s/he can't eat. That way you will cut out them offering something that your child can't have (like donuts at church), you may want to set up a system so that your 2 year old checks all food with you before eating. That way you can approve it until s/he is able to know what is okay and what is not. Also make sure any daycare that your child attends also knows. It will be important for them to make sure you child doesn't trade food with other children. 2) When you know that there is going to be food available that your child can't eat, make sure to bring other tasty snacks so your child doesn't feel left out. This includes church and school functions to name a few. I read through Gluten Free For Dummies and it had a whole section on helping your children go gluten free. If you have not looked at it, I suggest it as it has a lot of good ideas. I hope this transition goes well.

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I think the biggest thing when moving your kids to a gluten-free life, is to stay positive and focus on all the foods they can have and not what they can't. You can make french fries and chicken nuggets at home--let them help, kids usually love to help in the kitchen.

These are all still options (check ingredient labels)



Pudding cups

Fruit snacks

cheese sticks

pirates booty

chex, gorilla munch, koala crisp and PB panda puffs





ants on a log

homemade cookies

homemade donuts (pretty easy to make)

There are a lot more, but like I said, I focus on all the positives. When we are having a family or church function, I will talk to the kids ahead of time so that they know they can only eat their food or food that mommy gives them. They are NOT to take food from anyone else. I will remind the adults to "please not feed the kids" We've never had an issue with our dd at all and she was 4 when she was diagnosed. Our son was 2 1/2, so it was more difficult with him but consistancy is key.

Good luck!

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This is a mixed-bag for me! First off if the children are not tested to know for sure ie: blood, Dna, endo. then how are they going to eat at school? Most want documentation that a kid needs to be on this lifestyle. On the other hand for me it wouldn't matter but for school it matters.

We have two kids both tested so our school allows them use of the micro, fridge, freezer & bringing in gluten-free foods to be prepared. I just don't see that happening without some documentation. By law the school has to provide gluten-free food but we don't press that , we pay for it if they take precaution in preparing & serving. We are lucky the director of food service is very good.

now on to gluten-free foods. Our kids are not missing out on anything. I can make anything gluten-free & it is very good.

The one child was 2 1/2 when the gluten-free diet came into his world.

I think making the change is easy. It helps kids to see parents eating the same way for a while & bragging up how yummy this or that is. If it is to expensive after awhile you can just serve the child gluten-free.

Now to some great tasting gluten-free goodies:

Bell & Evans gluten-free chicken nuggets

Dutch Country gluten-free soft pretzels

Glutino gluten-free pretzels,

celiac specialites gluten-free donuts, stuufin mix & more

Conte's pizza, ravioli, pierogi's, pizzas & more

Joans great bakes: bagels, eng muffins, pizzas & more.

Graham crackers from Joseph's or the grainless baker.

We love Annalise Roberts cookbook Baking Classics. Recipes for ice cream sandwiches, cupcakes & more

Shari Sanderson's cooking for kids.

Elizabeth Barbone has several cookbooks. There are so many available.

You may have to do mailorder as many of us has to do to find the best in gluten-free.

Amazon has free shipping on many items & has good prices.

There are great recipes here in the recipe section.

Your mainstream grocery has hundreds of items from national companies that offer gluten-free items.

Progresso. swanson's. kraft. oretega, ore-ida & many many more.

If you want an in depth list just let me know...

I would also suggest checking for a dairy allergy.




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I have Celiac, but not sure if my children do yet.

My advice to you is based on my experience eliminating something else out of their diets: food colouring. My children react to food dyes, their temperment drastically alters upon consumption. When we first started this new 'diet', honestly, it only took them about 5 days to get used to it. They argued at first, but I always had an "alternative' ready when we were somewhere and other children got to eat stuff they didn't. now, even at birthday parties, when the other kids are drinking koolaid and eating smarties, they know they can't have it, and don't even blink an eye... Food dyes are in EVERYTHING from donuts, cookies, candy, gum.. so really they are limited.. I digress.

My point is, stick with your beliefs and they will quickly change their lifestyle and gluten-free will become their norm. My daughter reads all labels with my MIL takes her shopping and will tell her what she can't have because she reads the word "colour" or "flavour" on the package...They adjust and they get over it.. Just always keep an alternative tret hidden in your purse, so if someone offers them something, you can give them something else as a treat.

Hope I was helpful...

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