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Bobbie Jo

Sending gluten-free Kid To Camp

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Any tips on sending a week's worth of food to camp on a bus? My plan so far is to label everything by meal and day and pack it in dry ice. College kids will be running the kitchen and my son will not be allowed to prepare his food.

A lot of things on the camp menu he can eat, so I'm just subbing the things he can't, like parmesian chicken, burritos, roast, pizza, brownies.... lots of cooking to do!

But the camp is 6 hours away and I have to put him and his food on a bus.

Thanks!

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First, it probably won't be very safe for him to eat any of the food prepared at the camp.CC is wayyy too risky, atleast it would be for me. Maybe it would be safer to send all his food? :)

Second, you will be able to pack his weeks worth of food just fine! I've travelled to Africa and Canada, and gone to many youth camps in just the past year and a half I've had celiac.

Will he have access to a microwave?

And does he have any other allergies/intolerances besides gluten?

What I do for trips is pack either 1 or 2 chicken salads in a lunchbag to bring with me in the car for while im traveling. Since you said its 6 hours away, I'm assuming they will be having lunch and dinner on the road? If not, he will have the extra salad for dinner when he gets to the camp.

For the other meals, make some more chicken salads, and maybe some rice/chicken/vegetable meals. Worse comes to worse, you can eat that cold its not a big deal. If he will have access to a microwave, healthy choice is made by con Agra so read the labels, but the chicken rice soup is gluten free. They sell it in containers ready to put in the microwave. Same with hormel beef stew. Gluten free and ready to cook in the microwave.

If a microwave isn't available, GoPicnics are great! Search it on google and the website will pop up. They have many gluten free options, and that's what I basically survived on in Africa. They don't need to be refrigerated or heated up!

Hope that helps a little bit!:)

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I agree with the previous poster. You don't want to depend on the the camp to be able to keep his food gluten free if he is eating what they are serving. Having been a camp counselor (before diagnosis), there are so many ways that things can go wrong. I would suggest that you send all food for meals and snacks (we had the opportunity for children to buy snacks from the camp store daily) that you want him to eat with him. We have chefs who can't keep food gluten free when in a restaurant (even though they try). I would not trust a mass food making process for a summer camp to be able to do it. Camp for a child would be miserable if he started having problems. I don't know if he has digestive issues when glutened, but often at camps (depending on the camp) bathrooms are not right there. And things like hikes and such can take children away from main camp to other activities where there may not be a bathroom available nearby. So the more careful you are the better. There are too many steps where it comes to children and food and summer camp. Just like I wouldn't have a child eat school lunch, I don't think it would be good to have your son eat food prepared by the camp. If you can talk to his actual camp counselor who will be with him when he eats (his cabin counselor or another counselor), I think this is a good idea. Otherwise information they are getting will be like the game of telephone, and we all know how bad that is. Also LABEL, LABEL, LABEL! Good luck.

One other thing: You will want to figure out who is going to be giving him access to his food. I know when I was a camp counselor, meds were given out at meals (along with other times as needed). This means the camp nurse or doctor may be dealing with his food since it is a medical issue. I'm sure you have already thought of this and talked to the camp, but just wanted to add it on. Meals are always chaotic (at all camps I've been to) because both the campers and the staff are hungry and so everyone wants food.

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I'm getting worried:( Will think thru all of this.

His symptoms are not as bad as mine and my daughter's, he gets more tired than anything if glutenated. Still, it would take away from the fun.

Thanks for these tips though. Being the adventurer he is, he's got to learn to travel and eat gluten-free, like you do Victoria. And thanks for the camp counselor viewpoint Googles.

If he was very sensitive, I would not send him. It looks like I will just need to pack a lot of food.

Thanks again.

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Please, don't get worried! It will all be fine! How old is your son, a young child or a teenager? Does he take care to make sure he eats safely or does he eat gluten when not with you?

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Camp went GREAT! I called the kitchen ahead of time and they actually were trained in how to handle gluten free diets! They even told me how to pack his food. It was expensive - I spent about $170 on gluten free foods for a week, but - they were mostly prepacked, meal sized and microwavable. I got a list of the menu and tried to pack food similar to what other kids were eating. I labeled it in a baggie which meal was for what day and mealtime, then I stored everything perishable in an icechest with dry ice.

Kids at camp were jealous of the foods my son was eating (especially the precooked ribs that I packed), and saying "I want to go gluten free too!")

I even put in some gluten free graham crackers for smores, which my son said was okay.

The only thing he said that didn't work were the gluten free hamburger buns that he said just crumbled.

This camp, by the way, is Kanakuk in Missouri, if anyone is interested in sending their child to an awesome camp where they really care.

Pricey camp, but worth every penny.

Thanks again Victoria and Googles for helping me get serious about this and the tips!

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I'm glad to hear that camp went so well!

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