Serenity Health Care Center – It’s back to school time and parents often struggle to find a healthy alternative to school lunch as if this isn’t hard enough, finding gluten-free options are even more challenging. Eating gluten free is often a goal. Many parents do this by choice, for others it is a must because their child has Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disease that damages the lining of the intestinal tract when exposed to wheat gluten.
Eating Gluten Free
There are many gluten-free options in stores today. Some of these options are healthier than others. Many of the grocery stores even have gluten-free sections to make it easier. You still must read the label because ingredients change frequently.
Dr. Muth says the best choices for all kids, including those with Celiac Disease, are fruits and vegetables. Those are all gluten-free. Dried whole fruit slices are good alternatives to fruit roll ups. Granola and cereal bars that are labeled “gluten-free” are also great choices for kids. There is also gluten-free bread if you want to make a sandwich for your child. Our favorite is Udi’s brand breads and buns.
If you child has Celiac Disease, you need to be extra careful about eating gluten free. Notify the school so that they can assist in keeping the eating environment clean and clear of gluten. The staff will need to be educated because many people do not realize what gluten is and all the hidden sources it is found in. Place your child’s food in a separate plastic container. Advise your child to keep their food away from other food, even crumbs that contain gluten. The slightest amount of gluten can cause a severe reaction in some children.
Plastic containers should never be frozen or heated in so teach your children to warm in paper or use glass containers for warming. Use the food containers as a plate to protect their food. This will prevent their food from coming into contact with contaminated tables.
Exposure to gluten in a child that is intolerant can lead to cramping and abdominal pain, fatigue and even behavioral problems. These symptoms can be so debilitating that they cannot return to class. Education is key when it comes to eating gluten free.