Gluten-Free for Kids

Gluten Free Food for KidsGetting the news that your child needs a gluten free diet  probably sends most parents into panic mode.  Luckily, there has never been a better time to be gluten-free for kids than now with the new labeling laws and all of the delicious food items recently created with this special market in mind!  Gluten-free products such as bread, flour, crackers and pasta are readily available these days and actually taste good! 

Here are four simple hints to help you find gluten free food for kids:

1.  Look for the gluten-free (GF) sign on labels
2.  Read labels carefully as gluten is sometimes used as a food additive
3.  Ask if your grocery store has a list of gluten-free foods they carry
4.  Many snacks for kids are rice-based and therefore gluten free

 

What you CAN include in a gluten free diet for kids:

  • Meat (unbreaded)
  • Eggs
  • Dairy (milk, butter, real cheese, yogurt)
  • Beans and legumes
  • Nuts
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Rice of all kinds: white, brown, basmati, jasmine, etc. Remember, many kid-friendly and tasty snacks are rice-based!
  • Quinoa
  • Soy
  • Buckwheat
  • The following list of ingredients with less familiar names:
    • Maltodextrin
    • Lecithin
    • Oat gum
    • Silicon dioxide
    • Food starch
    • Glucose, dextrose, sucrose and lactose
    • Citric, lactic and malic acid
    • Arrowroot
    • Cornstarch
    • Guar gum
    • Xantham gum
    • Tapioca flour or starch

Gluten-free Lunch Box Ideas for kids lunches:

  • Cubed roasted chicken and cheese
  • Rice and bean burrito made with a gluten-free tortilla
  • Cottage cheese and fruit
  • Yogurt
  • Hardboiled egg
  • Gluten-free deli meat rolled with cheese in the middle
  • Tuna or chicken salad
  • Hummus with gluten-free crackers and veggies
  • Soup or stew in a thermos
  • Oatmeal (stir in seed or nut butter for extra protein and flavor) in a thermos
  • Homemade trail mix with nuts and dried fruit
  • Pumpkin or sunflower seeds
  • Fruit – dried, fresh, canned
  • Veggies
  • Edamame
  • Homemade smoothie
  • Tortilla chips with ground beef or bean dip

The following list of suspicious foods might contain gluten. Make sure and check the label:

  • Spices, seasonings, bouillon (HINT: If there is no ingredient list on the spice, it only contains that spice and no gluten)
  • Sauces/gravies
  • Imitation meat or seafood
  • Processed meat or cold cuts
  • Salad dressings
  • Soups
  • Oats (can be exposed to wheat during the growing or processing phases – look for GF)
  • Soy sauce
  • Seasoned snack foods
  • Seitan
  • Licorice
  • Medications/vitamins
  • Play dough
  • Foods with these less familiar names of wheat:
    • Bulgur
    • Durham or graham flour
    • Farina
    • Kamut
    • Semolina
    • Spelt
    • Matzo
    • Cous cous
    • Malt