How to Help Your Child Go Back to School Gluten Free
By: Guest Blogger Taylor Miller with Gluten Away
Now-a-days, Non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) and celiac disease is more common than ever. Many kids have to go back to school gluten-free and face a difficulty that many other kids don’t have to worry about. Having a safe school lunch, being able to participate in school parties, and having meals for sports or after school activities becomes a lot more difficult to manage. As someone who became diagnosed with celiac disease at the age of 13 years old, I know what it’s like to go through these situations! Not only is it hard for the child, but it becomes hard for the parent too. Luckily, I’m here as a former gluten-free kid to share some advice on how to help your child go back to school in gluten-free fashion.
Find gluten free versions of foods that your child loves
All kids just want to fit in and be kids. Luckily, there are tons of gluten-free products out there that mimic the gluten-filled foods that kids enjoy. For example, Canyon Bakehouse provides wonderful bread for sandwiches which makes lunches much easier. If you know your child likes certain foods like cookies, graham crackers, brownies, or other delicacies that may be harder to find, try your best to find them! Nothing is better than being able to eat the foods that you and everyone around you enjoys. As a parent, you’ll feel like a super hero! As a kid, they’ll definitely view you as one ?
Keep your child’s lunches fun and diverse
When it comes to packing your child’s lunch, one of the hardest things you’ll come across is trying to keep it different each time. Most of the time kids don’t mind if they have similar items in their lunch throughout the week. However, after a while, the same gluten-free food can become boring. It’s hard to keep it diverse, but that’s where the internet and food bloggers come in to help! There are many blogs, such as www.keeleymcguireblog.com, that provide fun, gluten free, kid friendly ideas for school lunches. Do some research and change it up a little each week! Your child will definitely notice and appreciate it.
Remind your child that being gluten-free is nothing to be ashamed of
At one point or another your child will get down about being gluten-free. I remember there were many times as a kid where I felt weird for the way that I ate. It’s totally normal! Sometimes kids tease one another about things that make them different. Whether it’s something they say, how they look, or what they eat, it doesn’t matter. The truth is we are different for how we eat. But you know what? Everyone has something that makes them different! It’s important to remind your child that being gluten-free is nothing to be ashamed of. It may get hard sometimes but that’s ok! It’s not meant to be easy. It’s not meant to be fun. Your child should be proud of who they are because being gluten-free is just a small part of who they are. I can certainly guess that you are very proud of them too, so remind them of that!
Make sure your child isn’t left out during school parties or after school activities
School lunches can be easy to plan each day since you know exactly when it’s going to be. When it comes to school parties or after school activities, that’s a whole different story! Some days you’ll find yourself scrambling to put food together just hours in advance. That’s why I always recommend having a stash of gluten-free snacks or goodies ready to go at all times. The last thing you want is for your child to be left out during a school party where cupcakes, cookies, or other desserts are served. If you can, try coordinating with the party planners to have gluten-free options. If not, plan on bringing your child their own gluten-free desserts or snacks so they aren’t left out of the activity. When it comes to sports, pack another meal to go with them or bring it to them before practice. My mom always did an excellent job of making sure I never went hungry during an activity and it really helped me feel like a normal kid. This is the hardest part of parenting a child who is gluten-free, but let’s be honest, I don’t think being a parent was ever easy. Just be there for your child, embrace them for who they are, and all will turn out ok by the time the next school year rolls around.
GlutenAway was started 5 years ago by Taylor Miller, a 15 year old (now 20 year old) gluten-free blogger with celiac disease. “Since getting diagnosed with celiac disease at age 13, it’s always been my passion to help others who deal with similar struggles. I know that families, kids, and teens all deal with some sort of adversity when going gluten-free. That’s why I started my blog, www.glutenawayblog.com, as a teenager to share my experiences and show that if a teen can do it, so can you.