A Parent’s Guide to the Gluten-Free Diet for Kids
Raising a child with Celiac Disease, allergies, and intolerances can be daunting. It’s difficult to implement the gluten-free diet for kids at home, but outside the home it can feel nearly impossible. Learning to thrive when a child has a serious dietary restriction is hard—but many parents have navigated this tricky road well and are here to share their tips with you!
Keep reading as parents share their top tips for raising kids on the gluten-free diet.
Are you new here? I also have the following posts to help you implement the gluten-free diet for kids without the stress!
- How to live a gluten-free lifestyle when you are CRAZY busy
- The guide to eating out SAFELY when you’re gluten-free
- How to make ANY recipe gluten-free
- 4 Steps for preventing gluten CROSS CONTAMINATION in the kitchen
- 15+ easy ideas for gluten-free LUNCH for kids
…and of course, you should join my EXCLUSIVE Facebook community “Stress-Free Gluten-Free” by clicking here!
The gluten-free guide below is based on personal experience and research. Always be sure to discuss any medical changes with your doctor for your personal medical needs. Additionally, this post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. My full disclosure isn’t that interesting, but you can find it here.
Raise Your Child to Advocate for Themselves
“My top tip is to teach your child to research, ask, and advocate for themselves. Teach them to be confident in reading labels and menus and in asking if they’re not sure whether a snack or dish is safe for them. In addition, teach them how to answer people who ask why they’re gluten free, to easily explain their reasons.”
-Jennifer writes at Life Beyond the Lesson Plan, both she and her 21 year old son have Celiac Disease
Ready to take back control of your meals and love your gluten free life? Take the 45 second quiz to get a personalized plan with the guide you need to thrive!
Keep Your Home Clear of Gluten
“As a nutritionist who has worked with lots of gluten intolerant and celiac kids, my best tip would be to keep all gluten products out of the house. That way, the gluten-free kids aren’t tempted to eat those foods and they don’t get upset when their siblings are eating foods that they can’t eat.”
-Kelly Martin writes at Natural Health Maven and has a 12 and 14 year old with gluten intolerances
Also… did you know that play doh contains gluten? Either look for a gluten free version (like Aroma Doh) or make up some Oobleck for some gluten free fun! Here’s an easy guide for how to make oobleck.
Gluten-Free Snacks for School and Beyond
I personally think it’s a great idea to make special snacks and treats for your kids that are either naturally gluten free (such as making them naturally gluten free Turkish Delight when you’re reading Narnia) or a gluten free version of one of their favorite treats like chocolate lollipops or goldfish crackers. Having staple gluten free foods for kids is a MUST!
Here are some more great ideas from gluten free parents:
“It really helped my daughter to go gluten free when I started keeping gluten free snack and treats on hand. We would bring them everywhere, especially friends and relatives houses. She picked them out herself and whenever everyone else pulled out snacks or dessert she pulled out her own and didn’t feel left out or upset anymore.”
-Miriam writes at Cradle Kitchen and has a 3-year-old and 10 month old who are gluten-free due to intolerance
“To keep my son from feeling left out at birthdays, I keep a frozen batch of gluten-free cupcakes in the freezer so you can easily bring one to birthday parties or for classmate birthdays. Schools can likely provide a list of birthdays for the classroom so you can send one in, and our daycare actually let me send in a package of mini gluten-free cupcakes that they kept in their freezer so I didn’t have to worry about it.”
-Sarah is a social worker in New York and has a 4 year old with gluten and dairy intolerance
“Snacks are our weakness, so many are flour-based. We snack on fresh fruit at home, but that’s not always an option (especially on-the-go). So, I buy gluten-free baking mixes to make our own treats. Or, I carefully read labels to find pre-made treats at our local health food store.”
-Stephanie blogs at Rural Ruby and is raising 4 children ages 3-13. Stephanie, her husband, and one daughter must restrict their gluten consumption
If you have a little who needs gluten-free food on the go, there are some great pouch options. I really like the ones by Serentiy Kids.
“My best advice would be to find products that you can buy in a pinch that your kiddo will always eat. We’ve found that veggie straws are a great snack option we can find at almost any gas station!”
-Rachel writes at This Crafty Home and has a gluten-free 4-year-old due to allergy
Plan Gluten-Free Kids Meals With Success
“I recommend making sure that your desserts are gluten-free. So many times we’ve almost had an accidental exposure and they always seem to be sweets! Now we tell the kids ahead of time that they have a special dessert and they know to wait for it.”
-Charisty Haislip writes at Fire Dept. Family and is navigating the gluten free diet for toddlers raising a 2 & 4 year old with FPIES allergy
“Try and stick to foods that are naturally gluten free. It will teach your children to eat healthy and it will save money on your grocery budget! If you do feel like you need to have gluten free items (like cookies, granola bars, etc) for your children, try and make them yourself! There are so many excellent tried and true gluten free recipes available now that you are sure to find something your children will love.”
-Merissa blogs at Little House Living and has two children ages 7 and 5 who are gluten-free due to a gluten/wheat intolerance and behavioral issues
Meal Prepping for Busy Families
“The biggest help for keeping my little one happy away from gluten is to ALWAYS be prepared with a gluten-free alternative (fruit, jerky, cheese stick, etc.). If we are out and she gets hungry, it’s a big challenge to find something out and about that is gluten-free.”
-Sarah writes at My Baby’s Best Friend and has a 3 year old who is gluten-free due to Sarah’s diagnosis of Dermititis Herpetiformis
“Make easy to warm up breakfast items in bulk and freeze. My kids love banana oat pancakes and berry oat muffins. I mix them up in the blender and then cook or bake as many as I can and freeze them so I have them for a few weeks!”
-Ashley is the owner of McFit Momma Coaching and is raising a 1 year old with gluten intolerance
“Find a flour mix that works for you and recreate their favorite foods. I have found that most gluten free products contain way more ingredients than what is necessary and often don’t taste all that great. I love to bake so I worked really hard to get the right flour mix and now I can substitute my flour for all purpose in any recipe.”
-Rachel blogs at It’s Sew Rachel and has an 11 and 13 year old with allergies to gluten
Always Do Your Research
“Don’t forget to check that the medications your children are taking (including vitamins) are gluten free. Many over-the-counter products now have “Gluten Free” specified on the packaging. When filling prescriptions, make sure the pharmacy staff knows if your child has an allergy or Celiac Disease. Your pharmacist can help make sure the product you receive is gluten free and packaged in a way that minimizes risk of cross-contamination. The website glutenfreedrugs.com is an excellent resource to help you find gluten free medications.” -Michelle Lewis, PharmD is a Pharmacist with gluten sensitivity.
“When we go out, we make sure the restaurant has a gluten free menu before booking. We enjoy a fish supper at a chip shop that caters for gluten free 1 day a month, it’s after they change the oil before they serve all the non-gluten-free people.”
-Jane owns Class on Glass and has a niece who is 18 with Celiac disease
What’s they key to loving your gluten free life? Take this quick quiz to get a personalized plan with the guide you need to thrive!
As we’ve seen, raising a child with allergies, intolerances, and Celiac Disease can present unique challenges – from dealing with the grocery store to navigating restaurants and school cafeterias. Yet, with dedication, flexibility, and a good support system, it’s entirely possible to thrive when navigating the gluten free diet for children despite the difficulties.
By following the tips shared in this article, you’ll be well on your way to ensuring your child grows and develops in a joyous and healthy environment. Remember, you’re not alone in this journey – there are countless resources available to help you each step of the way. So don’t be afraid to take the next step – you have all the tools you need to succeed!
With proper planning, preparation, and a positive attitude, you can make sure your child will have every opportunity to laugh and learn to their fullest potential – no matter what allergies or intolerances they may have. So take a deep breath and remember: You can do this.
Do you have any favorite tips for navigating the gluten free diet for kids?
If so, please share them with us in the comments below!
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Other posts for gluten free kids you may find interesting:
- Top Tips for Simple & Easy Gluten-free Living
- Best Gluten-Free Gifts to Give
- Simple Gluten-Free Lunches for Kids
- How to Stay on a Budget when Eating Gluten-Free