Gluten Free Meal Ideas For Kids And Families
Most recipes can be adapted for gluten using affordable ingredients. With a little creativity and savviness, you can avoid buying expensive gluten free substitutes and instead use what you already have!
Below are my go-to tips for making delicious gluten free substitutes kids and families enjoy!
How Do I Know If My Child Is Allergic To Gluten
There are some signs and symptoms that could indicate a gluten allergy in your kid:
- Resistance to eating gluten foods
Its important not to assume that seeing these signs means your child is definitely gluten intolerant!
If you suspect it based on some parent detective work, you should get it checked by your childs pediatrician.
Summary: If your child has symptoms of gluten sensitivity, have them evaluated by the family doctor.
Time For Grilling Easy Gf Dinner
Speaking of grilling, grilled meat and baked potatoes or sweet potatoes plus a veggie side is a great go-to while youre figuring out gluten-free and dairy-free all at once.
Most classic summer picnic sides are still ok: Baked beans, potato salad, coleslaw. Always read ingredients for sneaky gluten or dairy though! Creamy salad dressings MAY be thickened with eggs , but definitely skip the ranch.
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Why Is Gluten Bad For You
Its important to understand that foods containing gluten arent inherently bad.
It wont affect everybody negatively, and most people can go about their lives eating whatever foods they like without any nasty side effects.
Those of us whose bodies dont deal well with gluten, however, can suffer some debilitating symptoms when exposed to it through food.
An intolerance of gluten is known as celiac disease.
When people with celiac come into contact with gluten, it kicks off an autoimmune response that attacks the small intestines lining to get rid of the problem ingredientgluten.
The inflammation triggered by the autoimmune response results in bloating, abdominal pain, and impacts the bodys ability to absorb good nutrients.
People with gluten intolerance usually show additional symptoms of anemia and unexpected weight loss.
Only about 1 percent of the US population suffers from celiac disease, but if youre one of those 1 percent, youll understand why gluten gets a bad rap!
Learn more about gluten in this video.
Check Out This Inspiring Interview With Dr Kilbane She Does Her Best To Ease Your Way Into Dairy
After watching my husbands amazing experience with going on a grain-free elimination diet meal plan and then figuring out it was gluten that bothered him and hearing statistics like:
One in three Americans may have some issue with gluten,
Im to the point where when anyone talks of an unexplained malady, a pain that they cant get rid of, or a health issue that doctors cant figure out and are just medicating, I automatically think, They should cut gluten.
When I see a child out of control or struggling academically or with their health, and especially when I notice dark circles under their eyes, I think, I bet they have a dairy problem.
I cant always be right. Not everyone can have an issue with gluten and dairy.
But one in three just for gluten is a pretty huge percentage of the population.
So maybe its a good idea to follow the advice of Dr. Tom OBryans, searing words that I heard on a podcast way back at the beginning of our journey and Ill never forget:
If anyone has a health issue of any kind, they should start by cutting gluten.
It might not help, but what if it does?
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Focus On The Other Food Groups
Like fruit, with no-sugar-added fruit cups and whole fruits. I always try to make sure fat and protein are high in other parts of the lunch when we send fruit, so Leah ate a lot of apples and nut butter for a while. Adding some trail mix with crispy nuts and coconut is a great way to bulk up nutrient density too.
Important Tips To Remember When Shopping For Gluten Free Recipes:
Read Also: Gluten Free Bread Crumb Substitute
Simple Gluten Free And Dairy Free Recipes For Kids
This post may contain affiliate links.
Being the parent of a child with allergies is not easy. Not by a long stretch. While there are certainly worse things that could happen, the constant worry your little one will put something he or she cannot tolerate into their mouths is a constant fear many parents endure on the daily. Also? Trying to find gluten free and dairy free recipes for kids that are easy to make and that actually taste good can sometimes feel impossible.
As parents, we want our kids to experience all of the joys life has to offer, and when their friends are chowing down on pizza, cookies, and cupcakes at birthday parties, we want them to have the same experience. And while friends and family might think a cheat day wont do any harm, they are sorely mistaken. All it takes is one small bite of an allergen to cause a severe and sometimes fatal allergic reaction, making it difficult for parents and caregivers of kids with allergies to relax.
From Zucchini Banana Oatmeal Pancakes to Paleo Pizza Crust, weve rounded up 24 of our favorite allergy-friendly recipes for kids who cant tolerate gluten and dairy.
Eat Leftovers For A Gf/cf Lunch
And we always rely on dinner leftovers for lunch anyway, so when youre creating lovely GF/DF meals at night, just pack some leftover grilled meat or a thermos of soup for lunch.
Involve the child in the shopping
If lunches are a source of pain and frustration for your kids, its totally understandable. This may be where they feel the change the most and also have other friends to compare to who are still downing PB& J and yogurt tubes.
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Creamy Gluten Free And Dairy Free Tomato Soup
Since we are running with the trend of soup, check out this GF and DF tomato soup! Made with real tomatoes, theres no need to add milk to make this soup tasty!
http://www.faithfullyglutenfree.com/2013/09/creamy-gluten-free-and-dairy-free-tomato-soup.html Photos and Recipe By: Faithfully Gluten Free
Pea Protein Is Causing A Mighty Problem For People With Allergiesyour Browser Indicates If You’ve Visited This Link
The otherwise innocent looking pork sausage contained an unexpected ingredient – pea protein. As the trend for veganism and gluten-freediets grows, food manufacturers have been busy replacing wheat and other ingredients in processed food with a highly concentrated form of dried peas.
Huffington Post UK
Also Check: Grain Free Substitute For Breadcrumbs
Advice On Raising A Gluten
Children with celiac disease can grow up normally and be happy and healthy. It takes pre-planning, either by verifying safe food will be available when they go to someones house, a school activity, a party or some other event or by preparing food that they can take. There are many examples of children whove never let the diet stand in their way from preschool through college.
The best thing a parent can do for a child with celiac disease is convey the message that the gluten-free diet does not have to limit them in any way. Being positive is extremely important. Kids with celiac disease often have a great attitude and deal very well with the fact that there are times when they cant have some foods the other kids are having. Usually, that attitude is fostered by their parents who make sure preparations have been made so their child does not feel deprived. Food is often less of a big deal to kids with celiac disease than their parents.
When she was diagnosed with celiac disease at two years old, I worried that my daughter would not be able to grow up happy and healthy. But shes now 27, and she went through everything from preschool to college in a perfectly normal way. We decided early on that the diet should not stop her from doing anything she wanted, and thats how she has lived her life. She participated in activities ranging from Girl Scouts to dance team, went to college far from home and studied abroad in London. Now shes all grown up and getting married.
What About Getting Enough Calcium While Dairy
I know my favorite holistic and integrative MDs, Dr. Elisa Song, and Dr. Sheila Kilbane, would want you to know that you shouldnt worry about your child getting enough calcium when they go dairy-free.
This seems to be a huge concern in the mainstream, but they spend a lot of time reassuring parents that calcium is found in many non-dairy foods, and its often easier to absorb anyway so you dont need to obsessively count milligrams.
Foods high in Calcium:
- All greens, especially spinach time to make coconut milk smoothies, and a great chance to try kale chips if you havent yet
- Black-eyed peas
- Salmon and trout, especially canned salmon with the bones if that freaks kids out, you can make salmon patties by using a food processor first
- Sardines are very high, although not something people automatically think is kid-friendly. You can buy them in a can and if you mix them up with mayo and mustard like tuna salad, maybe some dill pickles too, some kids actually find they LOVE sardines! Who would have guessed?
Calcium is often fortified in non-dairy milk and a whole bunch of other stuff, but thats not necessary and not very bio-available anywayespecially for an elimination diet that might not even be forever, this is not something to worry about supplementing.
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Cheesy Salsa Verde Rice & Beans Breakfast Bowl
The Spruce / Stephanie Kirkos
A hearty combination of beans, rice, cheese, salsa verde, and eggs, this breakfast bowl makes a mighty fine lunch or dinner, too. It’s super customizable, too: use your favorite beans, white or brown rice, and your favorite salsa. Add a sautéed or roasted vegetable like spinach or broccoli.
Tips For Eating A Gluten
Before we dive in, let me remind you that ALL recipes on Downshiftology are gluten-free. So really, that means you have hundreds of recipes to choose from. But Ive rounded up 40 or so of my favorites in this post for you today.
Starting a gluten-free diet may seem tricky, but it doesnt have to be. The key is to focus on all the things you can eat, and nourish your body with simple, wholesome, and nutritious ingredients. Thats the best way to make your gut happy!
Simple Vegan Tofu And Vegetable Stir
Stir-fries are an easy and cheap lunch or dinner option. Toss all of the veggies you have lying around together with a tasty sauce and call it a day. Make sure all of your ingredients are gluten-free, especially the soy sauce. If desired, you can swap the tofu for stir-fried chicken or pork.
Mexican Food Is Great
Mexican food still works! Check ingredients carefully on the taco seasoning and use corn tortillas or corn chips instead of flour tortillas, and youre good to go. But refried beans, Mexican rice, and taco meat are all typically gluten-free. Just be in the habit of reading any packages you might use, or make from scratch!
Also Check: Gluten Free Substitute For Bread Crumbs
Chipotle Pulled Pork Lettuce Wraps
Having some pulled pork before watching some Sunday afternoon football? Make some GF and DF pulled pork and serve in lettuce cups with a little avocado. It accommodates a wide variety of eating restrictions and taste SO good.
http://fashionablefoods.com/2015/10/27/chipotle-pulled-pork-lettuce-wraps-with-avocado-aioli/ Photos and Recipe By: Fashionable Foods
A Gluten Free Diet And What To Look Out For
Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley, malt, and brewers yeast. Gluten is the protein that gives dough its elasticity, holding it together, and giving it a soft, pliable structure.
When reading food labels you should look out for the obvious red flags, such as wheat, rye, barley, and malt. However, even if grains, like oats and rice, are naturally gluten free, they may have been processed on equipment shared with wheat products.
To be confident look for a certified gluten free label on the package or cross reference with the manufacturers website. Although first experiences shopping gluten free can be overwhelming and time consuming, it does get easier! Once you are familiar with safe products its easier to grab and go.
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Chicken Nuggets Dont Have To Die
If youve been a big chicken nugget family in the past, there ARE decent gluten-free chicken nuggets now, but you can also try baked or grilled chicken without breading, or use one of my homemade gluten-free chicken nugget recipes.
Just remember, dont try a new recipe every night and certainly not multiple new endeavors in one meal!
Bit by bit, you can buy some gluten-free flour, try a recipe here and there, and after a few months, youll have some new family standbys that you feel super comfortable with.
My best tip? DONT worry about replacing your familys favorite bread-based recipes too quickly. GF baking is a skill unto itself, and youll want to have some successes before jumping into that arena.
Try ALDIs gluten-free pretzels for a munchy-crunchy snack, and when youre ready to try that GF flour, start with muffins or pancakes as they are very forgiving!
RELATED: Haley shared beginner steps to a gluten-free diet years ago with lots of encouragement that applies here too!
Gluten-free can be confusing but it doesnt have to be hard!
Im thrilled to share a FREE gluten-free cheat sheet mini eBook to help get you started!
This is perfect if youve just been told you need a GF diet, if you have a friend or family member eating GF and youd like to cook for them, or if youre just curious what its all about!