A Guide to the Gluten-Free Diet for Kids
If you or your kids have been diagnosed with gluten intolerance, you may be wondering how to adapt your family's diet. Here's everything you need to know about the gluten-free diet and gluten free snacks for kids and how to make healthy choices that are still tasty.
What is gluten?
The protein gluten is found in the grains of wheat, barley, rye, and oats. It's what gives bread its elasticity and chewiness, it's what makes dough rise and gives bread its chewy texture. Gluten can be found in a variety of processed foods including chips, ice cream, pizza dough, and soy sauce (to name a few).
What is gluten intolerance?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. When you eat foods containing gluten, it can cause reactions if your body cannot digest it properly. Some people may have a condition called celiac disease which causes inflammation of the small intestine when they eat foods with gluten. Symptoms include bloating, nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Some people with celiac disease can be sensitive to even small amounts of gluten without having any symptoms while others will only experience symptoms after eating high amounts of food containing this protein over time.
If your child has been diagnosed with celiac disease or has been told by their doctor that they are intolerant to certain types of food then they need to follow a strict diet plan that ensures all products contain no traces of any form of wheat or other types of grain products (barley and rye).
How do you know if your child has a gluten intolerance?
For parents who are concerned about the gluten-free diet for kids, it can be overwhelming to try to determine whether or not your child might have a gluten intolerance. Here's a quick guide:
- Symptoms of Celiac Disease include diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. Your child may also have anemia (low red blood cell count), osteoporosis (weakened bones), or delayed growth.
- Other symptoms of celiac disease include fatigue, headaches, or joint pain that are relieved by taking Tylenol or Motrin.
- Possible causes of celiac disease include having one parent with celiac disease or being born in families where there is a strong history of other autoimmune diseases such as Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid disorders. It also runs in families where there are no other autoimmune diseases present but still has a genetic component as well as environmental factors such as pregnancy complications or infections during infancy that could trigger autoimmunity later on in life after eating enough gluten over time which eventually causes damage to small intestine cells responsible for absorbing nutrients from food into the bloodstream which results in malnutrition due lack nutrients absorption - resulting in severe health problems like osteoporosis because bone marrow does not produce enough red blood cells called "anemia".
- Tests for identifying if someone has celiac disease include biopsy samples taken from the intestines during an endoscopy procedure/scoping tube inserted through the mouth/throat down the esophagus into the stomach followed by swallowing contents back up into the throat without swallowing tube itself; these samples then sent out the lab
Why do so many kids have food allergies these days?
The rise in food allergies has been linked to a lack of exposure to allergens. We’re also seeing more cases of celiac disease and other autoimmune disorders, which are associated with a high incidence of gluten sensitivity. There’s no one answer as to why this is happening, but it could be that kids today have less opportunity to come into contact with certain foods that don't agree with their bodies—either because they've been removed from them too early or because they're not being introduced until later than before.
How to tell the difference between an allergy and intolerance.
- An allergy is a reaction that occurs when the body's immune system overreacts to a substance it perceives as harmful. This can be triggered by foods, medications, or natural substances like pollen or latex.
- Intolerance refers to an adverse reaction to a food substance in which the body has difficulty processing it properly. Common intolerances include lactose intolerance (which is not the same thing as having an allergy to milk), mild gluten intolerance, and fructose malabsorption.
- Celiac disease occurs when someone's immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue in the small intestine after eating gluten. Celiac disease can lead to other health problems including anemia, weight loss, and short stature if left untreated.
What are the symptoms of gluten intolerance?
If you suspect that your child has a gluten intolerance, it's important to understand the symptoms of a gluten allergy and how they differ from other conditions. Common symptoms include:
- Frequent stomach pain
- Weight loss
- Fatigue (a feeling of tiredness and lack of energy)
These symptoms can occur with other health problems as well, so it's important to see a doctor if your child is experiencing multiple symptoms. In some cases, doctors may request blood tests or a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.
How long does it take to recover from gluten intolerance?
How long it takes to recover from a gluten intolerance depends on the severity of the intolerance. Some people recover within a few days, while others find that they need months or years. It is important to be patient and not give up: if your symptoms persist, see your doctor.
Gluten-free alternatives for kids.
As you know, a gluten-free diet can be a challenge for kids. This is especially true if they are picky eaters or have special dietary needs. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite products that your child will love!
- Gluten-Free bread: There are many brands available at grocery stores, but our favorite is Udi's. It tastes great and is easy to make sandwiches with when you're in a hurry.
- Gluten-Free pasta: Explore the world of gluten-free pasta by trying different shapes and styles from Trader Joe's or Whole Foods Market. Give your child something new to experience with every meal!
- Gluten-Free Cookies: Oreos may sound like an unlikely option at first glance (and there are plenty of healthy alternatives), but these cookies taste delicious when paired with fruit or other snacks on the go! Just don't tell them about their secret ingredient...
Home packing for school lunches
- Bread: There are a lot of great brands out there now, including Udi's and Glutino.
- Snacks: Some good choices are Larabars and gluten-free pretzels.
- Lunchbox ideas: A fun lunch is always more fun when you can eat it with your hands! Try out these fun finger foods like cucumber boats or bite-sized mini quiches with different fillings (like spinach and goat cheese). If you want to give them something extra special, consider making homemade yogurts in mason jars!
Gluten-free snacks for kids.
- For parents who are just starting to feed their children a gluten-free diet, the idea of snack time can seem daunting. But the fact is that most kids enjoy eating and need food to keep them going at school or on play dates. Here are some tips for stocking your pantry with healthy, tasty treats that won't make your child sick:
- Make sure all snacks are gluten-free—not just foods you buy at the grocery store but also items you make yourself (like granola bars). Many packaged foods and even restaurant meals may contain trace amounts of wheat or other ingredients derived from wheat flour, which is why it's important to consult labels carefully when shopping for gluten-free products.
- Be wary of preprocessed "snack" foods like chips and candy bars made with hydrogenated oils; these will raise cholesterol levels in children as well as adults and can contribute significantly to weight gain over time. Instead, look for baked goods with natural fats such as coconut oil or palm kernel oil instead of trans fats; nuts instead of potato chips; dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate; dried fruit instead fizzy drinks etcetera...
Even with a gluten-free diet, kids can eat healthily and thrive.
Even with a gluten-free diet, kids can eat healthily and thrive. There are plenty of gluten-free alternatives to the foods your child loved before going gluten-free.
If you're thinking about starting your kid on a gluten-free diet, remember that it doesn't have to mean saying goodbye to all the fun foods they love. Kids can still have fun with food by trying new things and experimenting in the kitchen. Gluten-free kids may not be able to participate in certain activities at school or sports teams (and this may be challenging at first), but they can still be active and healthy outside of these structured settings!
Allowing yourself time to make adjustments will help ensure that life is as easy as possible for everyone involved—and make sure that your child has enough energy to keep up with their peers!
We hope this article has given you a good introduction to the gluten-free diet for kids. It’s important to remember that even with a gluten-free diet, kids can eat healthily and thrive. And remember that this is just one of many different types of diets available! If your child has allergies or sensitivities, it might be time to start looking into other dietary restrictions—or at least make sure they’re getting enough protein in their meals!