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On Raising a Gluten Free Child

Raising a Gluten Free Child

It’s been a few months now since Raeca has joined Jared on the gluten free band wagon. I know I shared at the beginning of the summer that we were testing her for Celiac since it is hereditary and she was displaying some of the classic symptoms for it, but I don’t think I ever shared the results. A few days after getting the test done the doctor called to tell us that she tested negative.

While some would think that would be a good diagnosis I was kind of disappointed* because I knew that gluten was indeed affecting her in a negative way and now we had no real “proof” (medically speaking). Despite her diagnosis (or lack thereof) we have continued to assume she at least has a gluten intolerance and time and time again we are assured we are doing the right thing, when we will eat at other people’s houses and even though we (and they) are as careful as possible to avoid any gluten contamination and yet she is sick for days afterwards.

Raeca has been handling the transition to a completely gluten free diet so well. She actually likes almost every gluten-free food that we’ve sent her way and has even eaten gluten-free breads that Jared has tried his best to eat but just couldn’t handle. This has been such a blessing.

I thought with foods like goldfish crackers and pretzels still so fresh in her memory that the transition would have been more difficult but it really hasn’t been the case for her.

Today I wanted to share a few things that we have done that I believe have helped this transition.

EXPLAIN THAT GLUTEN HURTS THEM
We’ve explained to Raeca that it is gluten that makes her tummy hurt, so when we are over at someone’s house and she asks for a delicious donut or other treat all I have to do is tell her that it has gluten in it and she understands, she never whines or complains about it because she knows what it does to her.

MAKE SURE THEY KNOW TO REFUSE SNACKS OR ASK IF IT IS GLUTEN FREE
Raeca isn’t even 4 years old yet and has gotten quite good at either declining snacks when offered by kids or asking adults if the food is gluten free. It is something we’ve chatted about at home, she knows that she isn’t supposed to share food with other children because she may get sick.

MAKE SURE OTHER ADULTS KNOW
Sometimes kids just forget to ask about the food, it’s bound to happen, if you can make sure to keep any adults in the loop who will be in charge of potentially giving your child food you can reduce the risk of contamination. Our families and close friends know as well as her preschool teachers.

HAVE GLUTEN FREE FOODS AVAILABLE
If we go to a friends house for lunch or the evening I always try to make sure to bring food along that she can eat. Sometimes that means I bring an entire meal and sometimes just a snack. Raeca will be starting preschool this week and they will often have “special days” where kids will bring a special snack, I already have a list of days and I plan on sending her gluten-free cupcakes on those days.

GET THEM IN THE KITCHEN
Kids are always more willing to try food when they have helped to make it. Get them in the kitchen pouring and mixing and they will be more interested taste testing afterwards.

Do you know any gluten free children?
Are there any tips you would add to the list? 

*Just to clarify: I was disappointed that we didn’t have a clear diagnosis for Raeca, NOT that I wanted her to have celiac. 

Linking up with Gluten Free Tuesday.

16 Comments

  1. In Due Time September 8, 2014

    Great post! We do gluten free too! Nothing processed in our house and we will do the same thing with all of our kiddos 🙂 Excited that they will grow up eating healthy foods 🙂


  2. Zaby September 8, 2014

    I am very health conscious and i try to eat the best foods for myself. I started eating gluten free food and i love how it will help me in the long run


  3. Whitney September 8, 2014

    This is a wonderful post…seriously, a lot of people don’t think about this!


  4. Allie Seidel September 8, 2014

    Thanks for sharing! I’m gluten-free, and always think about the possibility that my someday kids may be also. Good tips and advice here!


    • Chantel -A Harvest of Blessing September 10, 2014

      Thanks Allie, having a parent that is gluten free is definitely easier I think. Our whole house is actually GF since I didn’t want to have to worry about cross contamination every single day I just decided I would eat GF when at home as well.


  5. megan w September 8, 2014

    I was recently tested for Celiac’s and gluten sensitivity and I was so disappointed when the results were negative. I was really hoping that it would be positive so I would finally have a answer to all my GI problems. I am mostly gluten free anyway, but am a little scared of plunging in. Though your post made it clear, If a four year-old can do it so can I!


    • Chantel -A Harvest of Blessing September 10, 2014

      Yes, you can! It definitely take a commitment but it’s worth trying it for some time to see if it makes a difference for you. It took about a year eating GF before my husband started to feel back to normal. I hope it works for you!


  6. Finley September 9, 2014

    thats awesome! well done and great work – for her to be understanding that so young is a fantastic thing and definitely would make things easier for you! I had a similar thing, where i was tested and told not, but still having gluten/wheat/dairy affects me – you know it does when thats the thing you stop and then you are okay and then have it and instant reaction. mine never lingers longer than a day and i have the choice to say yes to something or not, but the long term affects on the digestive are to me, the most concerning! great post!


    • Chantel -A Harvest of Blessing September 10, 2014

      Yeah, it’s hard when you know it’s causing the problem but not having a clear diagnosis. If either Jared or Raeca are contaminated (this is not even eating gluten, just eating around people who are eating gluten) they are both sick for about a week.


  7. sabrina September 9, 2014

    Very helpful post! Thank you!


  8. Sandi Gaertner September 10, 2014

    I used to make sure my child’s teachers had a baggie of Dum Dum lollipops in her drawer. I found parents often brought unannouced treats, making it difficult for me to have something for my child. I also made sure my kids knew that if a surprise treat showed up at school and there was nothing for my kids, that I would make up for it when they got home.


    • Chantel -A Harvest of Blessing September 11, 2014

      Ah yes, once we get to the point where she is in actual school I’ll make sure we send something along at the beginning of the year. Thankfully it’s just preschool right now and the special treats are only allowed on certain days. And that’s sweet that they knew they could always get something at home if they didn’t have something then. In a way it teaches children some good patience 🙂


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