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What do you feed kids who can't eat gluten?

If you child cannot eat gluten, what alternatives have you found to make for them at home,pack for their school lunches, or order for them in restaurants?

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16  Answers

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My family struggles as we not only have to keep gluten free, but low carb too for my daughter with Type 1 Diabetes. I agree with all the ideas posted below, however corn chips and salsa is a scary option as a "healthy" substitute. Our children are so carb addicted as are we adults that I am sad to think that parents believe this is a quick healthy snack. Non processed is best, meaning vegetables, nuts, some occasional low sugar fruits - make your kids eat their salad...don't back down. It kills me to see the children in my daughters pre-k class that turn their noses up to any thing that is not carb or dairy laden. Bad options lead to premorbid diabetes and obesity which are raging through our society. For a healthy grain and rice/corn free option, use quinoa which is uber high in protein and lower in carbs. We bake with a lot of nut flours if you aren't allergic to nuts and we drink almond milk and coconut milk.

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A friend just emailed this to me and I thought of this question. Hope it helps. The source that generated it is at the bottom: Basic Gluten-Free Starter Meals: Easy, quick meals with foods from the “regular” grocery store. Even the most devoted vegan and most ardent carnivore can find something to eat. All take 20 minutes or less active prep time! Breakfast: 1. Greek yogurt with fruit, almonds, walnuts and/or ground flaxseed sprinkled on top. 2. Omelets with veggies and/or cheese. 3. Scrambled eggs/tofu and/or lean sausage (Applegate Farms®, Trader Joe’s®, etc.)***. 4. Cereal*: Bob’s Red Mill® GF hot cereals*, Mesa Sunrise®, many Chex cereals (not wheat)***, etc. 5. Grits and pure maple syrup or butter and berries. 6. Smoothie with fruit, yogurt*, milk, nuts and/or tofu. 7. Cottage cheese or ricotta cheese* with melon, berries or other fruit. 8. Packet of certified GF oatmeal w/ground flaxseeds. Lunch: (some make several portions) 9. Greek salad-romaine lettuce, feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumber, onions, olives. 10. Salsa soup-heat a can of salsa*, a can of black or pinto beans˟, a 2 C thawed corn & add in some broth (Herb ox®, Imagine® and Pacific® ***). Serve w/ cheese (optional) &/or plain tortilla chips. 11. Bean salad—Drained can of chickpeas˟, drained can tuna fish, 1 C cherry tomatoes, 1/4 C feta (optional), 2 TBSP olive oil, 2 T balsamic vinegar or lemon juice. Sprinkle w/garlic salt &pepper. 12. PBJ rice cake sandwich: peanut butter** and apples, bananas or jelly** on rice cakes. 13. Soup: Amy's Organics®, Frontier®, Progresso® have great canned soups tested GF* 14. 3 C baby green mix w/herbs, sliced avocado, 3⁄4 C garbanzo beans˟, a handful tomatoes, some pecans & Parmesan (optional). Mix w/1 TBSP balsamic vinegar/ lemon juice &1 TBSP of olive oil right before eating. 15. Corn tortilla or lettuce leaf wrap with tuna, hummus, avocado, roasted veggies, cold cuts or cheese (Boar’s Head® meats and cheeses ***) lettuce, tomato, pickles, condiments**, etc. 16. Sandwich made from GF waffles and meat or cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, etc. 17. Chef salad—romaine lettuce, arugula or spinach, carrots, tomato, cucumber, peppers, etc. with leftover meat, cheese, a hardboiled egg, nuts or beans˟, with olive oil and vinegar dressing. 18. Cheese quesadilla. Heat a soft corn or brown rice tortilla in a non-stick pan. Add cheese and heat until cheese melts. Serve with salsa*, lettuce, beans ˟, etc. 19. Soft corn or brown rice tortilla wrap with leftover chicken or turkey, pesto sauce or mustard**, lettuce, tomato, cucumber and/or sprouts. 20. Arugula salad: 2 cups arugula or spinach, 1⁄2 can salmon, 1⁄2 avocado, 1⁄2 chopped green apple & a few walnuts. Squeeze lemon on top right before eating. (keep the remaining halves for tomorrow) 21. Cheryl’s famous black bean salad –can of black beans˟, 2 ears raw corn (thawed if not in season), 1 cup tomatoes & 1⁄4 C cilantro, a pinch of cumin and lime juice on top. 22. Hummus salad: hummus** with romaine, tomato, cucumber, red peppers or onion. 23. Quinoa & beans: rinse 1 C quinoa, cook w/ 2 1/4 C broth (Imagine®, Pacific®, Herb Ox®), add in 2 tsp of chili powder & 2 C black beans˟ & 2 C chopped tomatoes. Serve w/lime. (several portions) Dinner 24. Baked salmon: put salmon on parchment paper on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt & pepper, & a fresh herb (rosemary, thyme, tarragon, etc.) or slices of lemon. Drizzle w/ olive oil, bake for 12-15 minutes at 425°. Serve w/ steamed veggies. 25. Grill a burger (check label for 100% beef/turkey) or portabella mushroom. Top with tomato, onion, avocado, mustard**, ketchup or mayo**, etc. and eat with a lettuce 'bun'. 26. Grill chicken, fish or shrimp and peppers, onions, zucchini, eggplant, yellow squash, mushrooms, etc. (many stores sell veggies pre-skewered) 27. Grill or broil steaks and serve with a baked plain or sweet potato. ©Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD 28. Roast a chicken--rub w/salt and pepper, squeeze a lemon on top, put lemon pieces in chicken, bake at 350° for 1-1 1/2 hours or until done. Serve w/ steamed veggies & brown or wild rice. 29. Chicken tenders--dip in egg or milk then dip into breading mix: cornmeal w/salt & pepper or almond meal. Bake at 350° until done (time depends on size). Serve w/steamed or prepared frozen veggies. 30. Flounder, sole, red snapper: bake 4 filets with 1⁄4 tsp of Old Bay® seasoning***, 1⁄2 tsp garlic salt, squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of oil, & a pound of frozen veggies at 375° for 25-30 minutes. 31. Brown 1lb ground turkey/lean beef & drain, or use 2 cans kidney beans˟. Add a can of tomatoes˟, 1 TBSP oregano & 2 C thawed corn. Simmer until done (about 15 min) & serve w/ brown rice. 32. Sauté 1⁄4 C minced garlic w/ 2T olive oil for 1 min & add 1 C of white wine, simmer 2 min. Add 1.5 C cooked shrimp & 3 C thawed chopped broccoli, carrots, peppers, etc. & heat until warm. Sprinkle w/Parmesan cheese & black pepper, serve w/ quinoa, GF pasta or rice noodles if desired. 33. Put 2 lbs baby carrots or 1 diced butternut squash, 1 diced onion & 1-2 lbs free range chicken/beef in a crock-pot, add GF BBQ sauce & cook for 4-6 hrs (high)/8 hrs (low). Serve w/ brown rice. 34. Baked trout with almonds: Sprinkle 4 trout fillets w/salt &pepper. Drizzle with 2 T oil&1 T lemon juice. Sprinkle w/ 1⁄2 cup sliced almonds. Bake at 400° for 20 min &serve w/seasonal veggie. 35. Make tacos: brown turkey/lean beef, add water and taco seasonings (Mc Cormick’s®), serve with plain corn shells or tortillas and lettuce, tomatoes, etc. 36. Hot dog with plain potato chips. (Hebrew National®, Applegate Farms®***). 37. Pour a large jar of tomato sauce over chicken pieces and cook at 350° for 35 minutes or until done. Serve with veggies and gluten free pasta. 38. Eggs: Scramble w/ fresh or thawed spinach, peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes or cheese. For a vegan option, do a tofu scramble. 39. Steamed crabs (check seasonings) with corn on the cob. 40. Cannellini beans˟, tuna in olive oil (optional), drained canned diced tomatoes, a few Kalamata olives and a few fresh basil leaves 41. Fajitas—Over medium-high heat, sauté 1 chopped onion and 1 sliced red pepper with 2 Tablespoons of oil. Add package of precooked chicken (Perdue’s Short Cuts®***) and Mc Cormick’s® fajita seasoning. Serve with corn tortillas, beans, sour cream, etc. 42. Prepare 3 cups instant wild rice. Add in 1 lb precooked chicken, a chopped apple, 2 chopped celery stalks, 1/2 cup of pecans, 1 Tbsp of honey Dijon mustard**, 1/4 cup oil and 3 T of balsamic vinegar or lemon juice. Mix. 43. Cuban Beans & Rice: Sauté 1 chopped onion in 1T oil. In 2 min, add chopped pepper, 2T minced garlic & 1⁄2 tsp chili powder. Cook 2 min, add in 15 oz diced tomatoes˟ w/ juice & simmer 15 min. Add 3 C beans˟ & heat until warm. Serve over brown rice, add seasonings & cilantro to taste. 44. Prepared rotisserie chicken (Perdue® rotisserie chickens***) with a salad and brown or wild rice. 45. Combine 1lb chicken parts, 2 diced sweet potatoes, 1 chopped onion, 1 lb baby carrots w/ 1⁄4 c all fruit marmalade**. Roast at 400° for 45 min, stir every 15 min through. 46. Sauté garlic until golden. Add tofu, cooked shrimp or chicken and thawed mixed vegetables, &warm. Add several tablespoons of soy sauce &serve over rice/rice noodles (San-J /La Choy®) 47. Brown 2 GF cooked sausages (Applegate®, Trader Joe’s®’***). Add 2 C chopped green/red pepper &cook 2 min. Add 2 C corn, 1 C tomatoes˟, 3 C of cooked rice & 1 T Cajun seasoning . 48. Make rice noodles according to package. Add broccoli halfway through cooking or 2-3 minutes before the end, drain, and add a can of baby corn. Pour peanut sauce on top* (Thai Kitchen® sauces***) 49. Gluten-free pasta with steamed or thawed veggies and marinara or meat sauce*. 50. Dinner at a restaurant with a GF menu (Uno’s®, Outback®, Bonefish®, PF Changs®, etc.) *Check label carefully—some kinds/brands may contain gluten. **Watch for cross contamination. *** products do not contain gluten per company website, but things change! ALWAYS check labels. ˟I prefer Eden® and Muir Glen® cans because they avoid BPA; however, these are not available at all stores. Healthier options are bolded. ©Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD

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I have kids with the same issue, if your child is really gluten intolerant you will need to get rid of all gluten as even a little bit can do damage to people with coeliac disease. Do an internet search of places that sell Gluten free products in your area and sites that can help with gluten free recipes. Some people never like the gluten free breads and bakery goods regardless of what other people say, it's really down to personal preference. The specialist 'gluten free' foods can be expensive sometimes as well.

As someone has mentioned, there are lot's of foods that don't have any gluten; fruit, veggies, rice, corn and meat being the most obvious. I cook most things from scratch as it is easy to be sure of what is in the food. One thing I would suggest is become familiar with the additives in foods as you may be surprise at what has gluten in it. Pre- prepared food will often have wheat or some other grain containing gluten (in addition to too much sugar, salt and fat).

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Go to my blog
All my recipes are gluten, eggs, nut and peanut free. I give alternatives to dairy whenever possible. You will get lots of ideas. I also add a new recipe every 10 days or so and put in some nutrition info in the BASICS section every now and then.
I would appreciate your comments.

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There are many, many options. Please go to my blog
All my recipes are gluten, egg, treenut and peanut free. Some are dairy free as well. I also give nutrition info from time to time in the BASICS section. I post a new recipe every 10 days or so. Do give me your feedback on my blog
A number of Moms like you have found my blog very useful, practical and great.

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Gluten free, Safe Flours:
Montina® (Indian Rice Grass)
Note- The use of oats in gluten free diets is controversial. The Gluten Intolerance Group, the Celiac Disease Foundation and the Canadian Celiac Association approve the use of moderate amounts of gluten free oats. Other organizations including the Celiac Sprue Association recommend that oats be avoided.
Quinoa (Keen wah)
Rice flours- White, Sweet or Sushi, Brown, Wild Rice
Safe, Gluten Free Bean Flours
Fava bean
Garbanzo (chickpea)= Sometimes this flour is called "gram" flour, not to be confused with "graham" flour, from wheat.
Garfava (combination of garbanzo and fava bean flours)
Hope it helps!
Romano (cranberry)

Safe, Gluten Free Nut Flours


Safe, Gluten Free Root Vegetable Starches

Potato Starch
Potato Flour

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Anyone (man, woman and child) who needs to stay away from gluten need to be eating Mila, the healthiest whole raw food on the planet. What is Mila? Mila is a propriety blend of the best chia seeds that are opened via micro-slicing and meticulously cleaned. In additon to being gluten-free, Mila is sugar free, fat free and packed with nutrition (loads of Omega 3s, Fiber, Protein and more). Follow the links below to watch 2 videos: (1) and (2) Obtain Mila through my website - Email me for more information and to ask any questions you may have - EAT MILA!!

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We have recently discovered our favorite lunchbox treat (since GF bread is so expensive)-- I take deli sandwich meat, lay a piece of cheese at on top and a little spinach and roll it up. Then I slice it and it looks like little sushi rolls- my 6 yr old loves it. It's easy to add variety with hummus, grated carrots, etc.

For restaurants, our "go to" is grilled chicken and steamed broccoli. Many more places have gluten free menus now but you have to ask. For example, Olive Garden offers gluten-free pasta.

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My daughter usually just takes leftovers that I have prepared gluten free for dinner. She heats them up in amicrowave at school. Our doctor gave us an excuse and I have never had an issue with the school allowing her to do so

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Chex Cinnamon Gluten FREE Cereal is a REAL hit at our house...Baked Lay's Potato Chips also are a good snack...Looking for advice on gluten free breads...

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Our family also does no grains/ legumes, and we eat very well! We eat meats, veggies, fruits and nuts. We focus on main meals, and snacks can come from the garden, or the farmer's market. We have found recipes for pancakes and muffins that we make on the weekend, using coconut flour. Typical breakfasts are eggs and fruit, or bacon and fruit. Lunch is something like meatballs, carrot sticks, olives and an apple. And dinners are some kind of meat, and a couple different vegetable dishes. We use plenty of butter and indulge in dark chocolate. We're all very happy eating this way!

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Gluten free foods. Do research on the internet and you will find all of the answers you need. My sister-in-law has to remain gluten free and she has done a great job learning what she can and cannot eat. The first step is to remove all food products with wheat in them from your child's diet. Feed them healthier foods like fresh fruit and veggies. It is not an easy task; however your child is so worth the effort. And, today there are many gluten free products on the market.

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have a look at the gluten free goddess website. She has great ideas as well for bars etc that can go into lunches. Also when buying pasta I use corn pasta rather than rice pasta as it holds together better. I eat hamburgers wrapped in lettuce and lots of fruit and veggies of course. You can buy china lily soy sauce as it has no when and I also have my own separate butter etc so as not to get crumbs.
I eat yogurt, fruit and gluten free rolled oats in so I still get grains. You need to make sure you get folic acid when you don't eat much grains.
Think Mediterranean and you will be fine LOL!

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Everything else! Fruit, Vegetables, Legumes (beans), Nuts, Seeds, Herbs, Essential Fatty Acids (good fats), Eggs, Dairy, Beef, Poultry, Fish and water. Also, quinoa. For processed foods the brands to choose are Pamela's Products, Udi's and Rudi's gluten-free breads. You will be surprised at how you can fill you meals with everything but wheat. Do this and your whole family will be healthier ! Feel free to contact me for answers to more specific gluten-free eating tips... for the health of your family.

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Udi is a great tasting gluten-free bread and bagel that can be found in the freezer section of most Publix, Greenwise and Whole Foods. Alternatively, you can buy gluten-free bread mixes and make bread. We have also made pizza dough with the mix.

Alternatives are corn tortillas and rice as well as gluten-free pastas, again found at Whole Foods. You can also find gluten-free snacks and cookies.

Read the book by Elizabeth Hasselbbeck: "The G Free Diet a GLuten-Free Survival Guide"

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We don't have specific allergies, but as a family we've eliminated all grains from our diet. We basically eat meat, fruits and veggies, nuts, and some dairy. When we first transitioned we used nut flours to make a lot of "bakey" things, but once we got used to it we hardly ever have bread or muffins,etc. I think it's easier to just eat different things rather than try to find substitutes for the things you can't have. They never taste the same and they're usually more expensive!

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My son was just diagnosed with a wheat allergy in addition to dairy, eggs, soy, all nuts, seasame seeds, fish and shrimp. I have found that cocunut milk is a good alternative for the dairy, but finding a bread that is gluten free is hard. I'd appreciate any help.

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I found that the best thing to do is to make your own bread when it comes to a child with several food allergies. This way you can control what goes in the bread. The most important part is to not over mix it. You can boil flax seeds and use the gelatinous goo that is created by doing so in place for eggs. I also find that adding a little seltzer water helps lighten the loaf a little bit more. This way you don't end up with a bread brick instead of a loaf.

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