Sunday, May 15, 2011

Easing the Journey for GF Kids


If you speak to ten strangers today (in the bookstore, in the park, at a meeting, etc.), and you bring up the topic of gluten-sensitivity, I am confident that you will meet at least one who will say: "I've got celiac disease" or "my son was just diagnosed with a gluten-sensitivity".  Being a celiac or gluten-sensitive child is difficult both from the health perspective and from the social angle where it is important to fit, to not be 'different'.  Here are 8 tips that may help your child to feel more comfortable about the transition to a gluten-free lifestyle. (These are adapted from The Gluten Free Bible):
  1. Give your child control.  Information is power and if you can give your child good reasons for eating gluten-free, he/she will make good choices when called upon to do that.
  2. Get the word out!  Tell teachers, childminder, relatives, friend's parents so that there can be safe provisions made for your child with a GF alternative to regular treats and meals away from home.  Make sure they know how important it is for your child to stick to their GF diet.
  3. Review with your child how to explain they are GF.  He might want to start out with "I'm allergic to gluten".  She will be safer the more she is comfortable talking about being gluten-free.
  4. Come up with Alternatives.  Don't expect to trade off brownies with broccoli!  This site and others online will give you GF recipes that taste similar to the foods they love.
  5. Send their GF Faves with Them  Send gluten-free replacement foods along with your child when they are invited to sleepovers or birthday parties.  Let the parent-in-charge know in advance.
  6. The GF School Stash.  Give your child's teacher a variety of GF treats to put away and bring out when the other kids are having the usual treats in celebration, etc. so your child won't feel left out.
  7. Working with Natural Consequences VS Guilt and Shame: We all make mistakes.  If your child accidentally or purposely eats some gluten-containing food, don't make a big deal of it.  If he feels lousy as a result, you might want to point that out.
  8. Stay in the "Normal" Zone: This is probably a bigger deal for you than it is for your child, so keep some perspective.  Your child has a "normal" life happening with friends, pets, computer games, and recess.  Children frequently just use food as fuel (remember?) while we adults tend to be a little too food-fixated. 
Disclaimer:This blog reflects my own personal beliefs about the health benefits of being gluten-free. I am not a Medical or Health Care professional and any information or products contained in this blog are not meant to replace your responsibility to consult with the appropriate health care provider about your own circumstances and concerns. I am also an affiliate for many of the products promoted on this site meaning that I get a commission if you click and purchase. Thank you for supporting my continued ability to provide information through this website.

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