Going gluten-free can be a challenge for anyone, but gluten-free kids make it tougher than you might think. Kids want to have normal food with their friends and classmates. They often rely on teachers, friends’ parents, baby-sitters and caregivers to make it less challenging. We’ve found that there are a few places people are talking about making grain-free foods more fun for children, including this from SpruceEats:
Kid-friendly recipes for gluten-free spaghetti, macaroni, and cheese, pizza, cookies, muffins and gluten-free bread that look “normal” help to make the transition to a gluten-free diet much less traumatic. — Teri Gruss, MS
She makes the point that store-bought gluten-free foods are beginning to look much more “normal” recently – so kids are less likely to feel like they are different from their friends. Homemade recipes make kids less likely to resist gluten-free, especially when they helped to make it. (It has to be good if they make it!)
Another option is to find collections of kid-friendly gluten-free meals that don’t include grains in their original versions, so kids don’t feel like anything is different about them. The following quote from Amy Roskelley precedes a group of 30 gluten-free goodies at Care.com.
For us, gluten-free cooking has never been about substitutions, many snacks and meals don’t have flour or need a flour replacement. — Amy Roskelley, founder of Super Healthy Kids
If your kids like noodles (what kid doesn’t?) then you’ll find that gluten-free rice noodles and cellophane noodles can be incorporated into Vietnamese or east-asian meals.
Here’s a fun gluten-free pizza recipe that will get the kids’ attention. The crust is actually made from cauliflower with a bit of mozzarella cheese, yogurt and eggs. Bake it up and then add favorite toppings. Kids love the novelty (and taste) of it!
However, don’t allow yourself to be fooled into the belief that all foods labeled gluten-free are also healthy. A study by Charlene Elliot, Ph.D. has shown that many packaged foods without gluten are simply replacing wheat flour with rice flour. Be sure to check labels to confirm that your alternatives are chemical-free and include some healthy content as well as being free from gluten.
For the parents who have children who aren’t gluten intolerant and are buying [gluten-free foods] because they think it will be healthier, that’s not the case” — Charlene Elliott, Ph.D.