It isn’t easy to pack a lunch for a child with a Celiac Disease. A child who has Celiac has to be careful of that they eat, which makes it harder to pack a gluten-free lunch she looks forward to eating everyday. My daughter was diagnosed with Celiac Disease three years ago and I had to learn to feed her at home. When she began attending school, we faced bigger challenges, such as keeping her from wanting foods her classmates were eating. I found a way to get her excited about her packed lunches, while keeping them gluten-free and safe for her to eat.
Get your child involved
Letting your child have a say in what they eat for lunch ensures she’ll enjoy her lunch more. Determine what your child sees in other lunches and wants for her own. Allow her to pick two or three things to pack in her lunch. Sit down together one night a week and make a lunch chart for the coming week. After you have the sandwich picked out let your child add two or three sides. We like to add two more proteins and a fruit or vegetable. Once I started letting my daughter have more choices about what was packed for her lunch, the more enthusiastic she became about eating. She began to ask for certain foods less and was happy with her own lunch.
No matter how appetizing a child’s food looks, if another child has something better he’ll want it. Ask your child what he wants as a treat. A way to make this easier is to stock up. If he wants cookies, make an big batch so you can store some in the freezer. During Halloween stock up on candy that is safe so you can add it as a special treat during the school year.
Offering a Balanced Diet
Another thing to consider when making a gluten-free lunch is specialty foods are not always enriched with vitamins like normal foods. V itamin and mineral deficiencies such as: iron, calcium, phosphorus, folate, B12, and fat-soluble vitamins are commonly lacking in a gluten-free diet and should be monitored closely a ccording to the National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Conference Statement . These can easily be added by adding cheese, milk, eggs, green leafy vegetables, melons, strawberries, and oranges in her lunch.
Teaching your child to read labels is a good way to keep their lunches safe. Tell her to look for the word wheat, because wheat is a gluten. Have her look for the phrases “may contain” and “trace amounts” on the label. Teach your child which brands she can trust. Ingredients can change, but typically once a company states a food gluten-free they keep it that way. For example: Yo-plait Original yogurt states on the label it’s gluten-free and Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing is also gluten-free, which I found out by calling their toll-free number.
My daughter doesn’t come home anymore with complaints about her packed lunch, or telling me she wants someone else’s lunch. Working with her, not against her, has been worth the time it took to listen. Choosing foods for her lunch has become a happy routine instead of a dreaded chore.