Hi there! I’m Jereann, founder of Celiac Mama, and the proud mother of a six-year-old girl with celiac disease. I have learned so much about gluten free living since her diagnosis four years ago, and I want to share what I believe to be the keys to raising healthy and confident gluten free kids.
It all Starts with a Solid Education.
Whether your child has been newly diagnosed or is not feeling better on a gluten free diet, it helps to meet with a pediatric gastroenterologist and dietician that specialize in celiac disease. Growing children have different nutritional needs than adults do, and they can help you navigate a game plan of what to feed your child and how to keep them physically healthy.
Sharing is Caring.
Once you have a solid understanding about how to keep your child gluten free, it’s important to share that with your child’s teachers and caretakers. When you do, remember how long it took you to really understand celiac disease and don’t assume that others already do. I recommend bringing handouts when you talk to them so that they have something to refer back to when needed. These can include school handouts, information on celiac disease, safe snack lists, etc.
Inclusion & Self-Confidence.
As adults, we learn to appreciate our differences, but most kids just want to feel like they fit in. That can be hard when you can’t eat the same foods as the other kids at school, or at birthday and family celebrations. Feeling included is linked to developing positive self-esteem and so I make it a priority to help my child feel included whenever I can.
At school, that means leaving a box of gluten free snacks in the classroom for last minute celebrations and volunteering to bake something for the whole class at classroom parties. At birthday parties, that means calling the birthday boy or girl’s parents in advance to ask what they’re serving so that I can bring something similar. It requires more effort on my part of course, but the positive effect that it has on my daughter’s self confidence level and overall happiness makes it more than worth it.
Now, I don’t have time to bake from scratch on a regular basis and you probably don’t either. Remember that the freezer is your friend and keep a stash of party foods like cupcakes and Feel Good Foods’ delicious selections on hand. You’ll be ready in minutes that way.