Posts Tagged celiac

Gluten-Free Back to School Survival Guide for Parents

back to school

When my 11-year-old daughter Emma was diagnosed with celiac disease almost two years ago, I initially went into a pretty major panic. How would I ensure she was safely eating at school? Would she feel excluded from class parties because she no longer could eat the gluten-filled cupcakes? I’m a “fixer” by nature and this was a situation that was out of my control. I couldn’t take her celiac disease away. I’m sure any parent whose child has been diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance can relate on some level. In anticipation of back to school, I wanted to share what I’ve learned along the way with you.

First of All, Take a Deep Breath…
Your child is resilient, smart, and strong! You can empower them to make the right choices and learn how living gluten-free isn’t really that different at all. Know that it’s okay to feel helpless as a parent in the beginning. It’s okay to go through an “I blame myself” phase. But then you dust off your boots and realize that you and your child can totally do this. And the most wonderful part of it all is that your child is healthy and thriving!

Reach Out to the School
There’s a saying that “it takes a village to raise a child.” This is so true! There are several people to contact at your child’s school:
School Nurse – Set up a meeting with the school nurse. Alert him or her to the fact that your child needs to be 100% gluten-free. Find out what protocol is in place for children with food allergies or intolerances. Ask if there is a gluten-free or food allergy support group within the school.

Classroom Teacher – Your child’s teacher is a key component to keeping the school year running smoothly. If birthdays are celebrated in the classroom, request a class listing of all birthdays to make sure you have a gluten-free treat sent in on that day. I was able to keep gluten-free snacks and desserts in the nurse’s office so that Emma could pick one up anytime there was a gluten-filled celebration.
Room Parents – If your school has “Room Parents” who oversee special activities and holiday celebrations, contact them. Explain about your child’s need to be gluten-free. Ask them for details on all planned activities that will involve food. When a class party was scheduled, I would volunteer to make cupcakes (gluten-free of course). The gluten-eating kids were none the wiser and Emma was able to have the exact same treat that everyone else enjoyed.

Cafeteria Staff – Many schools offer gluten-free lunch menus. Emma’s included gluten-free pizza, pasta, and grilled chicken. This was fantastic news; however, it’s very important to make sure the cafeteria staff are knowledgeable of the risk of cross contamination. Set up a time to visit with the cafeteria supervisor and tour the kitchen. See how the gluten-free food is handled and prepared. If your school doesn’t have a specific gluten-free menu, ask if you can review the food labels with the cafeteria staff to see if there is anything gluten-free available. Be sure to check the snack and ice cream options as well. Prepping your child on what they can safely buy in the cafeteria is an excellent way to empower them.

Art Teacher – Who knew that some art supplies contain gluten? In addition to play doh, several items used in art class contain gluten. For example, I recently found out that paper mache is traditionally made using flour. I needed to work with Emma’s art teacher to find out how the paper mache was made and if it was made in the classroom (imagine a classroom filled with airborne gluten!).

Follow Up
Keeping in touch with the school and any staff who are in contact with your child is key. Build a good rapport with them. An important part of that relationship is giving credit where credit is due. Emma’s teacher and her school nurse were absolutely amazing with her transition to gluten-free in school. At the end of the school year I wrote a letter to the Principal letting him know how much I appreciated this assistance and their extensive knowledge of the needs for gluten-free.

 

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Gluten-Free Update – Episode 79 Hold the Gluten

Episode 79  “Gluten-Free Update!” Features:

  • Maureen’s gluten-free dining on Montserrat  
  • Importance of testing family members
  • New Glutino Toaster Pastries
  • Response to listener Erin about gluten-free products
  • Response to listener Marla about Olive Garden Gluten-Free Menu
  • New study about infections in infants causing CD
  • Celiac Guidelines Roundtable sponsored by Children’s National to establish guidelines for pediatric celiac disease follow-up (meeting of the minds – 7 celiac centers from USA and Canada
  • Gluten-Free Easy Bake Oven Mixes
  • What do YOU think of the HTG Podcast? Leave your feedback wherever you download this.

Read the blog. Listen to the podcast. Educate yourself.

Rock on Celiacs!

Subscribe to the podcast using iTunes (or whatever media player you use) at http://holdthegluten.libsyn.com/rss

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Gluten-Free Vacation Prep – Episode 78 Hold the Gluten

Episode 78  “Gluten-Free Vacation Prep!” Features:

  

  • Maureen’s upcoming trip to Montserrat
  • Flu shots – yay or nay?
  • GF Chicken Nuggets taste test
  • Where are Dunkin Donuts new gluten-free goodies?
  • Pastariso Mac n’ Cheese
  • Go Picnic pre-packaged meals
  • Vanessa’s challenge – cooking savory meals with chocolate
  • Traveling?  Check out Delight’s Travel site
  • 2013 Expos – Maureen will be at the GFAF Expo in San Francisco and Vanessa will be in Canada
  • What do YOU think of the HTG Podcast? Leave your feedback wherever you download this.

Read the blog. Listen to the podcast. Educate yourself.

Rock on Celiacs!

Subscribe to the podcast using iTunes (or whatever media player you use) at http://holdthegluten.libsyn.com/rss

Click the player below to listen to the show now!

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Hello Gluten-Free 2013! – Episode 77 Hold the Gluten

Episode 77 “Hello Gluten-Free 2013!” Features:

  • Maureen & Vanessa’s Holiday recap. 
  • Gluten-free options for EZ Bake Ovens!
  • Dunkin Donuts tests gluten-free goodies in Florida & Massachusetts.
  • Trifle - it’s the new dessert…
  • Maureen’s upcoming trip to Montserrat
  • What do YOU think of the HTG Podcast? Leave your feedback wherever you download this.

Read the blog. Listen to the podcast. Educate yourself.

Rock on Celiacs!

Subscribe to the podcast using iTunes (or whatever media player you use) at http://holdthegluten.libsyn.com/rss

Click the player below to listen to the show now!

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Gluten-Free Holiday Frenzy – Episode 76 Hold the Gluten

The latest episode of Hold the Gluten Podcast is now live!

Episode 76 “Gluten-Free Holiday Frenzy” Features:

  • Hanukkah gluten-free – latkes & brisket!
  • Cheers to gluten-free alcoholic bevs
  • Wholesome Chow‘s Gluten-Free Vegan Baking Mix
  • Mike’s Hard Lemonade now gluten-free
  • Maureen’s gluten-free holiday frustrations & pie crust debacle
  • What do YOU think of the HTG Podcast? Leave your feedback wherever you download this.

Read the blog. Listen to the podcast. Educate yourself.

Rock on Celiacs!

Subscribe to the podcast using iTunes (or whatever media player you use) at http://holdthegluten.libsyn.com/rss

Click the player below to listen to the show now!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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Gluten-Free News, Gifts & Grub – Episode 75 Hold the Gluten

The latest episode of Hold the Gluten Podcast is now live!

Episode 75 “Gluten-Free News, Gifts & Grub” Features:

  • Maureen’s 2013 1/2 marathon – whoo hoo!   
  • Holiday gift baskets – gluten-free options
  • GlutenFreely HUGE website sale
  • Maureen’s new fav pizza crust – Udi’s thin & crispy pizza crusts
  • Jennifer Espisoto of Blood Bloods
  • Dr. Drew video with Jennifer Esposito
  • Listener Renee writes in about her husband and his gluten-eating habits
  • What do YOU think of the HTG Podcast? Leave your feedback wherever you download this.

Read the blog. Listen to the podcast. Educate yourself.

Rock on Celiacs!

Subscribe to the podcast using iTunes (or whatever media player you use) at http://holdthegluten.libsyn.com/rss

Click the player below to listen to the show now!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

And here is the direct download

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Gluten-Free Leftovers – Episode 74 Hold the Gluten Podcast

The latest episode of Hold the Gluten Podcast is now live!

Episode 74 “Gluten-Free Leftovers” Features:

  • Gluten-Free Turkey Day!  
  • Leftovers – what to do with them?
  • What do YOU think of the HTG Podcast? Leave your feedback wherever you download this.

Read the blog. Listen to the podcast. Educate yourself.

Rock on Celiacs!

Subscribe to the podcast using iTunes (or whatever media player you use) at http://holdthegluten.libsyn.com/rss

Click the player below to listen to the show now!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

And here is the direct download

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Gluten-Free Giving Back – Episode 73 Hold the Gluten Podcast

The latest episode of Hold the Gluten Podcast is now live!

Episode 73 “Gluten-Free Giving Back” Features:

  • How you can give back!  
  • Dee Valdez (Gluten-Free Dee) created National GF Food Bank movement in 2009
  • Dedicated gluten-free food banks
  • What gluten-free staples to donate
  • Gluten-free companies giving back all year long
  • Gluten-free care packages in the military
  • Working in a food shelter
  • What do YOU think of the HTG Podcast? Leave your feedback wherever you download this.

Read the blog. Listen to the podcast. Educate yourself.

Rock on Celiacs!

Subscribe to the podcast using iTunes (or whatever media player you use) at http://holdthegluten.libsyn.com/rss

Click the player below to listen to the show now!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

And here is the direct download

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Gluten-Free Cookbook Compilation – Episode 71 Hold The Gluten Podcast

The latest episode of Hold the Gluten Podcast is now live!

Episode 71 “Gluten-Free Cookbook Compilation” Features:

Read the blog. Listen to the podcast. Educate yourself.

Rock on Celiacs!

Subscribe to the podcast using iTunes (or whatever media player you use) at http://holdthegluten.libsyn.com/rss

Click the player below to listen to the show now!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

And here is the direct download

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Your Family Can Have a Spooktacular Gluten-Free Halloween!

I remember “Trick or Treating” as a child.  We ran house to house visiting neighbors who filled our pillowcases with Halloween treats.  When our pillowcases were too heavy to carry, we knew it was time to head back home and assess our loot.  Truth be told, I usually snuck a candy bar (or several) along the way.  

Since my daughter Emma’s diagnosis with Celiac Disease this year, we’ve worked to keep special events and holidays as “normal” as possible.  A little pre-All Hollows’ Eve planning and communication with your child is all you need!

I Want Candy!

Who doesn’t want candy?  If I could eat candy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – I certainly would!  Halloween is a free for all of sugary goodness; some safe, some off-limits.  Most importantly, you need to sit down with your child a few days before Halloween to talk about your Halloween game plan:

  • Arm yourself with a 2012 Gluten-Free Halloween Candy list.  This can be found online as is an immense resource.
  • Reinforce the fact that absolutely no candy can be eaten until an adults checks the ingredients to make sure they are safe.  This means no sneaking treats like I did in the “old days”.
  • Talk with your child about how they will get some unsafe treats while Trick or Treating.
  • Get your kids involved in baking Halloween treats – do they want cupcakes with icing spiderwebs or spooky brownies for their class party?

Trick or Trade:  Out with the Gluten – In with the Fun!

It’s inevitable that your child is going to get treats that are not gluten-free in their bag and you’ll need to remove them.   One way to help kids from feeling upset or deprived is what we like to call “Trick or Trade”.   Prior to Halloween night, buy a bag of gluten-free candy that your child likes.  Keep it on hand to trade out the gluten-filled candy.  Another option that your dentist will surely love is to have inexpensive items to trade (think of things that you would put into a birthday “goodie bag”).

Halloween Class Parties – Gluten-Free Style

Schools LOVE to have Halloween parties – especially in elementary and middle school.  Baking up some ghoulishly delicious treats for the entire class is oh-so-easy!  GlutenFreely’s Recipe Section is full of  fun Halloween-themed treats including Creepy Mini Eyeballs cupcakes,  Halloween Buddies aka Halloween Chex mix,  Marshmallow Mummies  made from Fruit Roll-ups and marshmallows.  Other kid-approved options are Meringue GhostsPeanut Butter Pumpkins (adorable pumpkin shaped candies made using peanut butter chips, pretzel twists and vanilla frosting),  Scary Spiderweb  Cupcakes or Spooky Brownies!  Check out the Gluten & Allergen-Free Expo’s Halloween Pinterest page for more ideas – totally inspiring!

One word of advice, be sure to check with the teachers and room parents on the party activities and if the day will contain any gluten-filled games.  One popular class activity is a “No Hands Donut Eating Contest”.  Picture glutinous donuts tied to strings and the student attempting to eat said donuts with their arms behind their backs.  Yes, gluten will be flying everywhere….  So stay in touch with the school so that you (or your child) don’t encounter a unpleasant party surprise.

Halloween is a fun, creative, and tasty time of the year!  Equipped with these gluten-free tips, you can make this Halloween memorable!

Happy Gluten-Free Halloween from my family to yours!

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