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Posted on 08/16/2017 in Gluten Free Blogs

Can Children Go Gluten Free?

Can Children Go Gluten Free?

All parents adopting or considering adopting a gluten free diet post the same question to our community – can my children go gluten free too? Parents are always keen to explore whether their children can experience the same health benefits from following a gluten free diet as they have. There is also the element of cost too – if all the family are going gluten free, the cost of purchasing gluten free foods can be more evenly spread, not to mention negating the need to cook separate meals.

Children can go gluten free

Children can absolutely go gluten free. They most certainly do so if displaying sensitivities to gluten , if they have been diagnosed with celiac disease or if you have been advised that they should do so for any other medical reasons by your doctor. However you can choose for your children to adopt a gluten free diet out of your own personal choice and preferences too.

Gluten is a protein found in common grains like wheat, barley and rye. Its main purpose is to offer better texture for foods rather than to provide any nutritional benefit so the absence of gluten does not constitute a loss in vitamins and minerals. The key is to swap out gluten containing foods for equally nutritious alternatives.

While gluten itself doesn’t offer nutritional benefits, the food groups containing the ingredients – breads, cereals, pastas etc. – DO offer vital vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Therefore, rather than swapping out or avoiding an entire food group, simply swap out for gluten free alternatives of those foods.

Alternatives for fussy eaters

Going gluten free doesn’t mean you’ll have a rough time replacing your children’s favourite foods with gluten free alternatives. There are lots of delicious gluten free breakfast cereals, cereal bars, snack bars etc. and your kids can still enjoy pancakes, breads, pastas and baked goods. Virtually every recipe or dish has a delicious gluten free alternative that you can master. Despite your greatest fears, kids rarely even notice the difference – don’t say a word and see for yourself if they notice!

Make meals from scratch

Your supermarket will be packed full of pre-packaged gluten free goods but just like any pre-packaged consumables, preparing snacks and meals from scratch ensures the greatest nutritional pay-off. It can also work out more cost-effective too. Feeding gluten free pasta dishes, breads, cereals and more to an entire family can work out expensive if buying every single item “off the shelf”. Try baking loaves of gluten free bread and even making your own pasta and cereals. That way, you can be assured that no nasty ingredients are included and you’ll save significantly in the long run.

Has your family gone gluten free? Do any of your children follow a gluten free diet? Feel free to leave a comment with your top tips and learnings about transferring your little ones to a gluten free diet.

NB - All blogs on My Gluten Free Life are meant for informational use only. If you have questions or concerns about your diet, please contact your physician.

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