As a child, typically the last thing on your mind is maintaining a strict diet. Some children don’t really have a choice if they’ve been diagnosed with Celiacs Disease. It’s hard enough as an adult to understand this disease, so I wanted to give you a children’s guide to gluten intolerance to make things easier in your home.
Discussion – After the initial diagnosis with your child’s medical professional, sit down with them and try to discuss what happens with their body when they eat gluten. Help them understand how their body processes certain types of foods differently than other children.
It’s easy as a parent to say “no you can’t eat that”, but you should take the time to tell your child what the outcome would be. Instead of sounding like a broken record to your child, explain that if they consume foods with gluten, the result is far worse than just avoiding the situation all together.
Symptoms in children include;
- Abdominal bloating
- Chronic diarrhea
- Poor weight gain
*When you notice these symptoms, speak with a medical professional to discuss future plans.
Game Plan – As a parent, start asking others in your community if they have a gluten intolerance in their family. They can provide great pointers on the best way to start this new transition. Also, start doing your research. Beyond Celiac and Celiac Disease Foundation are two great websites that will provide an abundance of information on where to begin.
Create a game plan that you can keep on hand in your home. A great idea would to keep a Good vs. Bad list on your fridge. It will be easy for your child to become independent with maintaining their gluten intolerance if they can actually read what food items are good versus items to they need to stay away from.
Routine – It’s going to take some time for your family to form a routine with Celiacs Disease. It is important for everyone to stay on the same page and understand the risks. Keep your meal times rather simple in the beginning and everyone can get a better understanding of foods that are okay to consume.
Along with keeping a routine in your home, you should inform your child’s school and teachers. They should be aware of the new changes in your child’s diet, and adhere to any guidelines you provide.
With all of this being said, you need to find out what works for your family. I am in no way a medical professional, but changing my lifestyle to accommodate a gluten free diet was a bumpy road, and I can only imagine for a child it can be very difficult.
Do you have Celiacs Disease? Do your children have a gluten intolerance? Let me know how you transitioned your lifestyle to suit your needs!