If your kids need to avoid gluten, don't despair! Here are 15 nutritionist-approved gluten-free recipes for kids with lunch box options they'll love (and adults will too!).
Q : I have a 10-year-old daughter who was diagnosed with celiac disease earlier this year, and a 6-year-old son who has experienced dramatic improvements in behavior problems (diagnosed as ADHD) since I put him on a gluten-free diet a year ago. I know how to put gluten-free meat on some gluten-free bread, but I'd like to transition my kids off of these processed products. Can you offer any suggestions?-Ann L., Las Vegas
A: Making healthy, gluten-free school lunches that your kids will like is completely possible. You just need to get creative by filling the lunch boxes with at least a few different, colorful, easy-to-eat foods. Include some protein, vegetables, healthy fats, and fruit. Prepare the boxes to look as tempting as possible, cut vegetables in interesting shapes, and pack them with gluten-free dips. (Studies have found that children are more likely to eat their vegetables with a dip.)
Get in the habit of making more food than you need when you prepare dinners such as soup, chili, or beef stew. Reheat the leftovers a day or two later and put them in a Thermos to give your kids a hot meal. It makes a nice change of pace from a bento box.
Also encourage your children to get involved in packing their own lunches. If they have a say in selecting items from your kitchen, they're more likely to eat and enjoy them-and their lunches may even become the envy of their schoolmates!
Though packing healthy lunches may seem like extra work, it really isn't once you get into the habit-and kids like them so much better! Here are 15 easy ideas to get you started.
To pack creative lunches, you'll need more than the traditional brown bag. Look for reusable containers that have divided sections (such as Lunchbots stainless steel food containers or YumBox BPA-free bento boxes); small containers (with lids) to hold condiments and dips; utensils; insulated bags with ice packs to keep foods cold; and Thermoses to keep foods hot.
Reactions to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley, can trigger a range of symptoms and illnesses in children who have celiac disease (an autoimmune condition in the gut) or nonceliac gluten sensitivity (a reaction to gluten that isn't an autoimmune condition). The following symptoms might indicate that your child is adversely reacting to gluten:
If your child is experiencing symptoms, it's a good idea to have him or her tested for celiac disease. If the tests are positive, completely removing gluten from your child's diet is a must! If the tests come out negative, try removing gluten from your child's diet for a time to see if his or her symptoms improve.
Written by Melissa Diane Smith for Better Nutrition and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to email@example.com.
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