There are times that families must make the choice to go gluten-free with their child and it can be a difficult transition or easy depending on how you go about it. Whether you are just trying to make better choices for your family or if there has been evidence of Celiac Disease, a gluten allergy, or a gluten sensitivity, you can take certain measures to make the transition a little easier for your child. A gluten-free diet can make a remarkable change and is a great way to go. Eating a gluten-free diet can also start your child out with healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime. If you need a little help getting started, check out these tips on How to Transition Your Kids to a Gluten-Free Diet.
How to Transition Your Kids to a Gluten-Free Diet
Don't let them hear a bunch of negativity. Have you ever noticed that children hear everything? They are great at decoding things too, so make sure that you don't over stimulate on the gluten-free talk. When you do talk about eating gluten-free use upbeat tones in your voice and make it seem like a great thing to do! You can even turn it into a game of sorts. Going gluten-free is scary enough of a change for us as adults so you can just imagine what it will sound like to your child. Keep the talk light and upbeat whenever you mention it.
Offer the same choices they are used to but with gluten-free options. There are plenty of gluten free options out there that your child is used to eating. If you have a mac-n-cheese or pancake kid don't just yank their favorite meals away. Keep them coming but offer them on a gluten-free scale. If you don't mention it to them there are chances are they won't even know the difference.
Prepare your own meals when you can. Although there are plenty of gluten-free products on the market they may not exactly be the healthiest choices for gluten-free. Get in the kitchen and make your own “from scratch” recipes and include your children in the making process. What kid doesn't like eating what they helped prepare?
Keep plenty of gluten free snacks on hand. What kid doesn't love a good snack now and then? Keep plenty of gluten-free cakes and snacks around for when they get the sweet tooth bug. It's always best to offer up fresh fruits and veggies as an alternative to sweet snacking, but sometimes kids just want an honest to goodness treat. There are plenty of options that are becoming available in the grocery store or better yet, learn to make your own at home.
Get the junk out of the house. It's much easier to go totally gluten-free as a family than for just one child who is having problems. If there are no gluten-free products in the home then it will be a whole lot easier to make sure your child stays away from them. Throw the junk out and buy some healthy choices for them to choose from.
Have snacks and food ready for on the road. It's easy to stick to a gluten-free diet when you are at home and have plenty of choices for them to choose from but on the road can be a whole other ballgame. Prepare for every outing with fresh fruit and gluten-free snacks that can keep them full until they get home. It's always hard to make better choices when out and about and thinking ahead can save you a lot of money and trouble.
I hope these tips have helped you transition your child to a gluten-free diet. Remember to be firm with your children on what they are allowed to eat. After all, you are the parent and the one in charge of helping them make good choices that will stick with them for the rest of their lives. It may take a little time at first and be somewhat difficult road, but it will be worth it in the end.