When you’re first faced with the dilemma of transitioning your kids to eating gluten-free, it can be a daunting experience for the average family. This may sound silly but I know that for me, as a mother, it was a trepidatious time and I constantly worried about my daughter feeling uncomfortable in social situations where food was involved. –And let’s be honest, for our family food is involved in every social situation.
I worried that at playdates her friends would share foods with her that she wasn’t allowed to have, and it would get awkward.
I worried that when visiting relatives they wouldn’t understand what was off limits and would insist that she eat something she shouldn’t.
I worried that her preschool would have class parties and she wouldn’t be able to participate.
Do you worry about things like that?
We already eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, but we also love to snack on treats like pretzels, chips and Goldfish. My kids went a little nutso when we tried these Gluten-Free Goldfish Puffs. And then I shared them with my friend and her kids went crazy over them too.
And then I told everyone that I needed to save them for a blog post and I secretly ate the rest of the bag when they weren’t looking.
Wait, was that too honest?
Anyway, the point I’m getting to is that there are products out there that your kids will love and will cater to the gluten-free lifestyle without singling them out.
Products like this will help older kids deal with the “peer pressure” of eating what everyone else is. They taste just as good (and these are seriously good!) and everyone can enjoy shared snacks.
Nervous about school parties? If you know about them ahead of time you can send snacks in bulk for all of the kids to share, including yours. At our schools we’re not allowed to send in anything homemade, which makes it difficult to send your favorite made-from-scratch treats. Foods that are prepackaged and have a long shelf life are a must in these cases!
What I’ve found is really the most helpful is keeping your kids educated about why they’re eating that way and putting them in situations where they can make the decisions for themselves. When my daughter suffered from eczema we removed gluten from her diet. When we ended up snacking the wrong way she was uncomfortable and itchy, so she saw the direct correlation between what she ate and how she felt.
During these times I’d ask her questions to find out how she felt (both physically and emotional) and then later on when she was tempted to eat something she wasn’t supposed to we’d reflect back on the times when she felt bad. Most often she made the right choices, even when I wasn’t there to remind her!
Most importantly always, always always keep it positive. Let your kids indulge in their favorite gluten free snacks from time to time. Allow them to browse recipes with you and decide what foods they’d like to try to eat.
Do you have other advice to share? Leave a comment and let me know!