Gluten and wheat-free school lunch made easy as ABC
- Mums Tips
- Feeding the Family
- Published on Saturday, 03 September 2011 14:24
- Last Updated on 22 September 2023
- Monica Costa
- 0 Comments
Everyone knows that the preparation of kids school lunches can be a real nightmare, especially for parents with children that follow a gluten and wheat-free diet for medical reasons, so I have pulled together a guide with practical advice to help make their lives much easier.
School lunches can be a real nightmare for parents, especially when their child is following a gluten and wheat free diet for medical reasons, but London Mums have some tips to help make the back to school time easier for everyone.
It can be difficult to monitor a child’s diet while they are at school at the best of times, but for parents with children who have coeliac disease, it can be even more stressful as they worry for their kids health.
Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition which is triggered by gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. For those who suffer with the disease, consumption of food containing gluten – such as bread, cake and pastry – can damage the lining of the gut, preventing normal digestion and the absorption of food. The effects of this can include severe abdominal pains, diarrhoea, migraines, bloating, constipation and vomiting.
But we have come up with some top tips to help prepare mums and dads for the new term:
• It is important that all staff at your child’s school understand the complexities of their condition. Staff such as dinner ladies will be able to watch out for potential problems during lunchtime including food swapping to ensure this doesn’t happen.
• If you have opted for your child to have school dinners, it is critical to ensure the kitchen staff understand the dangers of cross contamination. Those in the kitchen should treat someone with coeliac disease as they would someone with a food allergy.
• School lunch boxes are generally the easiest option for a parent with a child who has coeliac disease as they will be have better control over what the child eats – a well-balanced lunch should include carbohydrates, protein, fruit or vegetables and diary.
• Although it can be easier to give your child the same food from day-to-day, a child can quickly grow bored so may be tempted to food swap with their friends. To avoid this, change the lunch box contents on a regular basis. Why not tempt your child with a simple pasta salad using gluten free and wheat-free pasta.
• Teaching a child with coeliac disease what they should and shouldn’t eat is fine, but it is important to also explain to them why – Coeliac UK has tips on how to best approach this on its website: www.coeliac.org.uk.
• When preparing lunch, send your child off with a mid morning snack to kerb a desire for crisps.
• No child likes to be different from their friends and children shouldn’t feel like they are being punished for having the condition. A child doesn’t need to miss out on their favourite sandwiches with gluten and wheat-free bread.
Monica Costa founded London Mums in September 2006 after her son Diego’s birth together with a group of mothers who felt the need of meeting up regularly to share the challenges and joys of motherhood in metropolitan and multicultural London. London Mums is the FREE and independent peer support group for mums and mumpreneurs based in London https://londonmumsmagazine.com and you can connect on Twitter @londonmums