What Parents Should Know About Gluten and Kids

November 16, 2015
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If your child has been diagnosed with celiac disease, then your family is probably well-acquainted with gluten and how to avoid it.

There has also been some evidence that a gluten-free diet can help improve behavior in children with conditions such as autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD.)

But for the majority of the population:

There isn’t a solid medical reason to avoid gluten — a protein that is commonly found in wheat-, barley- and rye-based breads and pasta. According to an expert article in Parents Magazine, gluten isn’t unhealthy in the way that trans-fat is, for example. Therefore, parents shouldn’t plan on excluding it from their children’s diets entirely without a good reason.

 

“There’s no research showing that kids who tolerate gluten just fine should cut it out,” Amy R. DeFelice, M.D., associate professor of clinical pediatrics at Columbia University Medical Center, told Parents.

This is because fortified cereal and bread are a major source of vitamins and minerals for children; gluten-free food isn’t always enriched with these nutrients. Oftentimes, too, gluten-free foods contain added sweeteners and fats. Not to mention, gluten-free products are typically more expensive.

With all of this in mind, if your child (or someone else in the family) does have a medical reason to exclude gluten from meals, the transition isn’t always easy. Here are 10  kid-friendly (and gluten-free!) recipes that are sure to be winners with the entire family:

  1. Gluten-free macaroni and cheese
  2. Buttermilk pancakes
  3. Gluten-free chicken nuggets
  4. Mini egg muffins
  5. Gluten-free fish sticks
  6. Chicken fajita quesadillas
  7. Whole grain wraps
  8. Cauliflower mashed potatoes
  9. Tuna casserole
  10. Gluten-free pizza

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with throwing in a gluten-free meal here and there, even if there are no issues with gluten itself. Because gluten-free diets have become a relatively “trendy” in recent years, there is often a wide variety of products readily available in stores.

And let’s face it — those gluten-free chicken nuggets are sure to be a hit with almost anyone!

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