What Foods Can My Child Eat When We Go Gluten-Free?

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A gluten-free diet doesn’t mean your child’s diet will be super restricted. You’ll find plenty of options to feed your child that they—and the whole family—will enjoy. All you have to do is learn the basics about what your child can eat and be open to trying new things.

Gluten-Free Packaged Foods

Look for packaged foods, such as cereal, that is labeled as gluten-free or “GF,” which means it meets the FDA standard of less than 20 parts per million (ppm). This is considered a safe amount. This labeling is often found in a prominent location on the packaging, because manufacturers use it as a selling point. You’ll find many gluten-free options within the supermarket, such as:

  • Granola bars

  • Cereal

  • Bread

  • Macaroni and cheese

  • Pretzels

  • And much more

These options give you a quick and simple way to serve a safe food to your child.

Basic Food Groups

Another easy way to go gluten-free is to look at the abundance of foods your child can eat outside the grain group. Then, you can still go inside the grain group, but you need to be more careful about what you choose there.

Grain-Free Foods

Start with foods that are naturally free of grains and gluten. You can cook meals with these foods and serve them as snacks. Generally, your child will be able to eat nuts, seeds, legumes, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, meat and seafood. But when these foods are processed, such as when flavoring or sauces are added, it’s possible that the manufacturer added gluten in the process. It’s always best to read labels when something comes in a package.

Grains

Grains are not completely off-limits on a gluten-free diet. You have many gluten-free options within this food group.

Avoid These Grains:

  • Wheat, including different types of wheat such as spelt

  • Rye

  • Barley

  • Triticale

  • ·Oats that have been exposed to wheat

Cutting these out might seem limiting, but you’re left with many grain choices.

Safe Grains

Your options include common gluten-free grains such as:

  • Corn

  • Rice

  • Quinoa

  • Oats that are definitely gluten-free

You can also try grains that are less well known but widely available, such as:

  • Buckwheat

  • ·Amaranth

  • Millet

  • ·Sorghum

  • Teff

Look for grain-based foods made with these alternatives, and use these grains in your cooking and baking.

Be Careful of Contamination

Even though many foods are free of gluten, it’s important to make sure they haven’t been contaminated by it. Contamination can make a gluten-free food unsafe for those who need to stay away from gluten. Read food labels, because manufacturers disclose when foods were exposed to allergen contamination.

Also, be sure to avoid contamination in your own home. Make sure you take precautions before preparing and cooking gluten-free foods. You might want to designate separate cutting boards, or make sure you have thoroughly cleaned the board with soap and water first. Clean your pots, pans and baking dishes first as well. Take extra precautions with items such as toaster ovens.

Your child and your family can still enjoy plenty of foods when your child’s on a gluten-free diet. You’ll need to stay away from certain ingredients and additives, but you’ll be able to choose from an abundance of whole foods and gluten-free options. In time, it will become easier for you to know what to look for and which brands you can trust.

 

Check out these other resources for eating and shopping gluten-free:

How to Shop Wheat- and Gluten-Free on a Budget

201 Gluten-Free Recipes for Kids

Otto’s Naturals: Our favorite gluten-free flour