If you need to keep your kids gluten-free at school, be sure to notify their teacher, the school nurse and the principal.
If your child has a food allergy to wheat, he or she could be exposed to this substance in the classroom during science class, during a science fair, or other times, even when food is not eaten. Children are sometimes exposed to wheat while they observe mold growing on bread and during experiments of other kinds. Check with your allergist to see if your child’s allergy to wheat requires that he or she is not exposed to it at all. Of course, you will also want to be sure that your child is not given some kind of food to eat at school that contains gluten.
Many Gluten-Free Foods Available
Over the past few years, the public has become aware of foods that contain gluten. Many people avoid gluten for reasons other than a wheat allergy. They may not want to eat any wheat products because of a weight-loss diet they are following, or if they have celiac disease. Not eating gluten is an important part of the diet if you have this disease. Because of the increased awareness of how gluten can affect some people in a negative way, more gluten-free products are available in grocery stores all over the U.S. This is great news for kids who need to stay gluten-free at school because there are many lunch items that you can pack for your child which do not contain any gluten at all.
Importance of Reading Labels
Gluten is found in many baked products. It is a natural ingredient that provides a sticky texture to dough. It also changes the texture of baked goods so that they have the proper amount of firmness. Gluten is in wheat, rye, barley and some oat products. Many processed foods also contain gluten, so it is important to read labels.
Most gluten-free foods have the fact that they do not contain gluten printed clearly on their labels. Some of the foods available that children enjoy having in their lunches are sandwiches on gluten-free bread as well as gluten-free cookies, crackers and other snacks. Gluten-free breads can be found in the freezer section of your grocery store.
Packing Gluten-Free Lunches
If your child is on a gluten-free diet, here are some ideas for interesting, tasty lunches that will not cause your child to stand out from the crowd: If he or she does not have a peanut allergy, it is easy to make a peanut butter sandwich on gluten-free bread. There are breads made from sprouts and rice flour that taste a lot like regular bread. You may want to send a box of animal crackers, pretzels or other gluten-free food to your child’s teacher which can be given to him or her on days when birthday cupcakes, cookies and other wheat-based foods appear in the classroom.
Cooking Gluten-Free Foods for Your Child’s Lunch
Gluten-free foods generally cost more to purchase at your local grocery store since they are still considered by manufacturers to be a specialty item. You can buy gluten-free rice flour or gluten-free flour in the baking section at the grocery to make your own baked items at home if you prefer. Your child does not need to avoid chocolate chip cookies, brownies, and other treats if they are made with this special flour. You can find many gluten-free cookbooks as well as gluten-free recipes online. If you like to experiment, you can also see how the gluten-free flour works in your regular recipes.