Starting a gluten free diet for children can be harder and require a different strategy than implementing a gluten free diet for adults. However, it can be done successfully and without causing you to go nuts or lose all your hair. In this beginners guide to a gluten free diet for children, let me help you figure out how to do this.
1. Start slowly. Unless your child has celiac disease, you will want to slowly implement a gluten free diet rather than doing it cold turkey. If your child does have celiac, then you will have to go cold turkey and while that can be more difficult in some ways it can be done.
2. Have a chat with your child about what you are doing and why you are doing it. Most children will be more open to diet changes, when they understand the why behind it. Make sure your child understands why he or she needs to be gluten free. Get the help of a doctor, nutritionist or health coach if needed.
3. Find ways to create your child’s favorite foods using gluten free ingredients. One of my favorite resources for this is pinterest. You can check out my board with gluten free recipes for some ideas. There are very few foods that cannot be made in a gluten free version if you try hard enough and if you know what you are doing.
4. Put your entire family on a gluten free diet if possible. This is especially important during the first month of two of the gluten free diet for children. It is also crucial that you stick to it while at home. When eating out or at school or away from home, you can usually implement a gluten free diet for children only with that child. However, at home it is easier to cook one meal and to just have the entire family eat the same things.
5. Focus on making the bulk of your diet include foods that are naturally gluten free such as brown rice, quinoa, eggs, vegetables, fruits and meats.
6. Meal plan ahead of time. I have a video and blog post on how to do this. How to Create a Gluten Free Shopping List
7. Get the help of your extended family and any friends, neighbors or anyone else you know who has implemented a gluten free diet with a child. If you aren’t sure, who has already done this ask around. In today’s age with Facebook it makes it easy to find those who already have experience in doing what you are doing.
8. Know that doing a gluten free diet for children is a process and that it will be tough at first but it will get easier over time.
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