Breakfast and lunch dishes often revolve around carbohydrates that are full of gluten. For parents of children with a gluten intolerance, this poses a problem. Coming up with healthy and delicious breakfast and lunch plans can be a challenge, but if you turn to healthy proteins, dairy products, fruits, vegetables and special gluten-free products, you will be able to keep your child well-fed and happy throughout the day.
For most children, a quick breakfast means grabbing a muffin or a piece of toast, but you have to be more creative with a gluten-free child. On busy weekday mornings, give your child a rice-based or other gluten-free cereal with milk, or put together a parfait with fruit and yogurt or cottage cheese. Prepare hard-boiled eggs in advance so your child can grab and eat them on the go. Mix together fresh fruit, ice and yogurt to make a healthy gluten-free smoothie.
On the weekend when you have more time, prepare your child a more elaborate brunch. Traditional bacon and scrambled eggs are gluten-free, as are cheese and vegetable-packed omelets. Find gluten-free versions of traditional breakfast foods like porridge, pancakes, waffles, baked beans and sausages in specialty health food stores or your local supermarket. Serve cottage cheese and fresh fruit on the side for a nutritionally balanced breakfast.
Because school lunches often feature a sandwich, parents of gluten-free children need to go against tradition when packing brown bag lunches. Meal-sized salads with added meat and cheese make for a good portable gluten-free lunch. Roll sandwich fillings in a corn tortilla to make a gluten-free wrap. Pack your child some rice crackers along with slices of meat and cheese so they can build mini-cracker sandwiches. Rice cakes smeared with peanut butter or a nut-free mock peanut butter are another lunch option. If your child's school is hosting a special hot dog or pizza lunch, send along a special gluten-free pizza or a gluten-free sausage and corn tortilla wrap so that he can participate in the event.
Lunches at Home
Because at-home lunches are easier to control than school lunches, your options are fairly wide. Serve your child some grilled chicken or fish, along with a side of steamed vegetables and rice. Fill a baked potato with cheese and vegetables to create a filling hot lunch. Heat up corn tortillas to create warm burritos, enchiladas or tacos. For quick hot lunches, look for soups, frozen pizzas, and macaroni and cheese kits that are specifically made for the gluten-free market.
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- "Practical Gastroenterology"; Kids and the Gluten-Free Diet; Mary K. Sharrett et al.; February 2007
- University of Arizona Campus Health Services; Gluten Free Lunch Ideas; May 2011
- Healthy Food: Gluten-free Kids: Breakfast and Lunch
- Colorado State University; Gluten-Free Diet Guide for People with Newly Diagnosed Celiac Disease; J. Li et al; March 2009
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images