Tips For Raising A Gluten Free Kid (By Laura Miller / Taylor's Mom)

By now, most of you know Taylor pretty well through his blog posts, social media and video posts.  There is absolutely no doubt that his is one amazing kid and is wise well beyond his years.  Taylor and I have developed a very close relationship which has partially developed from our journey of becoming gluten-free and learning that we both have Celiac Disease.  Over the past five or so years that I have been gluten-free and raised a gluten-free kid with Celiac Disease, I have learned a few things that have truly helped Taylor in adapting to his new lifestyle. These are things that we see as being extremely helpful in his transition to being gluten-free and it should be helpful to many of you.

Make Your Home a Gluten-Free Safe Zone
It is extremely important to make your home a gluten-free safe zone.  Think about it, every time your child walks out your front door they are put in a world where they are constantly facing gluten.  Focus on making meals, having snacks, and finding recipes that are gluten-free that everyone in the house eats.  Make a point not to single your gluten-free child out and not to eat the foods that they can't have in front of them – they have to face this enough at school, while playing sports, at a friend’s house, etc.  Show your child that you have their back and that you're in this thing with them. 

One of the biggest things that a parent needs to keep in mind when their child is diagnosed with Celiac Disease or a gluten intolerance is that it is emotionally hard on your child.  Most people, including adults, go through a grieving process where there is a period of anger, denial, pity and sadness.  We need to remember that our society has formed a majority of social activities around food and drinks while eating out or socializing.  Take time to understand how hard this process is emotionally on your child and make a point to show your son or daughter that you understand and that you are on their team.  Let them know that you will help them with these changes and that even though it's going to be hard at first, it will get easier.  Also, let them know that there are other kids and teens out there who are going through the same thing (like Taylor) and that they are not alone.  Take a trip to Whole Foods or a specialty store and buy some of the great gluten-free products out there that are safe for your child to eat but that are tasty just like the foods they are giving up.  It is important to show your child that you are on their team and that they are not alone so you will work through this challenge together.

Plan Ahead and Always Try to Be Prepared
Some of the hardest times for anyone going gluten-free is when the group you're already with has their meals and snacks provided for them.  Planning ahead so that your child has safe food to eat and doesn't feel left out is extremely important.  Make sure that you have plenty of gluten-free snacks and simple meals ready for your child if they play sports, have field trips, go to a friend’s house after school, or go to a sleepover.   Now a days, there are tons of great options that look and taste just as good as the gluten filled alternatives.  Pre-made bagel sandwiches, peanut butter & jelly, frozen pizzas, burritos, nut snack packs, welches and better crocker fruit snacks, potato chips are all great options as safe alternatives for your child when venturing out and about.

Have A Great Attitude
Create a positive environment in your home.  Attitude is everything and if you embrace the changes in your child’s diet with positivity then it will help your child embrace the changes too.  Develop special traditions in your home that help make adapting to a gluten-free diet, fun.  In our home, we found that holidays were usually the hardest to get through because many of our former favorite dishes were laced with gluten.  So we started a tradition where each person in the family found a new gluten-free recipe to make for that holiday.  During the meal we would taste test each recipes and vote on our favorite.  Each following year we would incorporate that new dish into our meals and also follow the tradition of each finding a new recipe to try.  With this tradition our holidays are now filled with amazing gluten-free dishes that we share with friends and family.

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  1. What a great blog post that absolutely rings true. I think it is so important to have a gluten-free home but many people do not do this...thinking that gluten-free food is somehow inferior. I spend my time developing recipes that the whole family can enjoy together...hoping to re-educate people about gluten-free food...about how simple it is to make and enjoy together. If you get a spare minute visit my blog. It is called The Free From Fairy... Keep up the great work and wonderfully helpful blogs.

  2. A really great post from your mom, Taylor! I always hear the excuse that it's just too expensive for the whole family to eat gluten free, but I don't think that's the case if you focus on real food that's naturally gluten free, with some mainstream gluten-free items and some gf specialty items in the mix, too. Because your mom is gluten free herself, she really gets it, so her message is important. Off to share ...