Everyday Eating with Celiac Disease

Living with Celiac Disease

New School Year– Children with Celiac Disease August 3, 2014

Filed under: School Tips — Michelle @ 12:37 am
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The summer is ending and school is about to begin. There are several items on my mind as it relates to Celiac Disease. I’m not sure where to begin, but since it’s Back-to-School time, I’ll start with my kids.

 

As you know both of my daughters have Celiac Disease. The school year always present challenges for kids with Celiac Disease. They have to pack lunches and be able to make decisions when outside food is brought into the classroom.

 

My oldest, Meg, is starting Middle School. Ugh!!! This is a difficult age—she wants to be independent yet she is still clingy to mommy. Meg hasn’t had a 504 Plan in elementary school, and I do not have any intention of doing one for Middle School. She wants to be independent and make her own decisions. I trust her that she will comply with the gluten free diet and not be persuaded otherwise. However, I know how peer pressure is in middle school. At her age, she wants to be like her peers and being “different” is not “cool”. This is probably one of the hardest times for parents—trusting your child to make the right decisions.

 

On the other hand, my youngest, Kait, will be in 3rd grade. She had a 504 Plan last year, but it has made me wonder if it made any difference compared to not have one. So, should she have a 504 Plan this year? At 3rd grade, I question whether it’s necessary. She will be packing her lunch each day. Other than that, what could be potential exposures and contamination? I think it’s best to just have a conversation with her and ask her if a 504 Plan is needed to ensure she is safe. She’s at the age in which she can make informed decisions. We’ve known she’s had Celiac Disease since she was 2. She is aware of what questions to ask and she knows our philosophy, “when in doubt, don’t try it.”

 

So, the common issue between the both of them is how do we make school lunches appealing, and not boring. Like many moms, I’ve turned to Pinterest!!!! I’m still a little novice with Pinterest, but I did get some great gluten free lunch box ideas. My girls love the “lunchables” concept, so that’s pretty much our approach to school lunches. We have 4 required lunch items—protein, fruit, vegetable, and starch. Ok, so I do allow one sweet item as well. Although we can get some gluten-free (GF) bread, we rely on GF crackers as our starch. Kait has been into chicken nuggets/tenders. Tyson brand has a really tasty GF chicken nuggets and it can satisfy the protein and starch at the same time. But, how do we make school lunches not boring?! Well, we will be working on that. I’m thinking it’s not just a variety of lunch options, but how they are presented in the lunch box as well. This will be my challenge this school year. I think I will depending on Pinterest to keep my creative juices flowing!!! If you would like to follow me on Pinterest, follow me on www.pinterest.com/michelleeiching

 

On a different note, we found an awesome gluten-free only restaurant in Alpharetta. We were so excited!!!!!! If you are in the area, check out Tin Roof Kitchen!!! The girls loved their pancakes!!!!

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New School Year– Some Tips for Parents of Celiac Disease September 13, 2013

Filed under: School Tips — Michelle @ 2:43 pm
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Ok, so, it’s been a while since I posted!  Many apologies!!!  Well, we’ve started the new school year and with that comes the meetings with the teachers. I’ve a had a couple parents ask for some tips in helping their children have as normal learning environment as possible.  Well it can be done!!!

1) As soon as you can, meet with your child’s teacher(s).  Educate them about Celiac Disease and what it means to the child and to the teacher.  Remember it’s not just about the gluten free diet; if you have young children, it also involves their activities and what they use in the classroom.

2) Do you need a general Health Plan or do you need a 504 Plan?  This is a conversation with the child’s teacher.  The Health Plan is more of action plan for how to handle concerns if there is an accidental ingestion or exposure.  It also can provide guidance of how to handle classroom activities (such as using Play-Doh, having cupcakes in the classroom, using food as counting manipulatives, etc).  The Health Plan is not enforceable and has very little teeth. But, if you have a good communication network and relationship with the school staff, a Health Plan may be the solution.  On the other hand, the 504 Plan is enforceable and is a formal agreement on accommodating the child to ensure a safe learning environment.  Schools are not the biggest fans of these because they are enforceable and requires accountability.

3) Be prepared for the unexpected celebrations.  As with any new school year, there will be a continuous stream of friends’ birthday party invitations.  If you have a Health Plan at school, this is where the unfortunate isolation may begin.  At my home, we freeze a dozen or so cupcakes.  When there is an in-class celebration, just pull one out and have the child bring it to school.  For outside-the-school celebrations, it’s easy to pull out a cupcake and bring it along.  Also, having gluten free frozen pizza comes in handy when there is a pizza party.  Heat the pizza and bring it with the child.

4) School lunches are not impossible!!!  There are always stumbling blocks on what to pack for lunch.  You can do sandwiches with gluten free bread, but that may get boring after a while.  My youngest daughter is really into crackers and cheese, or crackers and hummus, or crackers and tuna.  You can create a gluten-free version of the Oscar Meyer’s Lunchables!  My oldest daughter prefers wrapping a slice of ham with a slice of cheese.  And, we always pack a piece of fruit and a veggie!  If packing lunches are still daunting, but  you have a 504 Plan, then the school is required to provide a gluten free lunch for your child.  In that case, communicating with the lunch staff is essential.

Well, these are the top items to be familiar with as you start the new school year!!!!  Next week I’m meeting with my daughter’s school district re her 504 Plan! I’ll let you know how that turns out!

 

Flashcards with Gluten Words- Teaching Young Children Gluten Free November 30, 2011

Filed under: School Tips — Michelle @ 9:42 pm
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My Kait accidently consumed gluten while at a friend’s house.  My dilemma– How do I teach my child to know what to look for in the ingredients when i’m not there looking over her???  When she’s with her older sister, she would look in the labeling and ingredients to check for gluten.  Although Kait is only in kindergarten, she can identify with sight words.   So, I decided to have her learn gluten words in the ingredients listing.  She already knows the term “gluten free”, so the purpose of the flash cards is for her to be able to recognize words that contain gluten.

I started with the most obvious gluten terms– Gluten, Wheat, Rye, Barley, Malt, Modified Corn Starch, Emulsifier, and Solidifier.  I have her say the words as she goes through the  flashcards.  These terms are called the “I can’t have these” words.  She’s been holding onto these cards and asks to take them with her when she goes over to her friend’s house.  I plan on making “I can have these” words (gluten-free) and symbols that are associated with gluten free.

Once she can recognize and say the words on the flashcards, I plan on having her look at ingredients from different packages.  She will compare the words and identify what are the “I can’t have these” and “I can have these” words.

So far, she likes to go through the flashcards and is proud to have them with her and be able to say “big words”!  She even has a friend who wants to learn also so she can help Kait out if she needs it!!!

 

 
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