Celiac disease is now one of the most common chronic diseases children can suffer from. Children can present symptoms of celiac disease from any age, some of which are often weight loss, bloating, abdominal pain and vomiting. Being diagnosed with the disease can often be a daunting time for both parents and children, however, there are relatively easy methods and means to help deal with the change in lifestyle.
One of the most important things parents can do to help their child or children deal with the condition is to explain the situation to them. It’s essential that they know which foods are safe for them and which foods should be avoided. Obviously this level of information and detail depends on the age of the children, but it’s good for them to be familiar with what they can and cannot eat from an early age.
Simple tasks like asking children to read the labels on foods, ensuring they know what the terms “wheat” and “rye” mean and why they should be avoided. Other ways to teach children are to involve them in preparing meals and snacks or allowing them to choose what goes in the weekly shopping trolley.
Parents can obviously set a good example and ensure they maintain a gluten-free household, however, it’s often away from the home environment that children are tempted by other foods. Schools, teachers, friends and other parents should be informed about your child’s condition to prevent any mishaps either at school or while away on school outings or trips.
Packed lunches for school can seem to be a challenge for many parents at first, however, the wide selection of gluten-free food and snacks available in supermarkets today means you are sure to find something your kids will like. Great recipes for evening meals include macaroni cheese using amaranth. This nutritious, gluten-free wheat flour substitute works perfectly for creating a thick cheese sauce. And kids can still enjoy some of their favourite treats like ice cream, chocolate bars such as mars bars, rolos and snickers as well as starburst.
One aspect of the condition which often worries many parents is the possibility of developing an iron deficiency. The part of the stomach damaged by gluten is also the part where the iron from food is absorbed. It’s important that parents ensure children have good sources of iron in their diets, such as fish, leafy greens and meats.