My grandson was told to have a gluten free diet. My daughter has a busy lifestyle with all the the kids and activities that they are involved in. The kids like to eat out or make quick meals like pizza or corndogs- both of which have gluten in them. Do you have any advice on quick meals or out to eat places that have great gluten free kid food?

Having to follow a gluten free diet can be tricky…especially for a child. The typical American diet does consist of many gluten containing foods (pizza, pasta, cereals, sandwiches) and having to avoid these common meals must take some planning and dedication. If there is opportunity, I would advise your daughter to meet with a registered dietitian or RD (you can go to and “Find a Dietitian” to locate one near you). The RD will be able to provide your daughter with much information regarding which foods contain gluten, grocery shopping, meal preparation, and local restaurants that have good gluten free kid foods. Other good resources are , , , and .

I would first begin by empowering your grandson. Explain the reasoning behind the gluten free diet and allow him to be very involved with planning, grocery shopping and meal preparation. Start reading labels early and depending on his age help him to do the same. Show him which words that he may need to avoid (wheat, rye, barley, malt) and then show him an alternative product that he could substitute. Then I would begin to role play with him. Help prepare him for a situation where he is offered a gluten containing food and how to politely decline. It may be helpful to identify “look alike” foods. For example, a homemade gluten free cupcake is not the same as one he may get at a friend’s house. Engage him in helping to plan good gluten free school lunches. A few examples include: peanut butter on rice cakes, apple slices and a thermos of gluten free soup, turkey on a corn tortilla, corn chips, and fruit or lunch meat and cheese cut up small with rice crackers, pudding cup, and fruit. Pack a few snacks for your child to keep at school also (popcorn, yogurt, string cheese, homemade gluten free trail mix, dried fruit, peanut butter). When it comes to meals, it is a good idea to begin researching recipes using basic and easy ingredients (corn tortillas, gluten free pasta, rice and lean meats, fruits, vegetables etc). Once you start the process and get a few basic recipes/meals under your belt, I have been told that it is very easy to expand and come up with other delicious but easy and quick gluten free dishes.

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