Gluten is a protein found in wheat and other grains. Children who have Celiac Disease are allergic to gluten. When they eat foods containing gluten it causes damage to their lower intestines. The only way to treat Celiac Disease is to avoid eating foods containing gluten. The easiest way to make sure foods are gluten free is to stick with simple non-processsed foods that don’t contain grains. For example, scrambled eggs with cheese for breakfast, or sliced veggies, grilled chicken, and fruit for lunch.
This strategy will only get you so far and may leave your children bored or frustrated. These days there are so many gluten-free foods that you can make nearly any recipe gluten free. To please your kiddo, take their favorite recipes and convert them to gluten-free just by swapping ingredients. Make sure when you are cooking you read the labels carefully as some foods that wouldn’t appear to contain gluten, either have small amounts of gluten added or are processed in a factory where gluten products are also processed, causing contamination.
So what are some great gluten-free recipes for kids?
Recipe adapted from Bob’s Red Mill
1-1/3 cups Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Milk (or Almond Milk)
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
*Optional add ins: 1 mashed banana, 1/4 chopped almonds
Directions: Heat pan to medium. Mix dry ingredients in medium mixing bowl. Stir in wet ingredients. Mix till batter looks smooth. Fill about 1/4 cup batter per pancake into the pan. When you can see bubbles forming, pancake should be ready to flip. Cook till golden brown. Serve with maple syrup (or check the label on other types of syrup).
Gluten-free tater-tot casserole
Recipe adapted from Food.com
2 lbs ground chuck
1 (18 ounce) can of cream of mushroom soup
1⁄2 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 (2 lb) bag frozen tater tots
(Although tater tots should be gluten free, check the package to be sure.)
Direction: Preheat oven to 350. Then, brown the hamburger, drain any excess grease, and set aside. Add the soup, sour cream, and half a cup of the cheese into the hamburger. Combine together. Spray a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray. Spoon in the hamburger mixture and spread evenly. Top with a layer of frozen tater tots. Bake in oven until tater tots are brown, around 45-50 minutes. Once brown top with the remaining cheese and bake an additional ten minutes, or until cheese is melted.
Spaghetti and meatballs
1 jar of spaghetti sauce (Read the labels, but most are gluten-free)
1-1/2 lbs ground chuck
1 small onion chopped
1 small (15 oz) can of tomato sauce
Around 40 Blue Almond Nut Thins (crushed)
1 (16 oz) box of brown rice spaghetti (Tinkyada brand is a good choice for kids)
Directions: Preheat oven to 400.
Make meatballs: Combine ground chuck, small chopped onion, tomato sauce, and nut crackers in a mixing bowl. Knead mixture together by hand and then roll into about 18 meatballs. Spray a baking sheet lightly with cooking spray an arrange meatballs on the tray. Bake in oven for around 20 minutes.
Sauce: While the meatballs are baking, cook spaghetti sauce on medium-low heat in a large saucepan. When meatballs are finished baking, add them to the spaghetti sauce and simmer on low while preparing the spaghetti. Make spaghetti following package direction. Drain spaghetti and top with sauce and meatballs. *Optional sprinkle with Parmesan cheese or Italian seasoning.
Peanut butter cookie in a mug
Want something easy that your kid can whip up in minutes. Check out this surprisingly yum-yum-yummy peanut butter cookie in a mug. Recipe is from Kirbie’s Cravings.
3 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp + 1 tsp white granulated sugar (Splenda and Stevia substitute well)
1 large egg
Combine all three ingredients in a mug. Microwave for one to two minutes. It’s that easy!