Back to School: Gluten-Free Meal Ideas for Kids with Celiac Disease


BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Experts estimate that about 2 million people in the United States have celiac disease, and many of those people are children.

Celiac disease is defined as a serious autoimmune disease that occurs in genetically predisposed people where ingestion of gluten results in damage to the small intestine.

This means celiacs cannot eat foods containing gluten without becoming seriously ill.

Some examples of foods that commonly contain gluten are breads, pastas, fried foods, desserts cooked with wheat flour, and seasonings/spices that contain traces of wheat.

Although avoiding gluten can be difficult for an adult, it can be extremely difficult for a child at school.

So, with the start of a new school year fast approaching, the following gluten-free school lunch ideas may be helpful for parents of children with celiac disease:

  • A fully topped sandwich on gluten-free bread (such as Canyon Bakehouse, Three Bakers, Whole Foods Gluten-Free Bread, or O’Doughs Sandwich Thins) with gluten-free chips.
  • Gluten Free Meatballs on a Gluten Free Sub Roll with a Larabar
  • English muffin pizzas made with gluten-free English muffins
  • Gluten-free tortillas or wraps with cold cuts and cheese
  • Tuna or chicken salad with gluten-free crackers
  • Fully loaded baked potato en papillote with toppings
  • Gluten Free Mac and Cheese
  • Jambalaya with rice, chicken and sausage
  • Chocolate rice cakes with whipped cream cheese or peanut butter

There are a variety of gluten-free options parents can consider. Fortunately, most celiacs can eat potatoes, rice, vegetables, fruit, and meat. Any number of recipes can be created by combining a few of these staples.

On top of that, brands like Udi’s and Enjoy Life Foods sell gluten-free breads, pastas, snacks, and desserts. These brands are usually found in local grocery stores such as Walmart, Albertsons, Target, Sprouts, Whole Foods and Fresh Market.

Find more gluten-free meal ideas here.

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