Gluten has been linked to so many health problems, the most well-known of which is celiac disease, but even people who don’t suffer from celiac disease might notice some symptoms such as bloating, gas, digestive discomfort, skin problems and gastrointestinal upsets. When it comes to kids, the most important side-effect of gluten is probably blood sugar swings, resulting in periods of hyperactive behavior followed by irritable slumps.
Although it might seem like a difficult task, removing gluten from your family’s diet doesn’t need to be a headache. I was recently contacted by MOMA, the healthy breakfast food company behind this really helpful infographic. It shows you all the safe gluten-free foods, so you can focus on what you can eat, rather than on what to avoid! So many delicious ingredients are naturally gluten-free, so a few small changes to your grocery list can make all the difference!
Below you can find five of the favourite gluten free ingredients kids love:
This deliciously fleshy and orange potato is a great addition to any meal. Bake them in their skins for a delicious side dish served with butter (also gluten-free), cinnamon and brown sugar. Or, chop into wedges, drizzle on a little bit of your favourite oil and bake them in the oven to make the perfect substitute for fast food fries. You can also blend sweet potatoes into a delicious soup with butternut squash.
Rice noodles are a great way to introduce your kids to food from around the world, and they are particularly useful if your kids are missing spaghetti! Try stir-fried salmon with seasonal vegetables, a light sweet and sour sauce and rice noodles. As a side note, I recommend to keep the consumption of rice products to twice per week maximum just because of the arsenic contamination (you can read about arsenic contamination in rice by clicking HERE).
Kids love polenta because it takes on any flavour you pair it with. If served thick and creamy, like grits, try it with whole corn kernels and chunks of prosciutto for a comforting meal. If using the set variety, then cut into fingers and shallow fried in a healthy oil to make a delicious, crunchy treat. And if you’re heading outdoors, it also works great on the grill, and can even replace the bun in a hamburger!
So many fruits are naturally gluten-free, including apples, bananas, grapes, peaches and pineapple. Why not make a delicious banana split smoothie bowl for breakfast with plain yoghurt (also gluten-free) bananas, strawberries, chopped almonds and a drizzle of honey. Your kids will think they’re having dessert for breakfast!
Every child loves this cinema classic! However, the fat and sugar filled bags you find at the cinema are always full of hidden calories, food additives and even gluten. Make movie night extra special at home by popping your own using a paper bag. Mix ½ cup of popcorn kernels with ½ teaspoon of oil and a pinch of salt, mix well and then place in a brown paper bag. Fold down the top once, then fold in the corners and rip 2 tabs in the corner and fold them down again, this will ‘lock’ the bag and prevent it from bursting open in the microwave. Microwave for 2 minutes, and keep an eye on it the whole time.