In an attempt to figure out what has been causing my daughter’s numerous and chronic mouth ulcers and migraines, I have tried to eliminate certain foods or ingredients that may be triggers. We found that after following a gluten-free diet for 3 or 4 weeks, all of her mouth ulcers disappeared. This is after 9 years of having them chronically! I am not going to lie and say that trying to eliminate gluten from a 10-year-old’s diet is easy. The hardest part of taking out this combination of proteins is when your child receives meals and snacks from school, goes over to another child’s house, goes to a birthday party, or goes to their grandma’s house and is offered lots of treats.
Snacking is just a part of childhood, and can ensure that children, not only get the nutrients that they need, but also get some energy to stabilize their mood (aka getting “hangry”). GF options are prevalent in supermarkets now, but often the products are so much more expensive than their gluten-containing counterpart. Following a GF diet does not have to break the bank or ruin your food budget. When you buy GF foods, you just want to make sure that they say “Gluten Free,” because it can be hidden or cross-contaminated in ingredients that would appear harmless to the untrained eye.
If you want to know more about gluten, I advise you to start here: The Celiac Disease Foundation
I have come up with a list of suggested GF snacks that your children will enjoy and won’t deplete your wallet. These suggestions don’t include the obvious choices such as veggies and dip, apple with peanut butter, etc. Clearly, almost any snack that has fruit or vegetable is going to be on the healthy choice list. I didn’t feel that I needed to include those types of snacks on this list. Suggestions on this list are not high in added or total sugar content. My daughter and I have personally tried all of these suggestions, and I have only included ones that we liked or loved.
1. Cheerios – Serve dry or with milk, on top of yogurt, or mixed with raisins and nuts in a trail mix.
2. Snap Pea Crisps – Different flavors exist, but our favorite is the original plain with salt. You have to be careful with these – They are addictive. My advice is to put a serving in a bowl and put the bag away.
3. Gluten free pretzel sticks with nut butter, bean hummus, or string cheese – Okay, okay, occasionally I give Nutella.
4. Rice crackers with hummus (edamame hummus is my fav with these) and cucumber slices, cheese and turkey (cut into small squares or circles), goat cheese and grape tomato halves – Rice cakes can also be used for smothering in a spread and topping with fruit slices or veggie slices.
5. Corn chips and salsa – these, too ,can be addictive
6. Annie’s Homegrown Gluten Free Granola Bars – I found these at the supermarket and Target.
7. Fruit and yogurt parfait with Gluten free granola – gluten free granola is not necessarily cheap, but if you’re only sprinkling it on top of yogurt, then it will go a long way. You can make it yourself. Here is one recipe on my Pinterest Page: Gluten Free Granola. I suggest using 1/4 cup granola for a snack, 1/2 cup is okay for a breakfast portion. Along the same lines, in the summer you can make frozen pops in molds with Greek yogurt and fruit.
8. Smoothies – probably my children’s favorite snack. Possibilities are endless. Like the parfait, you want to make a snack-size portion, which is usually about 1/2 of a normal recipe, or about 6 ounces.
9. Chocolate covered frozen banana bites – you can buy these in stores, but it’s cheaper to make them yourself. Here is one of my favorite recipes on Pinterest: Frozen banana Bites. (or here’s the recipe on the web: Frozen banana bites)
10. Cheese Quesadilla on Corn tortilla – you can add salsa, a touch of guac or sour cream as desired. I also put smashed black beans in there, or some spinach. Heat the corn tortilla in a pan before you add filling and fold, because they can tear easily. I use white corn tortillas, just because my family likes them better. You could also make a veggie and cheese taco with a hard corn shell!
11. Fruit and Cereal Bites - I take thick slices of apple or banana, dip into creamy PB2 (peanut powder reconstituted with water), then roll in crunchy, gluten free granola or crushed cereal (like Van's) with cinnamon.
12. Oatmeal - a packet of gluten free oatmeal is a comforting snack on a cool day