Birthday parties, field trips and other childhood pleasures can be a minefield of potential health dangers if your child has gluten intolerance. Most parents will pack along a safe-to-consume food alternative…but if the “special” cupcake you packed looks as dry as sawdust compared to the birthday girl’s elaborately frosted birthday confection, you’re bound to encounter some serious sulking after the (off-limits) piñata has been burst and the (also off-limits) goody bags have been dispersed.
Gluten-free food, however, can be absolutely delicious! From cookies and cakes to pizzas and everything else kids gobble up, you can delight your child’s taste buds without a whit of wheat. Here’s our round-up of gluten-free kid pleasers:
A “gooder” goody bag
Forgo the “bag of junk” given out at parties and bring your own goody bag. Stuff it full of delicious gluten-free candy, like gluten-free marshmallows, YumEarth Organic Gummy Worms, and old-fashioned strawberry laces or licorice twists.
Good to go
If you have the time and energy to whip up a from-scratch breakfast, there are all kinds of amazing gluten-free pancake and hot cereal products on the market, but if your household is like mine and you find yourself literally pelting food at your child to ensure they don’t run out of the house on an empty stomach, you’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of gluten-free quick meal options, too. Like gluten-free toaster tarts, breakfast bars and even donut holes!
Power to the pizza
That delivery stuff isn’t healthy, anyway. Use Bob’s Red Mill’s gluten-free crust to make a delicious pizza your child can enjoy on the go, and while you’re making this swapper-roo, choose an organic, gluten-free tomato sauce, too, and sprinkle on some veggies along with the cheese.
A+ after-school snacks
Your child doesn’t need gluten to fuel up for homework or soccer practice nutritiously. KIND’s chocolate chunk bars contain five super-grains—oats, millet, quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat—all of them gluten-free. And if you’ve never tried the Larabar chocolate chip cookie dough concoction…it’s seriously amazing stuff and full of fruits, nuts and other goodies. If your child is looking for crackers or cookies, Annie’s Homegrown makes gluten-free bunny-shaped nibbles in all kinds of yummy flavors, from snickerdoodle to ginger snap.
Never contained gluten, never will
Keep in mind that many foods kids adore have always been naturally gluten free: fruits, nuts, vegetables, rice and beans. So be sure to feed your children plenty of these—whole foods like these tend to be more nutritious for developing bodies, anyway!
Jorie Mark is Vitacost.com’s Director of Marketing Communications and mom to three kids, ages 3 to 10.