Gluten-Free - Back-to-School - Celiac Disease
Aug 24 2010

Gluten-Free – Back-to-School

The time has come for the kids to go back to school. It is bittersweet; I enjoyed spending time with the kids over the summer, however, I will not miss the constant bickering that came along with that additional time together. Jon will now be entering the 9th grade. If you have or have had older children, you are well aware of the fact that it is very hard to pack a well-balanced, healthy lunch that your child will eat in front of his or her friends. Then add gluten-free to that mix and you have a real challenge on your plate. Sure it would be easy to pack Jon a bunch of gluten-free junk food and call it a day, but I won’t do that. We all know that Fritos and Snicker’s bars are gluten-free – that doesn’t mean we should call them lunch.

First I wrote down some gluten-free foods that I know that Jon will eat regardless of who is around:

  • Sandwiches on Udi’s or Canyon Bakehouse bread

  • Yoplait Yogurt

  • Nature Valley almond or peanut crunch bars

  • Thinkthin Bars

  • Cashews

  • Chips – Baked Doritos are a current favorite

  • chips & salsa

  • Deli roll-ups

  • Pepperoni (Hormel) and Cheese

  • cold gluten-free pizza

  • Grapes

  • Banana
  • He used to allow me to pack him a Thermos with warm food in it, but he will no longer take that to school. He is also on a new kick where he only wants to use a paper bag, not an insulated lunch box, which complicates matters even further. I think that the way to solve that is to freeze a Capri Sun (I like to stick with the 100% juice versions) and use that to keep his food cold. If I packed a cold pack in the brown paper bag, I would never see it again. The chances of him eating the fruit I pack are about 50/50. I won’t get it back, though, he will just toss it if he doesn’t want it.

    I plan on focusing more on putting the foods I know he will eat in his lunch, allowing him to buy white milk, if he chooses, and then fill in the fruits & veggies at breakfast, snacks & dinner. This way there is minimal arguing, minimal waste (tossing food at school) and he still gets fed.

    Jon informed me last week that his school has a Chipotle inside. While this is not out of the realm of possibility, I find it hard to believe. I did a quick search of the school system’s food service information and found nothing to support his claim. He says that he wants to eat lunch there daily. I plan on shooting an email to the director of food service to see if this is true or not. There are some foods he can purchase:

  • white milk

  • yogurt

  • salads (I need to check dressings)

  • fruit

  • chips (some GF varieties)
  • He is really good at staying away from things he can’t eat or could make him sick, or at least he has been in the past. I remind him every couple of months why it is important to follow the diet. He does get sick very easily if he comes in contact with gluten, so I don’t foresee him intentionally eating food with gluten.

    In addition to shooting an email to the food service director, I will also be sending this letter to all of Jon’s teachers and school nurse. There are not nearly as many instances in high school where there will be food in the classroom (unless you count cooking class), but I like his teachers to be aware. If all of his teachers know, then if they do bring in treats or Jon does get sick, they will know what is going on.

    Article Written by:

    Kyle Eslick is the founder of Gluten Free Media, as well as the creator of the popular Celiac Support Groups page. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and now Google+!


    1. Ann Nolan says:

      I have a 10th grader with celiac and I always appreciate the articles you write about dealing with different issues with your son, as I have the same issues. Thanks for sharing your insights!

    2. Lee Iden says:

      Great suggestions, but I’m confused about Baked Doritos. Don’t they contain wheat flour?

    3. Tiffany Janes says:

      Lee – this link lists the Frito-Lay items (in the U.S.) that don’t contain gluten ingredients, including Baked Doritos Nacho Cheese – *Nacho Cheese Doritos that are not baked do contain wheat flour 😉


    1. Cliff Notes – BTS Version « Gluten-free is Life says:

      […] can find my newest plan in regards to Jon’s lunch here. Every child is different, so take likes & dislikes, as well as age, into consideration when […]

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