There are many children, teens, and adults with dietary restrictions of one sort or another, that people regularly ask about food allergies before offering food to anyone. Nut allergies, gluten intolerance or lactose intolerance are becoming more common in young people. Celiac disease can make it tough to keep your child on track since gluten can be in unexpected foods, but you can teach them how to make safe choices.
First Things First – Get an Accurate Diagnosis and Treatment
Be sure your child is diagnosed by a gastroenterologist to be sure you are only dealing with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. There could be added conditions causing similar symptoms. Your physician will have advice for how to properly treat any current damage and avoid more damage to the intestine. Medications, nutritional support (critical for celiac kids) and ongoing supervision of their progress is important to healing and thriving.
Educate Yourself and Your Teen About Their Food
Today, there are more choices available in stores to help you develop a healthy, well-rounded diet for your child without them feeling “different” or deprived. Healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats, nuts, and dairy products are part of a healthy diet. Replacing wheat with other foods such as quinoa, rice, gluten-free flours, coconut flour are easy to find and delicious options for favorite meals. There are gluten-free versions of many foods such as GF pasta, breads, pizza, soy sauce, and other condiments, so they can eat their favorites without suffering for it.
Do your research, partner with their gastroenterologist, and teach your child what celiac disease is and why it is so important to their overall health to be vigilant with their food choices. Keep the dialog going. show them what to look for in various foods. Help them learn how to ask about food preparation in restaurants so they feel confident and in control of what they consume. There are online resources available, such as the Celiac Foundation to help your teen learn how to live with celiac disease and feel their best.
Talk to your teen’s physician and a gastroenterology specialist at Granite Peaks GI to begin the process of healing and moving forward toward their best health.