September 13, 2008

Gluten-Free School Days!

By Smith, Melissa Diane

Here's how to get an "A" in giving your kids the foods they need for a healthy start to the school year It's back-to-School time again-time to make the grade by providing safe, enjoyable lunches and after-school snacks for your kids. It's a tall order to make food that your kids will not only actually like, but also is nutritious enough to maximize their learning potential. It can be even more of a challenge to make food that's completely gluten- free. Here's a little cheat sheet to help you.

For the Lunch Bag

* Make sandwiches or roll ups. Use gluten-free bread to make nut butter sandwiches with apple or banana slices, fruit spread, or apple butter. Or try organic corn tortillas as the "bread" in roll- up sandwiches with gluten-free turkey meat from the deli, pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese, chicken salad, or any other filling your child likes. Be sure to include an ice pack if the filling needs to stay cold.

* Pack dinner leftovers in a Thermos. Warm meals that work nicely for kids' school lunches include homemade soups, brown rice pasta and meat sauce, Spanish rice, and stir-fries.

* Include fun food. Kids gravitate to food they can eat with their hands (e.g., Enjoy Life Hoods Not Nuts! Mountain Mambo Trail Mix) or food they can dip into sauces (e.g., fresh veggie sticks with hummus or a gluten-free Annie's Naturals salad dressing; celery sticks with nut butter; or rice or corn chips with salsa). They also love sweets, of course, but opt for treats that are more nutritious than standard fare, such as Pamela's Products cookies, which are gluten-free but have the look and feel of gluten-based cookies.

* Get fruity. The most nutritious, natural sweets are fruit. Include an apple, banana, or orange in a lunch bag-or a homemade fruit salad in a container in a lunch box. If you run out of fresh fruit, another good option is Kettle Valley organic fruit snacks.

For Field Trips

* Raise the bar. Stock up on gluten-free food bars that are convenient for your child to carry on field trips, in the lunch bag, and for after-school activities. One good choice is a fruit-based bar, such as Larabar-a sweet, satisfying treat that also is a good source of fiber. When your child needs a mini-meal to raise sagging energy levels, a better choice is a protein bar, such as a Chocolate Chip or Cinnamon Raisin Organic Food Bar, made with organic brown rice protein.

For After School

* Teach your kids to get unrefined. Gluten-sensitive kids, like most Americans, eat a lot of refined-sugar and refined-flour products-foods that promote sugar cravings, overeating, weight gain, and more serious insulin-related health conditions over time. Break that trend by having nutritious whole foods around the house to munch on. Good after-school snacks include grapes and toasted pecans; apple slices with nut or seed butter; a mozzarella cheese stick and carrot sticks with salad dressing; a Sunshine Organic Garden Herb Burger (made with brown rice, sunflower seeds, and carrots); or a hard-boiled omega-3-enriched egg and a bowl of blueberries topped with coconut milk.


Recent studies indicate that the prevalence of celiac disease in children worldwide may he as high as 1 in 80.


Pamela's Simple-bites: Extreme Chocolate Mini Cookies

Chocolate lovers have something new to celebrate. Pamela's Products has just introduced a delicious addition to its popular line of Simplebites Mini Cookies: The decadent-tasting Extreme Chocolate Mini Cookies. And just like Pamela's other Simplebites (Chocolate Chip Mini Cookies and Ginger Mini Snapz) they're free of hydrogenated fats, wheat, dairy, and gluten. Crunchy and chocolatey rich, these versatile little bites are great on their own, but also are perfect for creating ice cream sandwiches and simply delectable pie crusts-in fact, there are recipes right on the convenient resealable bag.

Melissa Diane Smith is the author of Going Against the Grain and an internationally known nutritionist specializing in therapeutic gluten-free diets.

To learn about her online Going Against the Grain Group, visit For info about her books, consultations, or nutrition coaching programs, visit

Copyright Active Interest Media Sep 2008

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