Baby & tot gluten-free meal plan
Celiac disease is a genetic condition that affects 1-2% of the population, symptoms can include abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, etc. It results in an autoimmune reaction to gluten, a protein found in certain grains including wheat, rye, barley and their derivatives. When these proteins are present in the diet of a baby or toddler with celiac disease they can damage the lining of the intestines and make it difficult for the body to absorb important nutrients.
If you suspect your child has celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, consult your doctor for proper testing. If your child’s celiac disease tests are negative, your doctor would look for potential causes for your child’s symptoms, including intestinal parasites, irritable bowel syndrome, small bowel bacterial overgrowth, fructose or lactose intolerance, wheat allergy, or sensitivity to food additives like monosodium glutamate (MSG) or sorbitol. Note that avoiding gluten does not decrease or increase the risk of developing celiac disease.
Your doctor may recommend a gluten-free diet which should include a variety of foods to help ensure your child gets all the nutrients he needs for growth and development including Iron, protein, folate, calcium, choline and DHA. It may seem like everything contains gluten and that there are limited options, but don’t worry! There are many foods that will fit into your child’s diet that are naturally gluten free.
There are even substitutions for some of your favorites like gluten-free pastas, pizza dough and breads. Some of these “gluten-free” specific products can contain lots of additives and preservatives, so be sure to read the label. Corn, amaranth, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, rice and teff are all examples of naturally gluten-free grains that make great stand-ins for the wheat, rye and barley products.
It may take some time navigating these new dietary restrictions as you familiarize yourself with the do’s and don’ts of a gluten free diet. See below for meal and snack ideas to help get you started. Be sure to modify and provide your baby the textures with which he is comfortable.
When it comes to going completely gluten-free, less obvious sources of gluten must also be avoided. Not so obvious sources include lunch meats, broths, sauces, condiments, and marinades. Be sure to read all food labels. If there’s questionable ingredients, it’s best to skip it until you have confirmation that it is gluten free.
- Option 1: Omelet with finely chopped spinach and mushrooms
- Option 2: Cottage cheese with diced pears and cinnamon
- Option 3: Gluten free Oatmeal or quinoa cereal with sliced or diced berries
- Option 4: Banana “pancakes”-Combine -1 ripe banana and 2 eggs. Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes on each side.
- Option 5: Baked apple (bake cored apple at 350 degrees for 15 minutes,) top with a dollop of yogurt and toasted oats
- Option 1: Quesadilla made with corn tortilla, cheddar cheese, and cubed avocado
- Option 2: Baked sweet potato topped with shredded turkey and tomatoes
- Option 3: Brown rice or quinoa bowl: layer rice or quinoa with roasted, chopped broccoli, and black beans
- Option 4: Tuna fish (light) wrapped in a brown rice tortilla topped with sliced cucumbers
- Option 5: Shredded or diced chicken or turkey with black beans, avocado and corn
- Option 1: Stir fry with chicken and zucchini over millet or brown rice
- Option 2: Baked fish with carrots and roasted potatoes
- Option 3: Ground turkey tacos with corn tortillas (soft or hard) and diced peppers
- Option 4: Baked fish “fingers” (cut into strips) with green bean “fries”
- Option 5: Fork mashed salmon and soft cooked cauliflower
- Option 1: Unsweetened yogurt and fruit
- Option 2: Hummus with veggies
- Option 3: String cheese or cubed cheese and grapes (cut in half)
- Option 4: Apple with nut or seed butter
- Option 5: Yogurt Recipe: Fruit & Yogurt Pops
Our meal plans offer recipe and meal suggestions for your child. They are not designed to replace your doctor’s recommendations, nor do they take into account special nutritional needs, including allergies and intolerances. The meal plans suggest serving sizes that may or may not be appropriate for your child. Please consult your doctor to determine what is best for your child.