Ask the Celiac Dietitian – Selena De Vries, RD

  • QUESTION: My 5yr old son has Celiac disease. He was diagnosed about 8mths ago, to make it easier we have made our house gluten free but the thing I am struggling with the most right now is school lunches. When we took away the gluten we took away most of his favourite foods and now lunches are becoming boring, any suggestions?
  • See Selena’s response below!

Healthbean NutritionMy diagnosis inspired me to become a Registered Dietitian who specializes in supporting celiacs. I am here to help!

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Selena Responds:

gluten free lunch ideasI don’t think you are alone in your dilemma. I certainly understand the struggle of getting healthy lunches on the table or in the lunchbox! Everyone runs out of steam every once and a while, and so I hope this gives you some new healthy and creative ideas.

It sounds like your little one may be missing some of his favorite foods. I would ask him what those foods are and see if you can find an alternative. There are many gluten free, healthy and tasty, brand name alternatives out there. From breads, to pasta, to granola bars, you may want to check out some of the items I have itemized below from Top Ten Healthy Gluten-Free Lunches for Kids

A healthy lunch should include a protein source, vegetable, fruit, whole grain/starch. Additionally, appealing to the creative side of kids and getting them involved, even when very young, will help encourage the consumption of those lunches!

Top 3 Ideas to Get Kids to Eat Healthier Foods:

  1. Invite your child to choose a new food at the grocery store or get them involved in the food preparation in any way. It can be as easy as asking them “would you like blueberries or banana today?”
  2. Cut fruit and veggies into fun shapes. This is a sure fire way to get them excited about eating them. You could also cut them into unusual/different shapes. For example, instead of cutting cucumber into rounds, cut them lengthwise into sticks.
  3. Make something that can be dipped, layered, wrapped, stuffed, or put on a skewer. Kids like to make eating fun and interesting!

gluten free snack ideasTop 3, Healthy Lunch Ideas:

  1. Make a ‘picnic’ lunch – cucumber sticks, grape skewer, hummus dip, cheese cubes, GF pita triangles.
  2. Leftover potatoes, leftover chicken chunks, and red pepper chucks put onto a skewer, tzatziki dip, apple rounds
  3. Guacamole/salsa, corn chips, seed trail mix, plain yogurt with berries with a drizzle of honey

For more ideas, CLICK HERE • Ask Selena a Question HERE


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  • “I contacted Selena when I still wasn’t feeling well a year after my celiac diagnosis. I’d read so much on the Internet I thought I knew everything I needed to know. I was wrong.  
  • Selena has important advice on how to do GF properly (it’s not as straightforward as I thought) and for regaining your health. She is organized, punctual, and professional.  And she has celiac disease herself , so she gets it.
  • I think a lot of us, by the time we’re diagnosed, have had more than our share of health care practitioners and may not want to bother with a dietitian.
  • Selena played a crucial role in my recovery, and I would highly recommend her, whether you’re newly diagnosed or just trying to feel better.”
  • Charlene (long-distance celiac disease client)

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  • This package is for you if you are newly diagnosed with celiac disease, you have celiac disease and continue to struggle with symptoms on the gluten free diet, or you have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Learn more …

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In Home, Gluten-Free Kitchen Assessment

  • This package is for you if you are newly diagnosed with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity or if you have celiac disease but are still struggling with symptoms. Learn more …

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  • HEALTHBEAN NUTRITION  specializes in digestive health.  We deliver easy to digest, bite-size pieces of information so our clients can, finally, achieve the healthy & happy digestive system they’ve been striving for. Learn more ...
  • HEALTHBEAN PHILOSOPHY– Selena employs elimination diets and/or a specific diets in accordance with her clients’ conditions, and only when deemed necessary.  She reserves advice about the gluten-free diet for those who require it – not those choosing to follow the diet as a lifestyle choice.  Expect clear, concise instructions on the appropriate diet for you and, maybe even some myth busting! Learn more  …

Selena knows first-hand how her undiagnosed celiac disease affected her physical and emotional health. After telling her that, “Well, you have celiac disease,” her MD suggested she, “google the diet,” and out the door she went. Sound familiar?

That’s why Selena established Healthbean Nutrition.  She is dedicating her education, personal insights and her own recovery to helping her fellow celiacs make this enormous lifestyle transition – and find  joy in eating again! Learn more …

Selena’s Road to Diagnosis

Selena De Vries RD, Celiac Disease Specialist

Selena De Vries RD, Celiac Disease Specialist

  • “When I was going through university, I was exhausted, ALL the time.  I had to drag myself out to hang out with friends, and if I had it my way I would have spent most days in bed sleeping.  It was not unknown for me to sleep 12-16 hours a day.  Call me crazy, but I related it all to the busy-ness of school.  I was even checked for anemia at one point (common with celiacs) and I was ‘fine.’  
  • The symptoms continued through school and the brain fog was undeniable.  I distinctly remember during my dietetic internship (like a medical residency except everything is nutrition based) at Kelowna General Hospital sitting in the office, charting on a patient and, literally, feeling like my brain was so fuzzy that I could barely keep my eyes from nodding off.  It was awful. 
  • Another thing I didn’t pay much attention to, was bowels.  I was always constipated.  Never the other way around. Never.  And, I also remember mentioning this to my gastroenterologist just before the endoscopy and he said ‘oh, well with your very low antibody levels and constipation, there is a very low chance that you are actually celiac but we will proceed with the endoscopy since you’re prepped and ready to go.’  
  • The piece of paper I received after the endoscopy said to follow up with my GP.  I did follow up with my GP and the report came back positive for celiac disease.  My GP said “well, you’re celiac.  But, you’re a dietitian, right, so this should be easy for you!”  
  • Perhaps I had a leg up in the nutrition part of it, but I think we all know that the gluten free diet is not a walk in the park.  And, although, I am so appreciative of the medical care I received, it did open my eyes to the lack of knowledge within the medical community when it came to celiac disease and the lack of support offered to individuals with celiac disease.  

That’s how Healthbean Nutrition was born!

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  • *Information and perspectives posted on  The Celiac Scene are intended to provide general information, without independent verification on the part of The Celiac Scene for  the accuracy of the information provided to it. The information is specifically not intended to be a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment by your physician or other health care professional. Always consult your own physician or other health care professionals about any medical questions, diagnosis, or treatment, especially before trying any diet. Healthbean Nutrition does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on any content contained herein.