Gluten-Free Lunch Box Ideas for Kids by Selena De Vries, RD
Young kids like variety in their lunches. Little bit of this, little bit of that, bite here, nibble there … you get the picture. A little creativity with simple, whole foods can sometimes be all that is needed to jazz up the old lunchbox routine and encourage little ones to eat a little bit more.
About Selena De Vries, RD
- Selena is a Registered Dietitian living with celiac disease who helps individuals that struggle with digestion find food freedom. At Healthbean Nutrition, Selena understands that celiac disease not only effects our physical health but also effects our emotional health. As such, Selena uses an integrative approach in the management of digestive health conditions. She offers free group support for those with celiac disease/gluten sensitivity as well as offering nutrition coaching for digestive health conditions. Services are offered both online and in the beautiful Okanagan valley.
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Keeping Kids in Mind
- Kids’ appetites vary. They will eat a lot one day, none another, a little another day. This is normal. Kids are very in tune with their hunger and fullness cues and will not starve themselves. But, if you start catering to them and only start offering favourite foods in order to encourage them to eat “at least something,” you will, unbeknownst to you, assist in the development of a ‘picky’ eater down the road.
- Kids will eat more and be more willing to try new foods when they are involved in the preparation of the food in some way. This can be as simple as asking them if they want ‘orange slices’ or ‘apple slices’ or as complex as letting them help make something with you in the kitchen (this will get messy!). If you ask what your kids want, they will be more likely to eat what is served!
- Kids need to exposed to a new food 15-20 times before they will accept it! So, did those pepper sticks come home uneaten? Don’t give up quite yet. Keep offering them and you never know what may happen months down the road or even years. Don’t assume that one rejection of a food, means rejection for life.
- Kids may surprise you. Just because you don’t like olives, doesn’t mean your little one also won’t like them. Don’t make any assumptions on what kids want, ie don’t just offer “kid” foods.
How to make a balanced, gluten free lunchbox:
- Protein: include 2 choices
- Starch/whole grain: include 1 choice
- Vegetables: include 1 choice
- Fruit: include 1 choice
- Fun food/snack food/treat (optional): include 1 choice
Protein: hard boiled eggs, nut free trail mix, hummus or other bean dip, tzatziki, sunbutter or other seed butter like pumpkin seed butter or tahini, seeds (chia/flax/hemp), leftover chicken or other meat, leftover one pot meals like chili, beans/lentils, green peas, lentil/bean pastas, edamame, canned tuna/salmon, tofu, ricotta cheese, yogurt, milk, cheese, cottage cheese
Starch/whole grain: whole grain wraps, whole grain bread, whole grain crackers, homemade whole grain muffins/loaves, quinoa, brown rice, granola, buckwheat, pasta, whole grain french toast, whole grain pancakes/waffles, oats, potato, whole grain chips, whole grain cereals
Fun food/snack food/treat: air popped popcorn, granola bar, energy balls, cookies, piece of chocolate, 100 percent unsweetened fruit juice, store bought treats etc.
Fruit: banana, apple slices, berries, melon cubes, pear slices, canned/packaged unsweetened fruit sauces, grapes, orange slices, unsweetened dried fruit, papaya, pineapple, mango, unsweetened fruit leathers.
Vegetables: carrot sticks, pepper slices, vegetable skewers, cherry tomatoes, avocado, jicama, cucumber rounds, vegetable soup, vegetables in a one pot meal, roasted vegetables, vegetables in a salad.
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Living in the Okanagan or anywhere in British Columbia? View Selena’s services or book an appointment!
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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)
- 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
- “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.