Another way to help your child come to terms with their dietary adjustment is to focus on what they can have instead of all of the things that they can’t. Your child will probably love to hear that she can still enjoy an occasional sweet treat without breaking her diet. LÄRABARS, Hershey kisses, Surf Sweets Organic Jelly Beans (made in USA!), and dark chocolate covered strawberries are all gluten-free treats that your child can still enjoy...and there are many others, too!
Another useful tip is to allow your child to feel as if they have some control over what they eat. One of the best ways to do this is to ask them to help plan out meals. Some gluten-free families even go so far as to experiment with recipes and create a special family cookbook together. This is a fun bonding activity that can lead to some really creative and delicious meals! If you’re not very handy in the kitchen, fear not. Thanks to organic stores like the Whole Foods chain and Meijer, Trader Joe stores, there are many tasty gluten-free pastas, breads, and snack cakes that are conveniently pre-packaged and ready to eat.
One of the hardest hurdles to overcome is helping your child stick with the plan when you aren’t around. Role-playing with your child can equip him with go-to responses for those times that well-meaning relatives or friends offers questionable foods.
Feeling “different” is most likely one of the top reasons that a child may fall off the gluten-free wagon. Why? Because no kid wants to be the only one without a slice of cake at the birthday party. One of the best ways to handle this problem (and other similar social situations) is to inform the adults in charge of the dietary situation and ask for permission to bring an extra treat to the event. Whip up a batch of “look-alike” cupcakes at home and let your child bring a few extras to share. This way, he can focus on the fun he’s having and not on the food he’s missing.
If you’re concerned about nutrients that may be missing from your child’s diet, there are several different gluten-free vitamin brands that you can safely give your child. One we highly recommend at Johnson Chiropractic Neurology & Nutrition in Shelby Township, Michigan is PeidaFocus™ from Designs for Health. PediaFocus™, a high-protein, nutrient-rich meal replacement, is an ideal way to provide children of all ages with nutritional support for cognition, focus, stress tolerance, and immune function, along with supportive vitamins and minerals for overall health. It contains effective quantities of critical micronutrients and key nutraceuticals, and will help solve the breakfast dilemma that many parents face. PediaFocus™ replaces the need for a separate multivitamin, providing a rich nutritional foundation, including true mixed tocopherols (with high amounts of gamma tocopherol), natural folates from the NatureFolate™ blend, and Albion® chelated minerals with optimal absorption.
While PediaFocus™ is appropriate for all children, it may be particularly important for those with difficulties focusing in school and those with ADHD (Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder). There is much evidence that diet and nutrition play a critical role in affecting behavior in the hyperactive child, focusing on avoidance of simple sugars, processed foods, and chemical food additives and dyes. This product contains no sucrose, fructose or artificial flavors, deriving its sweetness from the natural herb stevia.
PediaFocus™ provides a generous 15 grams of whey protein per serving, as adequate amounts of protein throughout the day are needed to properly stabilize blood sugar. While sugar will not cause a child to develop ADHD, it has been known to exacerbate some of the disorder's symptoms. This is especially significant since ADHD children frequently have abnormal sugar metabolism. Whey was chosen as the protein source for its rich and creamy texture, along with its complete amino acid profile and wonderful immune-boosting components. This delicious, naturally-flavored chocolate powder can be added to water, milk, milk alternatives, or any other beverage of choice
Another commercially available multivitamin is Schiff Children’s Chewables.
Good luck and happy parenting!