If you have a child with Celiac or gluten intolerance, what to eat at school can be a complicated subject for which you need to do your homework.

Emma Drennan with MyLifeAfterGluten.com gives 5 tips to help kids eat gluten free at school:

1. Communicate

Child: It is important to ask your child what things they would like to eat. When they choose they are more likely to eat it. We can help guide them to making good choices, but giving them freedom to choose some of their lunch items helps them learn to take care of themselves.
School Nurse: Your child can have a health plan that will follow them all through their school. You can work with your doctor and the nurse to tailor a plan that makes your child feel safe and gives them the time they need to eat. For example, my son struggled with bowel issues and missed almost 3 weeks of school in a row in 6th grade as we were trying to figure out what was wrong. You can have in the health plan that your child gets extra time in the bathroom, can go when they need, can have extra time on homework, etc. They want your child to be successful at school.
Teacher: Make sure that the teachers are aware of the health plan. They are busy and may not have
time to read through it before the school year starts. Sending a quick email will really help.

2. Choose the Right Lunch Box

Even the tiniest crumb can cause someone with celiac disease pain and engage the autoimmune response that attacks their body. Teaching your child to eat out of their lunchbox and not put things on the table will help them stay safe.

3. Keep a Snack Bag at School

If you have a child in elementary school, you know there are always kids bringing birthday treats, holiday parties, and other food rewards. Having a zip lock bag with their favorite gluten free treats that the teacher keeps in their room will make sure that your child can participate. Work with the teacher so your child know where the bag is and they have the freedom to get a treat out without the teacher always needing to remember to grab them something.

4. Know the Room Mom

Make sure you are in the know about class parties. I have brought donuts on donut day, pizza on pizza day, cupcakes for school parties, etc when I needed too. You might not always be able to work that in your schedule, but if you know ahead, then you can plan ahead. Your child will feel like they can fully participate in any activity with a little extra effort.

5. Save money where you can

Gluten Free food is notoriously expensive. One way I save money for school lunches is by making my own granola bars. They end up being $.50/bar. These bars are larger than the granola bars you buy at
the store and definitely more filling. Get the recipe here.

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