|The Betsy books were my mom's favorite series growing up.|
She also loved the name Betsy so much, obviously.
I dawned on me that I've been out of school for ten years now. Not counting the time I got kicked out of school. I kind of miss it. I always loved going back to school. It was a fresh start. Not to mention my love of shopping for new clothes and school supplies. How fun was picking out a TrapperKeeper and Lisa Frank folders? I remember calling all of my friends to see who I had classes with each year after registering for elementary and high school. In college, I couldn't wait for the semester schedule to be released so I could start planning my courses. (Nerd Alert!) The one thing that was never on my mind was worrying about my gluten free diet.
If you remember my story, I was diagnosed with celiac disease when I was 18. I had attended The University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana for one month shy of a semester, but dropped out because I was so sick with undiagnosed celiac disease. It wasn't until a month and a half after coming home that I found out my stomach woes were celiac and instantly began a gluten free diet. At that time I was attending community college and then transferred to Columbia College in downtown Chicago and lived at home through my college years. Access to gluten free food wasn't a problem. I usually ate my meals at home, prepared by myself or Babs. When I was out with friends, I read labels on the crap I bought at White Hen and ordered a lot of salads and burgers with no bun at restaurants. I was fine and seriously never even worried about a thing. I was feeling a million-bagillion-zagillion times better and can't remember really ever being glutened during college. Except for the Leona's "it's not breading it's seasoning" incident of 2000. Man, I wish blogging was a thing back then. I would have loved to look back on my newbie gluten free self.
With all of that being said, since I didn't have to deal with a gluten free diet at classroom parties, school cafeterias and campus dining halls, not to mention snacks or meals at school teams/clubs/dances/sleepovers I can't necessarily tell you how I managed to get through them. I can, however, share with you the tips and information passed along by teens, moms with gluten free kids, and experts in the field of gluten free and celiac disease.
General Gluten Free Kids Information
- The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Foundation has a free book, Jump Start Your Gluten Free Diet, available for download. Chapter 6 discusses dining outside the home and covers school and school gatherings.
- The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness has a wonderful site for kids to understand their gluten free diet and other fun things. Additionally there is a parent page with great back-to-school resources. Don't forget to register for their free upcoming webinar on packing your child's gluten free lunchbox.
- The Gluten Intolerance Group has a Kids Corner on their site which includes a printable letter to give to teachers helping them understand their gluten free new student. Other printable lists include field trip forms, general letters for multiple teachers, and even a magazine for kids.
- The Celiac Disease Foundation offers support groups for gluten free kids, R.O.C.K. groups for parents and kids, and online support from other gluten free teens, college students, and young adults.
Gluten Free College Living
|Good news! Jack Daniels is gluten free.|
Drink responsibly college kids,
and not until you're 21 of course
- The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness covers college students as well. Their Going to College Gluten Free page is filled with so much useful information and even includes parenting advice from Wendy Gregory Kaho to help you not worry about your gluten free scholar eating safely. For all other worries, you're on your own.
- Not that this should sway your college choice, but Udi's Gluten Free has a post on the Top 10 Gluten Free Accommodating College Campuses. The comments section provide other campuses' accommodations from students. Be sure to check out the other Udi's Gluten Free blog posts that provide insight on gluten free college living.
- The book, The Everything Gluten-Free College Cookbook, by Carrie Forbes of Ginger Lemon Girl provides quick recipes that college students can whip up in no time.
- Another book, Student's Gluten-Free Cookbook for Dummies, is another option that Amazon.com readers found to be helpful for students and busy people.
Blogs from Parents and Gluten Free Young Adults
- Heidi from Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom has a great blog on parenting a gluten free child.
- Caryn from Health Family is the mother of celiac kids with multiple food allergies. She's also the author of children's book, Cilie Yack is Under Attack.
- Gluten Free Mom is yet another great resource for moms of gluten free kids. Visit her page, School and Other Activities, for back to school tips.
- Raising Jack With Celiac follows the life of Jack, a six year old boy with celiac. Check out his mom's school lunch ideas!
- You know I love April at Gluten Is My Bitch. She has two young kids and for a while there, she thought her daughter had celiac. Or she did have celiac. Or something. Either way, her kid was eating gluten free, so she knows how it's done. Plus there is a whole chapter in her book about gluten free kids.
- While CeliacTeen hasn't updated her blog in a bit, look through her archives to see what she's been cooking since she started her blog at age 15.
- Taylor at Gluten Away is amazing. He's a 16 year dude on a gluten free diet and has a very rare adrenal disorder. His blog inspires me since he has such a positive attitude despite the challenges he faces on a daily basis.
There is so much information online today that will help you sort out the difficulties of social activities for kids. I'm sure if you've landed on this page, you're already an awesome parent since you're looking for answers. Being proactive by speaking to teachers and school administrators is the best step.
Bringing gluten free treats for the teacher to have on hand when they pass out gluten filled goodies is a really good idea. To stock up on bulk items like snack bars or those cute little rice crisp bars, Abe's Market is having a Back-To-School sale with items up to 50% off. It ends on Friday, so hurry!
Have a great year, kids!