First of all, as you’re getting to know the guidelines of a gluten-free diet, read as many reference books and articles as possible and carry with you gluten-free resources at all times, particularly when you’re eating out, cooking, and grocery shopping. Knowledge is power when it comes to going gluten-free. A support group and dietician can also provide important information regarding sources of gluten your child should be cautious of. Make sure you are educating your child, meanwhile, about the information you learn. If he is a good reader, bookmark and show him the important parts of the materials you come across.
Tell your family and friends, even certain colleagues, about your diet. It’s especially important to tell your family because there’s a strong genetic component to celiac disease, so if you child has celiac disease, your relatives are at a higher risk for it. It can be hard at times to follow a gluten-free, but it’s nearly impossible to do it in secret. Check the gluten-free status of items in your pantry, and learn how and where to shop for gluten-free food. Find out which stores near you publish lists of their gluten-free products. Take advantage of mail-order companies that will ship gluten-free food (even ready-to-eat meals) to your door.
Get in the habit of calling manufacturers to verify that their products are in-fact gluten-free. You can usually find a toll-free number on the product’s package, or you can look it up online. Some manufacturers often change ingredients or switch suppliers, so it’s important to periodically check whether or not favorite products are still gluten-free.
When you dine out, you’ll need to inform the waiter about your gluten-free diet, and learn what questions to ask regarding the preparation and serving of your food, and as your child gets older, teach him how to dine out gluten-free and practice with him at home by role-playing with you as the server or cook pretending to serve and prepare his meal.
Learning to be vigilant about what you feed your child and teaching him this same attitude is part of the celiac lifestyle. It’s important that unless you’re one-hundred percent certain that a food contains no gluten even through contamination from other sources, don’t even allow your child to taste it. Teach your child this same habit of, “When in doubt, don’t.”
From our home to yours, Tina Turbin.