Summer camp is a cherished summertime tradition for children. Just because your child eats gluten free doesn’t mean he has to suffer without summer camp this year. There are actually some camps that specialize in the gluten-free diet, which you can find online; other camps specialize in other restricted diets, such as for diabetic children. You don’t have to choose a special camp for your child, though, as he may want to go to the same summer camps as his friends.
Just as you had to meet with your child’s teachers and school administrators regarding his diet, talk with counselors and cooks in advance regarding your child’s gluten-free diet. Find out who’s in charge of meals and talk to them, in person if possible, about the details he’ll need to know. I recommend giving them a copy of a gluten-free cookbook and some articles about celiac disease and the gluten-free lifestyle, so that they’ll be able to refer themselves to these resources when they need it. Make sure to allow plenty of time before camp starts to let the camp staff prepare for the diet specifications. Don’t forget to discuss food preparation and serving techniques so they can avoid cross-contamination. Additionally, I recommend sending food along, if the camp’s regulations allow it, so your child has his favorite gluten-free snacks and also some gluten-free flour mixes, for example, which the whole camp can enjoy in gluten-free brownies, cookies, and cakes.
It’s essential, as much as the camp’s personnel have been enlightened about gluten-free living, that your child understands his own dietary needs as much as possible. This will give him ultimate control in his gluten-free diet. Tell him the questions to ask about food preparation to prevent cross-contamination, make sure he knows how to read food labels, and teach him the synonyms for gluten.
From our home to yours, Tina Turbin.