Nutritious Gluten Free Food For The Whole Family

Catering for kids with coeliac disease in a childcare environment

Catering for kids with coeliac disease in a childcare environment
Here is a post which was popular from my old blog when my children were younger and were in nursery and a few different child care environments.  Many people have found that passing on the link to this post to a new childcare provider has helped all parties understand the cross contamination complications and therefore easing the move to the new environment.
There is a lot of info online, so these are just a few pointers. Cross contamination is when gluten free food comes into contact with gluten, which might not be obvious. For example, your gluten free toast may come into contact with gluten containing crumbs which have been left in the toaster.

Unfortunately, even the smallest amount of gluten may cause symptoms to return in the short term, and, in the longer term, result in damage to the lining of the gut in someone who has coeliac disease. One of the main reasons for experiencing continued symptoms is due to cross contamination.

  • Label your containers with a colour or sign if they contain gluten free food
  • If possible have a completely separate cupboard for the child with their special foods kept away from any others
  • If you have enough space, try keeping separate storage spaces for gluten free foods and gluten containing foods
  • Keep gluten free foods at the top of the fridge – this ensures that crumbs from gluten containing foods from dishes won’t accidently fall into your gluten free food
  • Have separate bread boards, bread knives and toasters for non-gluten free and gluten free use
  • If you don’t have a second toaster, use toaster bags, which are available in many supermarkets
  • If possible, have separate areas for food preparation
  • Use separate butter or margarine tubs as knives can
  • Use a separate flour sieves and pasta strainers
  • Always cook gf pasta or other food using completely separate utensils and pans.
  • Never stir a gluten pasta with the same spoon as gf pasta.
  • Always check the ingredients and the small print – never assume – we still get caught out as some products change their ingredients over time and many things you wouldn’t expect to have gluten in does.

Clean and cover!

  • Cover the grill pan with foil
  • Wipe surfaces thoroughly after preparing foods containing gluten
  • Wash hands thoroughly before handling gluten free foods
  • Wash any shared utensils thoroughly after each use (if you cannot use separate utensils for gluten free and non-gluten free food)

What is Coeliac Disease

Coeliac disease (pronounced ‘see-liac’) is a serious illness where the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues when gluten is eaten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and oats. This causes damage to the lining of the gut and means that the body cannot properly absorb nutrients from food. It is not an allergy or food intolerance. Other parts of the body may also be affected.
If you have coeliac disease and/or dermatitis herpetiformis you have to avoid gluten for life.
The gluten-free diet is the only treatment for the condition.
On the gluten-free diet you can eat many foods including meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, rice and potatoes.
You can also eat gluten-free substitute foods and processed foods that don’t contain gluten.

On the gluten-free diet you CAN eat any naturally gluten-free foods, such as

  • meat
  • fish
  • fruit and vegetables
  • rice
  • potatoes
  • lentils and pulses
  • cornflour and starch
  • buckwheat flour
  • tapioca

The not so obvious foods to AVOID that have hidden gluten in are

  • Sausages and burgers (except for ones that are have the gluten free label on – now in many supermarkets)
  • Soya sauce – contains gluten (except for special gluten free soya sauce)
  • Many sauces and stocks contain gluten
  • Gluten free oats – many kids with coeliac disease cannot have – so please check that ingredients particularly of biscuits that say they are gluten free that they don’t contain oats.
  • Barley squash drinks – contains gluten
  • Baking powder – has gluten in except for  special gluten free baking powder
  • Pearl barley and couscous – is gluten

Websites and more info

The main website for Coeliac is Coeliac UK which is the charity for the condition, you can join from £24 a year and have more resources, but there is still quite a bit of info you can access without joining.
This page particularly shows the recipe for gluten free play dough.

Reading Ingredients labels

If you see any of the following on a food label you know that the food can be included in a gluten-free diet:

  • gluten-free
  • suitable for coeliacs
  • no gluten-containing ingredients
  • Crossed Grain symbol.
Look out for the words wheat, barley, rye, oats or gluten in the ingredients list. If you see these words listed on a food you need to avoid it.

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