It’s almost back to school time! Back to school is exciting and stressful all at the same time. Here at the CCA we hope we can make the transition a little easier for you and your family. Explore lunch box solutions, review our recent parent discussions, learn how to make tasty banana chocolate chip muffins with our Registered Dietitian, Nicole Byrom, and top tips for heading back to school!
Lunch box solutions
- Cheese: cheddar, marble, swiss, cheese strings, cheese rounds
- Fruit: apples, bananas, mandarin oranges, strawberries, blueberries
- Gluten-free breads for a quick sandwich
- Veggies: baby carrots, cucumbers, peppers, snow peas
- Crackers: any gluten–free variety (goes nicely with the cheese)
- Hummus (can purchase individual containers or divide into your own reusable containers)
- Yogurt (can be paired with fruit or alone)
- Freezer/ fresh banana chocolate chip muffins (recipe link)
- Freezer / fresh gluten–free granola bars
- Seeds, chocolate chips, dried fruit – to throw together a quick trail mix
- Eggs (to hard boil)
- Canned goods: black beans, chickpeas
- Canned soups – in thermos for warm winter lunch
- Shar gluten-free bread
Lunch box #1:
Black beans and rice (thermos)
Guacamole or salsa for dipping
GF animal crackers
Vegetables with Hummus
Grilled Cheese Ham Sandwich
Cucumber and carrots
GF Italian sausage with marinara sauce for dipping
Yogurt with diced strawberries
Snap pea crisps
Lunchbox #4 – DIY lunchable
Cheese – Cheddar, Colby, Mozzarella, Swiss
Whole grain GF crackers
Cucumber and carrots
Chocolate chip muffin
Top 10 tips from the Parent Panel
- Print out and provide your teachers with the Canadian Celiac Association’s ‘Celiac Disease Teacher’s Info’ handout. Link: Teacher Handout
- Print out and hand in the pre-written ‘teacher letter’ found on the CCA website. Here is the link: School letter
- Provide your child’s teacher with a ‘stash’ of their favourite gluten–free goodies for unexpected classroom celebrations. Go shopping with your child and allow them to choose their favourites.
- Encourage your child to participate in lunch making / lunch choices. Providing choice and participation will often equate to better acceptance of lunch items.
- Keep easy lunch items in the freezer to make lunch making easier. Eg. granola bars, mini muffins.
- Communicate! Make sure teachers, staff and friend’s parents understand what celiac disease is and how this affects your child. Emphasize the importance of a strict GF diet, including avoiding cross contact.
- Label smaller children’s items with ‘gluten–free‘ stickers, or write with permanent marker on food related items. Eg. backpack, lunch kit, water bottle. Order back to school labels (or Gluten–Free labels) from Oliver’s Labels and the CCA will receive 20% from each order. Click here!
- Empower you children with knowledge so they can be their own advocate and an ambassador for those with celiac disease.
- Expect ups and downs and set expectations for parties and play dates. You can always have a special treat for your child when they are home if there was an event that they could not participate in. Remember treats don’t always have to be food!
- Have a a plan for your child if they get sick at school.
Nicole’s lunch box banana chocolate chip muffins
Meet our back to school superstars
Meet Charlotte, Molly, and Rosie!
Charlotte was only 4 when she was diagnosed with CD. She adapted quickly to the new diet and thrived over the last year as her belly pain disappeared and she found new energy. When I asked what she was best at, Charlotte said riding her bike, rollerblading, and swimming. And coming from a little girl who a year ago was too tired to play at a birthday party with her friends, it’s a little bit of a miracle. She’s an amazing soul and a force to be reckoned with. I can’t wait to see what she does next!
Here is Molly winning an award of excellence for taekwondo. Molly was diagnosed at the age of 7 and is now 13 years old. Molly has always taken her diagnosis in stride (I am celiac too so it wasn’t totally new to her). Since diagnosis Molly has taken up taekwondo and is now a 2nd Dan black belt and has won gold medals in sparring! We are so proud of her! Molly is certainly not held back by celiac disease.
Rosie was diagnosed with celiac disease when she was 7 years old, she is now 12! Rosie, aka Katie, is a dancer. She was on the competitive dance team in Ottawa, and CD has not held her back. Unfortunately, Covid temporarily put a damper on dance but it gave Rosie the opportunity to work on her other hobby: creating GF videos to inspire other kids! Rosie’s channel: GF 4 U and me