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Growing Up Celiac

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Resources for children, parents & caregivers 

Being diagnosed with celiac disease or a gluten-related disorder diagnosis can be overwhelming at first. For children, it means a major change to their diet and having to enjoy different snacks and treats than those they’re used to. Or those everyone else in class is enjoying. A gluten-free diet for life is the only current known cure for celiac disease so children will need to learn as soon as they can how to best manage a healthy lifestyle and learn to advocate for themselves. 

As soon as they are able children need to carefully check labels for sources of gluten. Chocolates, sauces and treats often contain wheat but there are many that are safe to consume. It just takes some time, knowledge and a bit of practice. Check out the Food Guide for Celiac Kids below to learn all you need to know.

It’s important for your child to advocate for themselves. Building confidence, learning how to say no and being okay standing out from everyone else are necessary character traits children will need to develop to learn to thrive. 

That’s why we created the Celiac Workbook and a curated list of many other resources you can download and read through them with your child, learning together. Also enjoy a wide range of videos and podcasts listed below.  Check back often as we update this page with the latest news and research. 

Celiac Canada Resources For Children

Growing Up Celiac 

Enjoy this 20-page easy-to-read brochure, available in both English and French, written specifically for parents who have children with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Find out all about CD, tips from fellow parents, nutrition tips, recipes, and gluten-free lunch and snack ideas.

If you’d like a bulk order for a hospital or clinic contact us at clientrelations@celiac.ca.

Flip through the booklet to see what’s inside, then sign up and get it sent to your inbox by email.  

I'm Still Me! Kids Activity Book

A fun activity book for kids to fill in and learn self-confidence living with celiac. Drawing, colouring in, spot the difference…

Sign up on the button right and we’ll send you a link to download and print out the booklet. We’ll also add you to our mailing list to get notified of new resources and information to safely manage the lifelong gluten-free journey.  

Teacher Brochure 

Educate your child’s teacher on celiac disease and how it might affect learning.

School Letter 

Explaining your child’s condition to be kept on file with contact info. in case of emergency. 

Summer or Day Camp 

S/he’s heading off to summer camp. Fill out the letter & send to camp so they can cater gluten-free for your child.

Recipe Shopping List

All you need to make the Back to School Recipes.

Back to School Shopping List Celiac Canada

Back-to-school recipes 

Fill those lunch boxes with gluten-free feasts they’ll love.  

Back to School Recipes Celiac Canada



Additional Resources

Celiac Disease Learning Hub

A new online module developed by University of Toronto researchers providing interactive e-learning on the gluten-free diet for children with celiac disease. 

Food Guide for Celiac Kids

Podcast

Dr Diana Mager from the University of Alberta discusses her CONQUER study on a new food guide for celiac kids with Sue Jennett, from a Canadian Celiac Podcast. 

The Guide

The first ever food guide specifically for celiac kids! Created by Dr Diana Mager et al. from the University of Alberta.  Everything you and your child need to know about healthy eating. Game changer. 

Parent to Parent – You got this!

“Instead of focusing on substitutes, we are trying to stay with foods that naturally don’t contain gluten, and it’s easy to make up a meal of fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, dairy, eggs, beans, etc. The only tricky situations are the unexpected ones – when you’re out and all of a sudden, all the kids are being offered a treat that is not gluten-free.  We try to keep a treat in our car/bags so that we are prepared for these situations.  But our daughter understands and trusts that if we don’t have an alternative right away, we will make it up to her as soon as possible. “  – Tiffault Family

“When we first heard we thought it would be extremely hard to manage as we were big bread eaters and generally interested in eating all kinds of different foods. However, after the first few months, we were much more relaxed about it. It just takes time to get to know the foods/products you can eat and time to get into a rhythm around making lunches, handling social occasions and things. We are lucky to live in a moment where there is lots of awareness about gluten-free diets – there are a lot of products to eat and many restaurants in big cities are familiar with gluten free diets/cross-contamination.” – Kate B.

“You were given this life because you are strong enough to live it. Life is all about how you handle plan B. Surround yourself with people who get it (or want to get it). Your attitude determines your direction. When you replace, “Why is happening to me?”, with “What is this trying to teach me?” Everything shifts.” Julie W.

For additional stories from parents, check out A Canadian Celiac Podcast Episode 161, where Sue Jennett speaks to Lisa Rigney about her daughter’s diagnosis.

Learn From Other Parents

Enjoy this parent-led discussion about parenting celiac children attending school with a Q&A at the end, recorded Aug, 2021. 

The panel discussion covers:

  • How to talk with teachers
  • Setting your child up for success in the classroom
  • School resources available from the CCA
  • Packing safe lunches
  • Empowering your children
  • Handling getting glutened at school
 

Canadian Families Share their Tips 

How do you cope with kids growing up celiac,  navigating day-to-day and outside the home. Your questions answered. 

Sadie's Gluten-free Tips

Sadie featured in our 2021 festive fundraising campaign. These are her top ten tips for self-managing celiac disease. 

  1. Read all labels, and learn to recognize the words wheat, barley, rye and oats.
  2. Also learn how to recognize the Gluten-free certification symbol!
  3.  I bring my own pizza and cupcakes to birthday parties. I don’t eat the ones there. If there are gluten-free chips at the party, I pour some out from the bag, instead of reaching into the same bowl as everyone else.
  4. I like to read books and watch TV shows about other people who have Celiac Disease (Like the book Eating Gluten Free with Emily and the TV show Sugar Rush).
  5. If something doesn’t have ingredients on it, I don’t take it.
  6. In the lunchroom at school, I eat at the end of the table, where there are fewer kids around me with crumbs.
  7. If you are disappointed when someone offers you food that you know you can’t eat, make a plan to get something else afterwards that will be just as good.
  8. You even have to check toys – PlayDoh and some other craft kits contain gluten!
  9. Whatever you can’t buy gluten-free, you can try to make!
  10. You should feel unique in your own way!

Max's top Tips

Live life to the Max! Like our Max, the poster child for our 2023 fundraising campaign. Here are his tips. 

  1. Don’t stress-there are so many gluten-free foods to eat!
  2. Ask an adult to keep a list and a google map of all the restaurants and shops with gluten-free options. Follow my insta@maxsgfmunchies for some favourites!
  3. Don’t be shy about telling people you have celiac. My friends are great and have gluten-free food when I come over. But not everyone can do that, so always bring safe snacks as a gift for their house!
  1. Don’t be overwhelmed. Don’t be scared. You can manage it. My brothers, Noah and Cole, asked me to tell you that they were really scared when they found out I had celiac disease because they didn’t know what it meant and if I would be OK.

    But now they know that I’m fine and there is nothing to be scared of especially when you have family, friends and a place like Celiac Canada to be there for you!

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