Growing Up Celiac
A diagnosis of celiac disease or a gluten-related disorder can be overwhelming at first. For children, it might mean a change to their diet and having to enjoy different snacks and treats than the ones they might be used to having. They or their caregiver will 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’s just takes some time, knowledge and a bit of practice.
It’s important for the child along with the parents to learn to read labels and advocate for themselves.
Growing Up Celiac is brought to you by Gold Partner Kinnikinnick.
Let’s get you some help!
Enjoy this 20-page easy-to-read resource, available in both English and French, written specifically for parents who have children with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. It contains information about the disease, tips from fellow parents, nutrition tips, recipes, and gluten free lunch and snack ideas. If you are a hospital, health clinic, healthcare provider, public health or other institution, please contact us directly for bulk orders at email@example.com.
After you fill out the form, scroll down to check out our short videos and below featuring parents and children. Watch them with your child together!
- Teacher Brochure: Start your school year off right by providing this handy fact sheet for teachers: Click here to download.
- Teacher Letter : Another handy resource to provide to your child’s teachers. Click here to download.
- Summer or Day Camp: Your child is heading off to summer camp. Download and customize to provide for them. Click here.
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 daughters diagnosis.
Learn From Other Parents
Enjoy this parent-led discussion about parenting celiac children attending school. This was a pre-recorded Zoom session with an opportunity for questions at the end, recorded in August, 2021. The panel was sponsored by Kinnikinnick Foods, Gold Partner of our Growing Up Celiac program.
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 – Videos
Three Canadian families share their coping strategies and navigating day to day life inside and outside the home.
Sadie’s Gluten-free Tips!
- Read all labels, and learn to recognize the words wheat, barley, rye and oats.
- Also learn how to recognize the Gluten-free certification symbol!
- 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.
- 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).
- If something doesn’t have ingredients on it, I don’t take it.
- In the lunchroom at school, I eat at the end of the table, where there are fewer kids around me with crumbs.
- 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.
- You even have to check toys – PlayDoh and some other craft kits contain gluten!
- Whatever you can’t buy gluten-free, you can try to make!
- You should feel unique in your own way!
Celiac Disease Learning Hub
A new online module developed by University of Toronto researchers are providing interactive e-learning on the gluten-free diet for children with celiac disease.
We are grateful for the support of CCA Gold Partner Kinnikinnick for their generous support. Many thanks to the families for sharing their tips and time!