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Gluten Free and Preschool

Today for 10 Days of Gluten Free, we have a guest post from my sister Flora, who has several family members that are gluten free. I hope you find her tips for preschoolers and gluten free helpful. 

Sending your small child to preschool can be stressful. Will they share the toys, will they miss home and cry the whole day, will they behave? And if they have any dietary restrictions, will they eat another child’s food?

If you have a preschooler or young elementary student eating gluten-free, you really want to explain to them the importance of eating only their own food. Even if it looks like food they eat at home, it really is best to ask a knowledgeable adult before sharing food. I know this may sound basic, but despite my best efforts to educate my daughter’s preschool teachers, my child did in fact eat crackers offered by a child sitting next to her at lunch one day. And unfortunately she got sick.

It’s very difficult for the staff to watch everything the children do at snack time or lunch; and I think there is some confusion since it is not an “allergy” with obvious, immediate symptoms like a rash or wheezing. Although I do believe the school should make a concerted effort, I also think it’s great to teach our children to take some responsibility for what they choose to eat. Let’s face it, life is going to be full of lots of tempting situations, so why not practice good decision making now.

Just last week my daughter came home from school with a lunchbox full of candy. She explained to me it was a classmate’s birthday and they had a pinata. But since she didn’t know what candy was safe to eat, she saved it all for home. We were so proud of her for being patient and waiting until she got home, as not all the candy was gluten-free.

So my gluten-free kids tip today: before sending your gluten-free child off to school, explain to them the importance of only eating their own food and remind them regularly! 

For more great gluten free information and giveaways please visit the other bloggers joining in on the 10 Days of Gluten Free.

Getting Started – Linda @ The Gluten-Free Homemaker

Resources – Wendy @ Celiacs in the House

Traveling – Karen @ Gluten-Free Travel Blog

Eating Out – Heather @ Gluten-Free Cat

Frugal Tips – Janelle @ Gluten Freely Frugal

Cooking – Carrie @ Ginger Lemon Girl

Baking – Jules @ Jules Gluten Free

Lunch Boxes – Tessa @ Tessa the Domestic Diva

Shopping – Laura @ Gluten Free Pantry

I hope you will join us for 10 Days of Gluten Free! GIVEAWAY OVER EMMA’S COMMENT ON THE PLAGHDOUGH POST WON. Winner chosen by

And here are the details for my giveaway.

I am giving away one $25 Bob’s Red Mill gift card that is good for their online store and one copy of my Cooking 101 For Kids ebook to one reader. 

  • This giveaway is limited to U.S. residents 18 and older.
  • You are allowed one entry per “10 Days of Gluten Free” blog post for a total of 10 entries on this blog.
  • Enter by leaving a comment on this post (and other 10 Days of GF posts)
  • The giveaway begins May 7, 2012 and ends at 11:59 pm eastern time on May 18, 2012.
  • No purchase is necessary. Odds of winning are based on the number of entries. The winner will be randomly chosen and will be contacted by email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond, a new winner will be randomly chosen.


Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. Young GF kids in school can be challenging, but it can be advantageous that they are able to learn early on in their lives what works for their bodies.

  2. Good for her! I know it couldn’t have been the easiest thing to wait. She’s a very smart girl!

  3. I am so impressed by your daughter’s patience!

  4. KATHI BASNER says


  5. Bonnie B says

    I’m grateful my daughters are in high school & college so this isn’t as much an issue.

  6. I am so thankful that it’s only me that has to be gluten free.

  7. Both of my boys are gluten-free and they both have been so, so, so good about eating only their food and always checking with me when they get food from others.

  8. Thankfully my “baby” is 20 and so far not G/I (unlike mom here) so I don’t have to worry about foods in school. Makes me glad that my problems with gluten didn’t surface until I was an adult, because being g/f when I was in school decades ago would have been very difficult.

  9. My granddaughter who is young is very good about not eating anything without asking her mother. She knows she will hurt if she does. She even carried a tootsi roll home one day to ask before she ate it.

  10. Shannon Ratliff says

    This was a great story. It would be really hard to be a kid with Celiac Disease. I was just diagnosed in Feb. of this year and it is hard for me, I am 43. Sounds like your sister is doing a good job teaching her daughter how to cope in school. I always wondered how a child would deal with the unfairness of not being able to eat what other kids are eating ie… cookies, cake, pizza, especially at party’s and school.

  11. Good post

  12. Jennifer C says

    Thanks. Why can’t they make regular playdoh gluten-free? Preschool would be so much easier for our gluten-free kids!

    • You will want to stay tuned for another post my sister is doing next week dealing with the playdough and gluten issue.

  13. Melanie Casey says

    I’ve seen my son tell other children and adults many times he cannot eat something or come to me and ask if he isn’t sure. It’s a way of life for him. It is important to teach them from a young age to take responsibility for their own health and explain what will happen if they have something they are allergic to or have an intolerance for. You would think that with the prevalence of food allergies, adults would think first about passing out candy to a child they’ve met for the first time, but it happens all the time. My son went to a children’s bible class as a visitor, and the first thing the teacher did was pass out Hershey’s Kisses to all the kids to bribe them to listen. He quickly informed her he was allergic.

  14. Great post, I am nervous for when my two year old starts preschool! My kids in elementary school handle it pretty well. But preschool? There seems to be gluten everywhere, snacks, crafts, play dough …sigh…

  15. I can’t imagine having a little one that is GF. I wonder now if my daughter should’ve gone gluten free as a child, or at least a teenager. (She has been diagnosed with Hashi’s as an adult.)

  16. My son is not GF, but is allergic to eggs and nuts, and it is hard having to trust someone else to make sure he doesn’t eat the wrong things. As diligent as I try to be, he has still been given candy with eggs in it (recently). At 4, he can tell you he can’t eat nuts or eggs if asked, but if somebody gives him a piece of candy, he is going to eat it, esp. if the other kids are. He is learning, but it is scary!

  17. What a smart kid.

  18. My Celiac child is a preschooler, so this post really hit home. We are blessed to have a teacher who is gluten intolerant so she understands and they take extreme measures to keep him safe. I hope we are half as lucky when he starts kindergarten!

  19. Angel R. says

    My son will be going to kindergarten in the fall. Since being diagnosed with celiac 19 months ago, he has adjusted very well to GF lifestyle. Hopefully he will continue to do well when he is around all those other kids who will no doubt be full of gluten!

  20. I can only imagine the worries of sending a child with food allergies off to school.

    While we’d like to think as adults it’s easier…sometimes, it’s not! Peer pressure can be overwhelming. My son was with his girlfriend and other friends at dinner. He let his girlfriend convince him that eating a roll with dinner wouldn’t bother him (this from a girl who’s allergic to seafood). Within 15 minutes, he pulled out his inhaler and was off to the bathroom. From that point on, she’s never questioned his avoidance of gluten.

  21. Cindy W. says

    In my preschool we teach all the children to care about their friends with food issues – so when snack is passed out – we have 20 children asking if it’s safe for our friend to eat.

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