Aug
25

Gluten-Free Treats and Snacks in the Classroom

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Earlier this month, I mentioned in my review of Mi-Del cookies that I give my kids’ teachers a small care package of gluten-free snacks at the beginning of the year for them to store in the classroom for my kids. These are not meant to be the snacks that my kids get to eat everyday. (I send my kids to school each day with gluten-free snacks and lunch.) The snacks in this care package are there for backup reasons because sometimes snacks and treats are offered in the classroom that aren’t gluten-free. And having these in the classroom makes sure that my kids are not left out of any last-minute activities involving gluten. For example:

  • Probably the most common situation: A classmate brings in cupcakes, cookies, or treats to share with the class for their birthday. My son chooses a package of cookies out of his gluten-free package.
  • The class earns a reward (popcorn) for good behavior or reaching a class goal, but the teacher isn’t sure if it’s gluten-free. My son gets a bag of popcorn or chips out of the gluten-free package.
  • The teacher creates a project that involves building something with pretzels or crackers, but forgets to tell us in advance. My daughter gets out her gluten-free pretzels or crackers to use instead.
  • My daughter’s snack or lunch didn’t make it to school and the cafeteria doesn’t offer anything gluten-free. My daughter can eat from her GF care package if I’m unable to bring it to school.
  • It is perhaps unlikely, but should an emergency situation arise and the school is on lock-down, I know my kids will have something they can eat without getting sick.

What’s in a Gluten-Free Care Package? I like to choose self-contained, single-serve, small packages of gluten-free items that won’t spoil in the teacher’s cabinet or desk. I also try to present it to the teacher in a small container that is easy for them to store. A large zip-style bag, or medium size plastic container clearly labeled Gluten-Free for my son or daughter seems to work well. Here are some items that we have used for this purpose:

Sweet Treats:

Salty Snacks:

Fruit Snacks:

Rice, Granola, or Energy Bars:

Communicate with the teacher! It’s been my experience that most teachers are familiar and comfortable with this arrangement. However, I  strongly suggest that you discuss it with the teacher before sending a small care package of food to school. This may not work in all classrooms or for all teachers. Along with the package of food that I provide to the teacher, I like to attach a brief note to remind the teacher what it is for, and to please let me know if at any time during the year it needs to be replenished.

Make it easy on yourself. Our family is fortunate to live in an area with gluten-free snack items available at our grocery stores. If this isn’t the case for you, you can order some items online. A single box of the Schar sandwich cookies with your student’s name clearly written on it would do the trick. Or, perhaps a small bag of your child’s favorite candy would work for you.

More occasions to use a gluten-free care package. All of these items would also be great gluten-free additions for a gluten-free lunch, a gift to send to college students, and for a travel pack.

Do you do something similar? Please feel free to add any other ideas in the comments.

 

20 Comments

1

I am new to being a GF mom, and this was a great read! My son is only 15 months old, and I haven’t decided if his young age is making it easier or harder to go GF. I have his snacks labeled in his diaper bag very clearly. I also mark my daughters snack very clearly so that they will not mistakenly give her to him. Sigh. I am still trying to find gluten free things my little one can eat, and I won’t lie, that is the hardest part! I feel like I feed him the same 8 things over and over again! Anyhoo, I enjoyed your post!

2

Amy B – I’m glad you found the post helpful. I am actually grateful that my son was diagnosed at an early age (20 mos). I’m glad his body didn’t suffer years of damage before being discovered, like so many celiacs. He also didn’t have much time to develop tastes for the gluten-filled foods that other kids eat. Instead, he is good about eating fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as some gluten-free treats. I also had more control over his food choices, and more time to teach him gradually what he can and can’t eat. I can’t wait for the labeling regulations to get passed, so reading labels will be easier for everyone, including teachers, daycare providers, etc. Have you tried Schar Cheese Bites? They are similar to goldfish crackers (though in different shapes), and would be great for toddlers.

3

What a fantastic resource! My daughter started pre-k the other week and I’ve been meaning to make a safe snack stash for her, but wasn’t sure what to include. Thank you!
-Dana

4

Dana – I’m so happy to give you some ideas to get started. If you come up with some new ideas of your own, please let us know!

5

[…] Snacks and Treats in the Classroom – Glutino Crackers and FoodShouldTasteGood Multigrain Chips […]

6

I think my three year old is gluten intolerant, and we’ll be going gluten free in an effort to cure her tummy woes. Just curious – did your kids test positive for celiac with a blood test? She did not.

She starts a new preschool next week, so we are going to start then. These are great ideas!

7

Lauren – We took the blood tests over 8 years ago, and they were inconclusive. My son had an endoscopy, which showed the blunted villi, and thus was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. He was the only one in our family “fortunate” enough to have the procedure done and receive the official diagnosis. The rest of our family just found ourselves feeling better on a gluten-free diet, so we’ve stuck with it. My daughter and I have also found it necessary to remove dairy from our diet to avoid tummy woes. Good luck with preschool, and the new diet!

8

Lauren
Both my daughters tests didn’t show up Celiac with the endoscopy but with allergy testing it did show an allergy. They are 10 & 13. We have all gone gluten free over the last two years. They had major tummy woes but are finally healing and gaining weight now. The best way we did our change was to add more veggies and fruits to there diet and less of the normal gluten items made the gluten free way. I am a college student on a smaller budget and can not find a lot of gluten free items but with a dr prescription to the schools (as your child ages) they can provide the needed gluten free meals for them. I’m always researching new ways to make there favorites into gluten free. Not succeeding with bread so we omit that and use premade English muffins and corn tortillas for them as alternatives. I’m glad you found out early. It is hard to go shopping and tell the girls we can’t buy that. I also have to be careful with them at friends because they sneak the wrong foods, thus many times we have play dates and overnights at home.
Heather
Thank you for these wonderful suggestions. My girls are included in the back pack program and I can pass this along to the organizations so they can be informed for my girls and other families to send these kind if snacks home for the gluten free students instead of ravioli and regular crackers and peanut butter.

9

I also plan to make a snack pack for church since they get snacks on Sundays at Sunday school and Children’s church.
On Wednesday evening I know they have been serving my girls a gluten free meal when meals are provided, sometimes I send them a meal from home if I know ahead of time what is being served is not gluten free.
Thank you again for the suggestions

10

Julie – Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and suggestions! 10 and 13 must be difficult ages to make such big changes to the diet. They will be better off making the change now, instead of waiting until they’re older and experiencing even more health problems. Good luck, and keep in touch.

11

[…] You may want to pack a bag of snack food for each person. They can pack their own favorites. When, they have eaten everything, they can use the bag for trash. Here are some more ideas for packing Gluten-Free Treats and Snacks. […]

12

I just want to thank you for this resource. I suspect that my 20 month old daughter will be diagnosed with celiac disease soon–we’re waiting on the results of her biopsies. In the meantime, I’ve been researching the illness, and now I’m pretty sure that the “suspected rheumatoid arthritis” they’ve been monitoring me for is actually celiac disease. I’ll be contacting my doctor tomorrow to see about getting tested for celiac.

Regardless of how it turns out for me or my daughter, this website is a tremendous resource for gluten-free living. Thank you so much for your time and efforts.

13

Nicci — Thanks for your comments. Always nice to feel appreciated. :) I hope you and your daughter find gluten-free living to be a solution for your problems.

14

[…] Kid-Friendly, Gluten-Free Snacks and Treats in the Classroom – … a small care package of gluten-free snacks at the beginning of … tastes for the gluten-filled foods that other kids eat … even more health … […]

15

[…] And more! The snacks above are the ones we’ve been eating recently. You’ll find even more gluten-free snack products listed at this post I wrote about School Snacks and this one about Gluten-Free Care Packages. […]

16

[…] Kid -Friendly, Gluten – Free Snacks and Treats in the Classroom – Ideas of single-serve gluten-free snacks and treats that can be stored in the classroom for kids who can’t eat treats with gluten. Also … He also didn’t have much time to develop tastes for the gluten-filled foods that other kids eat. Instead, he is good about eating fresh fruits and … […]

17

[…] Kid -Friendly, Gluten – Free Snacks and Treats in the Classroom – Ideas of single-serve gluten-free snacks and treats that can be stored in the classroom for kids who can’t eat treats with gluten. Also good for travel, college, lunch, etc … The best way we did our change was to add more veggies and fruits to there diet and less of the normal gluten items … […]

18

[…] Kid -Friendly, Gluten – Free Snacks and Treats in the Classroom – Earlier this month, I mentioned in my review of Mi-Del cookies that I give my kids’ teachers a small care package of gluten-free snacks at the beginning of the year for them to store in the classroom for my kids. […]

19

[…] Kid -Friendly, Gluten – Free Snacks and Treats in the Classroom – Ideas of single-serve gluten-free snacks and treats that can be stored in the classroom for kids who can’t eat treats with gluten. Also good for travel, college, lunch, etc. Home; About; … Gluten-Free Halloween Candy List. Gluten-Free Spooky Treats. […]

20

[…] Kid -Friendly, Gluten – Free Snacks and Treats in the Classroom – Ideas of single-serve gluten-free snacks and treats that can be stored in the classroom for kids who can’t eat treats with gluten. … (I send my kids to school each day with gluten-free snacks and lunch.) … Healthy Gluten Free Kid Snacks « Recipes for Health August 15th, 2014 at 4:40 am … […]

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