A former Girl Scout explains how to 'be prepared' for gluten-free challenges.
By Kelly Clayton, Beyond Celiac Volunteer
I used to be a Girl Scout. I worked my way up from a Brownie to a Cadette, and during my Brownie days, I was the top cookie seller for Troop No. 52 for 3 years in a row. Although my Girl Scout days are well behind me, I know what it was like to sell Girl Scout cookies without being able to say, “They are really delicious!”
The hardest part about being involved in Boy or Girl Scouts with celiac is finding a substitute for cookies and party food. Many Scout events involve food, whether it is a Christmas party or a camping trip.
As a parent, it is your job to make sure your child has other options. If there is a Christmas party for their troop, make gluten-free Rice Krispies treats or something gluten-free that everyone can enjoy. Make enough food for the whole troop so your child doesn’t feel singled out by having their own personal food. Food dishes that are gluten-free and for everyone are much better in general. There will be many instances when you’ll need to bake gluten-free goods. So, finding a really delicious cookie, muffin, brownie or cupcake recipe is worth it! [Find kid-friendly gluten-free recipes here.]
Another tidbit for helping your child in Scouts is to make a project or badge about celiac. There is much flexibility in Scouts, so make it a project for the whole troop to go gluten-free for a day. The children will be asking your child for advice and will likely give your child more respect. Make sure the troop leaders follow the gluten-free diet, too!
The main point is to have the troop be aware of your child’s dietary needs and to always consider them before making any food decisions. If the troop and troop leaders are always considerate of your celiac child, then your child will become more comfortable with his or her needs, which is the main goal.
More from Kelly Clayton: