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Living with Celiac Disease as a Kid

Living with celiac disease can be hard, especially when you’re a kid. Yes, things will be different from now on, but that’s not a bad thing! Knowing that you have celiac disease and need to eat gluten-free is what is going to make you feel better and stay healthy.

Do you have questions about living with celiac disease? You’re in luck! Beyond Celiac has answers. Keep reading to learn how to handle different situations. Remember – lots of kids are living with celiac disease. You are not alone!

How to Talk to Your Friends about Celiac Disease

You are familiar with celiac disease, but your friends might not be. That’s ok! With your help, they’ll understand celiac disease and why eating gluten-free stops you from being sick.

Here are some tips on how to talk about celiac disease with your friends. You can use these tips when you talk to adults, too!

  • “I have celiac disease, which means I can’t eat things like bread, spaghetti or other things made with something called gluten. But there are a lot of things I can eat, as long as they are made specifically for people like me.”
  • “Celiac disease is kind oflike a food allergy – like when some kids can’t eat nuts – except you don’t always get sick right away. You might feel sick later, and it takes a long time to feel better.”
  • “People with celiac disease can’t eat gluten or they’ll get sick. Some people get a bad tummy ache and have to go to the bathroom a lot and some people throw up. Different people with celiac disease feel different things when they have gluten.”
  • “You can’t catch celiac disease like you can catch a cold.”
  • “I’m a lot like other kids. I like going to sleepovers and riding my bike. I just eat differently to stay healthy.” (Tell kids about your favorite things to do!)

Super Tip: Read a book about celiac disease to your class. Then answer their questions so they can understand it better.

How to Talk To Your Friends about Gluten-Free Food

You and your parents do a lot of things to keep you safe and gluten-free. It’s also important for your friends, relatives and other grown-ups to learn about gluten-free food so they can help you make good choices and stay healthy.

Ways to Talk to Other Kids and Adults about Gluten-Free Food

Try saying some of these things the next time someone asks you about gluten-free:

  • “There’s something called gluten in things like the bread, pizza, pasta and cookies you eat. I can’t eat them because my body can’t handle them. But I can eat the gluten-free versions of those same foods and so many other things!”
  • “I can eat fruits and vegetables because those don’t have gluten. Rice and potatoes are gluten-free, too.”
  • “Some companies make special kinds of bread and cookies that don’t have gluten. I can eat that, but the box has to say ‘gluten-free.’”
  • “Sometimes gluten can sneak into my food. If bread or something else that’s not gluten-free touches my food, it can make me sick, so I have to be really careful.”
  • “Gluten-free food tastes really good! Sometimes you can’t even tell which one’s the gluten-free kind.”

Super Tip: Invite your friends over for a gluten-free cupcake party. That way, they will know how yummy gluten-free food is!


Think you may have celiac disease?

Symptoms Checklist