Resources for Teens on a Gluten-Free Diet
March 13, 2012
My son’s test results just came back and they show he is sensitive to gluten (as well as cow’s milk, eggs and soy). I have been gluten-free for several years, but since neither of my children showed obvious signs, I didn’t have them tested until now.
My son will be 18 next month and off to college next year. I’d like help with how to best support him. I have tons of resources for myself and I do my family’s cooking, but he eats at school, lives on cereal and bread and is off to his pre-season (basketball) pizza dinner tonight. Any suggestions for teens on navigating a gluten-free diet at this age? Thanks in advance.
Thanks so much for your question! My first recommendation for gluten-free resources for your teenage son is right here on NFCA’s website. Although your son is not out of the house yet, it’s not too early for him to prepare himself for navigating a gluten-free college lifestyle. I encourage both you and your son to check out the new Gluten-Free in College section on NFCA’s website. It includes guides, blog posts and articles.
In regards to what your son is eating now, it sounds like he is eating well at home, but could benefit from keeping some healthy snacks with him such as gluten-free protein bars (Larabars, Zing Bars, and Perfect Foods Bars are just a few of my favorites. Download a list of gluten-free energy bars), and trail mix with nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and some dark chocolate. That way, when he finds himself away from home right before a game or practice, he has something healthier to eat than simply gluten-free cereal or bread. He can even prepare a simple gluten-free cheese pizza at home using a pre-made gluten-free crust, such as Rudi’s or Udi’s, to take along to his team pizza party.
Lastly, if your son uses a smartphone, as many teens do, he can definitely take advantage of today’s technology. There are numerous gluten-free apps on the market that help make gluten-free eating a lot easier (and safer) than in the past. A good one to check out is Find Me Gluten Free, a free guide to gluten-free restaurants in your area.
In good heath,
EA Stewart, MBA, RD