flag image

Managing Difficult Diets

Tips for handling a child's restrictive dietary requirements


April 2014

Planning meals the entire family will happily eat is a challenge. If your child is diagnosed with a diet-altering health condition, the task can seem overwhelming.

"Focus on the positive, such as foods your child can eat, versus what she cannot," says Jennifer Cleveland, MMSc, RD, CDE, pediatric dietician with Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health. "Educate yourself and your child's caregivers. Reading labels is a must and preparation is key."

Finding a nutritionist who can provide educational materials, links to websites, support groups and grocers can also help parents with the process.

Some basic tips include:
  • Pack food before traveling and ask what is being served at class parties, team meals or outings so that you can provide alternatives.
  • Before shopping, arm yourself with a list of allowable products.
  • Dedicate a cabinet and refrigerator shelf for safe foods.
  • Consider separate cooking supplies for allergen-free preparation. Shared cutting boards, utensils and close proximity to foods with the allergen can lead to cross-contamination.
  • As often as possible, prepare meals everyone can eat as a kindness to your child who is often singled out.

    Gluten intolerance

    Glutens are proteins found in specific grains of wheat, rye, oats, malt and barley and are often hidden in processed foods and restaurant meals. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which ingesting gluten damages the small intestine and reduces nutrient absorption. Treatment is 100% avoidance of gluten for life. If you have a child with celiac disease, keep a list of acceptable snacks, foods and restaurants to share with anyone who may feed your child. Pack provisions or ensure safe food is available at school and extra-curricular activities. Go to tasting events at stores and expositions to discover new food possibilities. Involving your child in food choices will increase compliance and acceptance.

    ...continued on page 2
  • Pages | 1 | 2 | 3

    For more information on managing difficult diets, check out these resources.







    Kids with Celiac Disease: A Family Guide to Raising Happy, Healthy, Gluten-free Children by Danna Korn

    Cilie Yack is Under Attack: A Story About a Boy with Celiac Disease by Caryn Tatly

    Indianapolis Support Groups:

    Raising Our Celiac Kids; KellyKurzhal@hotmail.com, www.celiac.org

    Gluten Free Indy; www.glutenfreeindy.com

    Local grocers:

    Nature's Pharm, Nature's Market, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Kroger's, Meijer, Marsh

    Internet grocers:

    www.glutenfreemall.com, www.glutenfree.com, www.glutensolutions.com


    Celiac Camp Jameson for Kids (Indianapolis) - Glutenfreelivingnow.org

    Gluten-Free Food Allergy Expo: August 23-24 Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis



    www.crohnsandcolitisinfo.com (Free download: Crohn's Q & A Book)

    www.ccfa.org (Free download book: IBD & Me: Activity Book for Kids)


    The First Year: Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis: An Essential Guide for the Newly

    Diagnosed by Jill Sklar, MD

    Toilet Paper Flowers: A Story for Children about Crohn's Disease by Frank Sileo, PhD and

    Martha Grandisher

    Support Group:

    Indiana Chapter of Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (317) 259.8071 (800) 332.6029



    www.aaaai.org (American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology)




    No Peanuts for Me! by Dr. Catherine Hagerman Pangan

    The Parent's Guide to Food Allergies: Clear and Complete Advice from the Experts on Raising

    Your Food-Allergic Child by Marianne Barber, Maryanne Bartoszek Scott and Elinor Greenberg

    Support Group/Events:

    www.kidswithfoodallergies.org, email: IndyPoCHA@gmail.com

    Food Allergy and Research Education National Conference: June 20-22, Hyatt Regency

    O'Hare, Rosemont, Illinois

    Tags: Featured Article, Featured Article, In This Issue, Parenting, Toddler

    Comments ()
    Race for a Cure
    St. Francis