Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lets talk about "normal" foods for kids

I LOVE that there are so many gluten free choices these days. Gracie has been gluten free for 2.5 years and the amount of "Gluten Free" foods that actually state it on the label is amazing! The items that you used to could find only at a health food store (Udi's, Glutino, Pamela's, Amy's etc.) are now found at local grocery stores - it really is exciting to see!

That said... Gracie wants to be normal. She wants to have "normal" foods in her lunches, normal foods at parties, normal foods at restaurants. She is going into Middle School this fall which is hell enough - lets add not being "normal" to the mix! So - lets talk about "normal food." Of course fruits and veggies are obviously gluten free (least you think we just eat junk all of the time :)


- Fruity or Cocoa Pebble Treats! They are like Rice Crispy Treats (except RC's are not GF), individually packaged and perfect for lunches, on the go snacks or parties!

- A lot of the Frito Lay chips! Gracie especially loves the Cool Ranch Dorito's. The Nacho Cheese Dorito's are sadly not gluten free. Lay's Stax are our go to favorite for travel! It is not a car trip if we don't have Lay's Stax (it is like Pringles - but Pringles are not GF.)

- Hunt's Snack Pack puddings are gluten free!

- String Cheese, cheese cubes, cheese, cheese, cheese! We do love us some cheese around here (except for Sam who can't have it :(

- Jif To Go! This is our go to protein that we take with us when we are unsure about what there will be for Gracie to eat. Lunch, parties, snack, restaurant - you name it. They are little 1.5 oz individual cups of peanut butter just begging to be dipped with apples, crackers, Frito's, celery or just with a spoon.


Let me say that we no longer blindly trust gluten free menus. I have become one of "those Mothers" when we dine out. Even places who state they have procedures in place and have advertised as being safe for those needing to be gluten free - I have found them to have become lazy with their "protocols." Ask for a manager to be sure.

- Taco Bell. They are really good at covering themselves on their web site by stating "Prepared in common equipment." I like that - it is good to know. That said - we have never had a problem with their basic foods - Chips and cheese, taco shells with lettuce and cheese. Needless to say their meat has gluten in it.

- Subway!!! Our new go to favorite! They are testing Subway Gluten Free Sandwiches/buns in their North Texas stores (and possibly elsewhere - but I can't find specifics on this.) I know at our subway it states it flat on the door! They have specific protocol for making the sandwiches (changing gloves, wiping down the counter, etc.) and will get fresh meat, cheese etc. if you ask. I am on them like a hawk! while making Gracie's sandwich since there are so many bread crumbs floating around but thankfully they have always been nice and helpful and we haven't had any problems as of yet.

- Pei Wei. We loves us some Pei Wei!! It is our favorite dining place. Gracie "deconstructs" her Pei Wei Spicy where everything is on the side (chicken, veggies, rice, sauce.) She eats every bite of chicken! That said - we have to be on the ball when we go there - we have had a couple of hick ups and now I immediately ask for a manager.

- CiCi's Pizza. Or should we say Cici's Crustless pizza. They will make a "pizza" in a foil pan with sauce, pizza and GF toppings (veggies, etc.) Gracie brings her Glutino Cheese Crackers and eats it as a pizza dip. She has also started doing something similar at home - She gets the Ragu Pizza Sauce, cover the bottom of a cereal bowl and top with some good mozzarella cheese and microwave for 1 minute. She LOVES this!

- Boston's Pizza has a gluten free pizza - it is very, very yummy!

- Uno Chicago Grill - we can't decide whose pizza we like better - Boston's or Uno's! Either way she eats EVERY bite!

- Grilled Chicken or grilled Salmon. We have had great success w/various restaurants getting simply grilled chicken or salmon - most restaurants have this - check with the manager - they are usually very helpful!

- Chili's has a great gluten free menu. Gracie likes the grilled chicken but she LOVES the Original Memphis Dry Rubbed Ribs - they will also do those on the children's menu. Skip the Chips - they are not gluten free (we learned the hard way :(


- Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles! These are our current go to favorites for breakfast. I LOVE that they have stated "Gluten Free" right on the front of the box.

- Chex Cereals. I have written about the first time I went to the store to look for something gluten free for Gracie and Rice Chex was right there w/the words "Gluten Free" right on the front! I have loved them ever since. Chex has been the leader in "main stream" cereals becoming gluten free - I am glad others are following!

- Fruity Dino Bites is also a great kids cereal. They are in a bag instead of a box. The Fruity Dino Bites is the only cereal stated GF on the Malt O Meal site.

- Eggs and Bacon! Did I say BACON!! Gracie LOVES bacon (really - who doesn't??) It doesn't matter if it is breakfast, lunch or dinner we can almost always get an egg over medium and some bacon on the side. (As long and they keep the stupid biscuit or toast off of the stinking plate!! Even after asked not to put it on...) this is a perfect easy to get meal.

I am sure there are many more - but goodness this is a long list! I have always said it is a blessing that if Gracie "had" to get Celiac then we are thankful we have so many choices to choose from.

Does anyone have favorites to add? I would love to hear from you.