Celebrations at school can be a tough thing for a kid with food allergies. Between birthday and holiday celebrations alone, my daughter can miss out on around 30-40 various treats brought in to school throughout the year. Our school allows each child to bring in cookies, cupcakes, donuts, etc. for their class to help celebrate their birthday. I love that we can celebrate each kid, but it can be quite isolating for someone with celiac disease. We have a few extremely thoughtful parents and friends who send in a special gluten free treat, which, by the way, always makes her highlight reel of the day!
One of my biggest fears as she started school a few years ago was how she was going to handle being different and occasionally being left out because of her celiac. I'm very grateful for her kindergarten teacher because she offered a simple solution that we have used ever since! At the beginning of each school year, I fill a box with gluten free treats that she can pick from whenever treats are offered she can't have or doesn't feel safe eating. Her teacher tucks them away and helps her use them appropriately.
There are a few requirements we have when filling a tub with gluten free treats: shelf-stability, peanut free, tree nut free, safe for her to eat with orthodontic gear (at least this year!), and finally, an appropriate size. Every year the box looks a little different thanks to all of the new gluten free options available.
Now for planned holiday parties, I try my best to find out what is being served ahead of time and plan appropriately. For example, decorating sugar cookies seems to be a really popular thing for kids class parties (there must be something amazing about piling frosting and sprinkles on a cookie to ones delight!). I always make sure to send in a gluten free sugar cookie and often will sign up to bring sugar cookies for the entire class. Rice crispy treats are another one I run into a lot, which is why I packed a few in her box this year!
As always, check your ingredients to make sure everything is gluten free! We ran into a problem this summer eating gummy bears we knew to previously be gluten free and now their label changed to say certain ingredients 'may be derived from wheat or corn'. So frustrating! It was a good reminder to always check.
I'd love to hear how you handle your young ones celiac at school. What other gluten free foods would you put in a box?
Gluten Free School Treats
- Granola bars
- Crisped rice bars
- Fruit snacks/rolls
- Gluten free candies
- Z-bar makes individually wrapped brownies
- Gummy bears
- 1 plastic tub or box with lid
- Combine all treats and place in a tub, preferable with a locking lid.