Gluten is a hot nutrition topic these days, and there’s a lot of conflicting advice and opinions about it. So, what is gluten exactly? It’s the protein naturally found in many grains–such as wheat, barley, rye and triticale.
Reasons to Go Gluten-Free
People who follow a gluten-free diet may be doing so for a variety of reasons. While a wheat allergy is one of the most common reasons, only a very small percentage of the population actually has this allergy, despite it being one of the six common food allergies in children. Also, it is important to know that a wheat allergy may not be due to the gluten component of wheat.
Other medical reasons for following a gluten-free diet include Celiac Disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity. If you suspect that you, your children or a family member have a medical issue related to eating gluten, speak to your physician before removing gluten from your diet so you can receive an accurate diagnosis.
Reasons to Keep Gluten in Your Diet
Outside of these medical reasons, I do not advocate following a gluten-free diet. Whole grains that contain gluten are part of a healthy diet and provide B vitamins, fiber, protein and healthy fats. These are all important nutrients for growing children, and unnecessarily restricting gluten from a child’s diet can lead to nutrient deficiencies.
Kid Friendly Gluten-Free Recipes
That being said, for those who need to follow a gluten-free diet, there are more options available than ever before to substitute gluten-free ingredients in your favorite recipes. There are also many great meal options that are naturally gluten-free.
Here are a few gluten-free, easy recipes:
- Rainbow Chicken Drumstick Bake served with brown rice and steamed broccoli
- Loaded Sweet Potato Nachos served with a fruit salad
- Herb and Garlic Roasted Pork Tenderloin served with mashed potatoes and green beans
- Sunflower Zucchini Pie served with sliced oranges
And here are some additional recommendations for delicious gluten-free recipe collections, which include excellent baking recipes and tips:
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