Back To School Gluten Free Safety

It's that special time of year again. No, not Christmas. It's 
almost time for the School year to begin. First day of the year is one week tomorrow where I am.

Sending Gluten Free kids to school can be a scary thought. Although my little guy is not intolerant to anything, I am trying to teach him about not sharing any food at school. Period. Sounds a little harsh I know. But in my opinion its better to be safe than sorry. The last thing I want is for him to share his lunch with someone who may be intolerant to it. There are so many food intolerance's out there and its not reasonable to expect very young children to understand them just yet.

Here are my top tips for back to school Gluten Free safety.

1) Have a sit down meeting with your child's teacher, principal and PTA head. Bring any materials you think will help to clearly get the message across. Make sure everyone is on the same page.

2) Supply both the teacher and office with a letter explaining how medically important remaining Gluten Free is for your child and the details of Celiac Disease. 

3) Advise that if there is accidental consumption of Gluten, that your child may need to use the washroom suddenly and possibly for multiple visits. Depending on the age your child and severity of the reaction, you may want to have the school contact you immediately.

4) Go over an action plan with your child and teacher about what to do in case of accidental glutening.

5) Ask the teacher for a list of dates where there will be food brought in for a special occasion such as a child's birthday or a Halloween party. Make note of these dates and send your child to school with a special treat for that day.

6) Make sure teachers know that your child cannot participate in crafts involving  regular noodles and play dough. Point out that children often touch their mouth without realizing it and how this would cause accidental ingestion of Gluten. See if you can provide a small craft kit to be kept at the school for your child. 

Items that can be included in craft kit : homemade GF playdough , GF noodles , peel and stick stickers, GF finger paint. The kit doesnt have to be huge. Just make sure it includes the GF version of what the other students will be using.

7) Advise that under NO circumstances is your child to be given any food other then what you have sent with them. Not all children are comfortable saying no and some don't understand the severity of their intolerance's until they are older.

8) Suggest that the teacher and or Librarian read a book about Celiac Disease to the students. Some great options are :

Mommy, What Is Celiac Disease?: A look at the sunny side of being a gluten-free kid

If you have any back to school tips, feel free to share via comment :)
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Review: Whole Foods Mississauga

Over the weekend we made a trip to Whole Foods in Mississauga Ontario.  Wow, what a journey that was! Really wish they would open up shop in Durham region.

I always have my eye open for new places to stock up on Gluten Free food so we went to check it out and see if there were any thing different  available there.

The staff at this location was really friendly and were awesome in helping me find GF food. Let me tell you what a scavenger hunt that was! I'm quite surprised that Whole Foods does not have a better way of displaying GF items. Even Metro does a better job then them, and I'm not fond of Metro's (location near me) GF layout. The food was everywhere. There was really no rhyme or reason to it.

Overall, the items at this location were pretty much on par with what I can get where I live. Nothing special other then the odd  crepe or lasagna. I know people say whole foods is overpriced but we only looked at Gluten Free items and well, they were pretty much on par with everywhere else. Yippee (note sarcasm).


Gluten Free Chicken & Potato Casserole - Review

How about a Gluten Free lunch all the way from Scotland. That's what I have here. 

This hearty dish is a Chicken & Potato Casserole. It is made by Tesco and is part of their Free From line. The price was IMPRESSIVE - £2.40 which works out to around $4.00 or so Canadian. Still, affordable by Gluten Free standards.

This product earned my favor right from the start. Just a few minutes in the microwave with the top sides of the package peeled open and we have a hearty meal!

Although it's called Chicken & Potato Casserole, it was more of a stew in my opinion. That could very well be due to our different way of wording things on this side of the pond.  It was fantastic! Not only did this come out of the microwave fiercely hot, but it did not have that signature microwaved texture.  Very rarely does anything come out of the microwave tasting like it was made fresh and this did. 

This dish reminded me of the stew that my grandmother used to make when I was a child. The chicken was moist and the potato had a nice bite to it. The only thing missing was dough balls. To remedy that, I grabbed a couple of Queijos and tossed in. Perfect!

The portion would probably be one bag to one person, unless your feeding this to kids. Then you could probably split it between two people.

I would definitely purchase this in the future...if I could. Unfortunately the lovely folks at Tesco do not ship to Canada and hubby wont be making a return trip to Scotland any time soon.  

This makes me want to fight for more Gluten Free variety in this country. We have enough cookies and snacks. I want to see healthy, ready to eat  and easy to prepare Gluten Free meals.  
That is a post for another day though.

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