How to Feed a Child Athlete with Celiac Disease
A child with celiac disease shouldn't be treated like a spun glass. While following their strict diet carefully, it's important to not discourage them from any sport or outdoor activity. Try not to take them out of their soccer practice or games, and make sure they have a snack before the game.
A heavy meal is not recommended before a game, but snacks are a great option to help the athlete compete with the best!
Before we get into a few tips on how to feed your child athlete with celiac, here is some information about celiac disease. First off, celiac disease is an autoimmune illness that doesn't yet have a cure. However, it is treatable. Celiac disease means that the digestive system has an issue with foods that contain gluten. Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, barley, rye and triticale.
The disease damages the inside of your small intestine that causes a problem with absorbing nutrients from food. You do need to change your diet to avoid anemia, osteoporosis, and a risk of lymphoma. Untreated celiac disease can weaken bones and slow growth, and your child can get very sick. If you notice your child isn’t gaining weight, has constant diarrhea and feels weak and tired all the time, get to a doctor for a diagnosis.
No one really knows what causes celiac disease, but it may be a genetic disorder. If a close member of your family has celiac disease, there is a good chance that you or your children will show signs of celiac disease as well.
Snacks for those with celiac disease
Kids love finger food, and there is a plethora of finger foods for those with celiac. Try out these snacks (and we promise, you will like them, too):
- Yogurt in fruit flavors
- Hard boiled eggs (tremendous and full of protein)
- Pumpkin seeds, almonds, and walnuts are great snacks and that are packed with vitamins, minerals and healthy fats, all of which are great for your heart and brain.
- Peanut butter and banana (like the sandwich but without the bread)
- Peanut butter with apple slices for dipping
- Ham and cheese roll-ups
- Gluten-free pretzels and peanut butter for dipping
- Chex Cereal Trail Mix made with corn Chex, pumpkin seeds, dried fruits, gluten-free pretzels and an assortment of nuts (You can also create your own variety of this)
Read on to learn some recipes and more tips to ensure your child athlete has the nutrients he or she needs.