Can Gluten-Free Foods Fuel Your Kids?

When it comes to food trends, “gluten-free” (GF) is at the top of the heap. Some people claim that the meal plan has helped them to have more energy, and just feel better. But is it better fuel for your kids?

Unless your child has a specific medical reason to avoid gluten, there’s little proof that a GF meal plan is better than the healthy, balanced foods that all kids need. Before you start planning GF meals, it’s important to understand the basics of this approach to eating.

What It Means to Go Gluten-Free

Gluten is a found in some grains. If your child goes on a GF, they’ll avoid all food and drinks that have:

  • Wheat
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Triticale (a cross between wheat and barley)

Instead, they’ll focus on foods that are naturally gluten-free. These include fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, beans, legumes, and most dairy products.

Some grains and starches are OK on a gluten-free, like:

  • Buckwheat
  • Corn and cornmeal
  • Rice
  • Soy
  • Quinoa
  • Tapioca

Special GF flours are also made from many of these grains.

Is a Gluten-Free a good Choice for Kids?

The only people who need to stick to a gluten-free are those with a condition in which gluten can the small intestine. Kids who are to gluten, like those who have a wheat, should avoid it, too.

For everyone else, gluten is not good. Avoiding it won’t make your kids “feel better” or have more energy. In fact, trying to cut it out of your child’s may make it harder for him to get enough key, like iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin B, and folate. Plus, since so many grains are off-limits, a GF can mean he’ll have a tough time getting enough fiber.

It’s still the overall quality of the foods your child eats that makes the biggest difference in how he feels. Focus on helping him choose a variety of whole, foods and cutting out processed ones. (Packages of gluten-free cookies or potato chips aren’t any healthier than the regular kinds.)

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