Coeliac disease in children

Parents of children with coeliac disease

We understand that when your child is diagnosed with coeliac disease, it can be a little overwhelming. Try not to worry – once you have all the right information on managing a gluten free diet, you will all settle into a routine! Here's what you need to know about coeliac disease and the gluten free diet.

Setting up your child’s prescription

Once your child has tried our products and know what they like, you can set up a gluten free prescription. if you love in a prescribing area, your child is entitled to gluten free foods on prescription. These foods provide alternatives to everyday staple foods which are essential for a healthy, balanced gluten free diet and ensures a supply of safe foods to help your child with their special diet.

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Ensure that teachers and catering staff know and understand your child’s gluten free diet and what coeliac disease is.

Ask if you can have a chat with the catering staff– they may already be familiar with the diet and may be catering for other children in school.

Make sure that they understand the importance of avoiding cross contamination - perhaps take some information along with you that you can leave with them.

The school can arrange special gluten free lunches, or you may prefer to send a gluten free packed lunch.


Encourage your child to tell friends about their special diet and explain it in a really simple way so that their friends understand!

An easy way to explain cooeliac disease to children is to say that eating gluten makes them have a poorly tummy. There is no need for them to be embarrassed, and friends are bound to understand.

It’s also a good idea not to share food with friends as it may not always be gluten free. You will all start to learn which foods are safe.

Planning ahead

You will get used to being a little more organised and planning ahead for when you’re out and about.

It's handy to always have a snack in your bag or pop one in your child’s coat pocket. Supermarkets, cafes and restaurants have really improved on gluten free snacks, but it’s always good to take one with you for emergencies.

Parties and going to friends’ houses

Don’t worry, your child can still enjoy parties! A good idea is to offer to make some gluten free sandwiches or pizza to send to the party, or if you have time, you could bake their favourite gluten free cakes or muffins to take along.

If they are going to a friend’s house, you should let the friends’ parents know that your child has coeliac disease and cannot eat certain foods. If you are unsure, you may prefer to send some suitable gluten free foods with them instead.

Educating others about coeliac disease

We think it’s important to always be open about what coeliac disease actually is and what food your child can eat.

Once you feel comfortable enough with friends, family and colleagues, it’s a good idea to educate them about your child's condition. You could even refer them to this very site! You might find that they’re more interested than you’d think.

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Eating out

When you go out for a meal, you will need to ask a few questions to check which foods are safe. In time, your child may even feel comfortable asking those questions themselves.

It's really important that the restaurant understand the importance of the gluten free diet – but don't worry, you won’t be the first person who has asked!

Ask what gluten free options are available and whether there is a risk of cross contamination in the kitchen, such as whether gluten free food is cooked in the same oil as food that contains gluten.

Many cafes and restaurants now have lots of gluten free dishes and some even have a dedicated gluten free menu.

If you are unsure of what gluten free options are available, call the restaurant in advance and check the menu, or have a look on their website….then you can relax when you arrive.

Cross contamination

You might be wondering, what is cross contamination and why do you keep talking about it?

Cross contamination is when gluten free food is touched by any other gluten-containing foods during the preparation, cooking or serving of food.

As a coeliac, you’ll probably become sick of hearing the phrase 'cross contamination', but it's a really important thing to be aware of. Even eating crumbs of food containing gluten can make people with coeliac disease very ill.

Avoiding cross contamination is mostly common sense, but even the most practised person makes mistakes – so it’s important to develop strict routines to make sure every environment is safe for you. As a friend, family member or parent of a coeliac, understanding how to avoid cross-contamination from gluten-containing foods is a big part of helping your loved one.

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Eating gluten free in shared spaces

Whether you are a coeliac eating a meal with others or you are preparing a meal for a person with coeliac disease, there are some important things you should keep in mind.

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Sticking to the gluten free diet

The best advice for ensuring that your child sticks to their gluten free diet is to plan ahead and be as organised as possible.

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Shopping gluten free on a budget

Gluten free foods can be pricier than their gluten-containing counterparts in the supermarkets, so that’s why it’s particularly important to prioritise, budget and, if you are fortunate enough to live in an area where gluten free foods are still offered on prescription, make the most of your prescription!

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