Gluten Free Snacks for Kids: What to Know

Finding snacks for your kids that are both appealing and healthy isn’t easy. When you add additional requirements to the mix, like wanting the snacks to be gluten free, your task becomes even more challenging. Going gluten free is a common dietary trend right now.

People say that gluten free food helps them lose weight, have more energy, and even just feel better in general. However, the diet affects different people in unique ways.

While every child won’t necessarily need to go gluten free at snack time, others could find that it helps with everything from their attention span to their digestion.

What it Means to Go Gluten Free

Gluten is a common protein frequently found in grains and a lot of school snacks. If you’re raising a gluten free kid, they’ll need to avoid all kinds of foods and drinks that include barley, wheat, rye, and triticale. Some grains and starches are still suitable for a gluten free diet.

Soy, rice, and cornflour all don’t contain gluten. You’ll also find that many common snack ideas, from peanut butter to fruit, and some chocolate recipes, don’t contain gluten either.

Gluten isn’t necessarily unhealthy, but it can cause problems for people who have celiac disease and other food intolerances. So, you shouldn’t start cutting gluten out of your kids’ diet on a whim. Going gluten free doesn’t guarantee a healthy snack, and it could make it tougher for your child to get certain nutrients into their diet.

Speak to your child’s doctor about how to feed them the best diet, whether they have a gluten allergy or not.

What to Look for in Gluten Free Snacks

Ultimately, if you’re helping your child go gluten free, you’ll need to avoid any grains containing wheat or gluten from their diet. Wheat can come in many different forms.

Make sure that you check the ingredients on common foods that you would associate with wheats and grains, like bagels, cakes, and cereals. It’s also important to look at foods that contain “hidden” gluten ingredients, like bran, bleached flour, brown flour, and brown rice.

Check for the following items on any ingredient list:

  •         Soy sauce
  •         Self-raising flour
  •         Whole-meal flour
  •         Wheat germ
  •         Smoke flavoring
  •         Rye
  •         Orzo
  •         Malt extract

Check with your health care provider to determine whether your child can continue to eat traditional oats. Some people with a gluten issue will continue to eat oats without a problem. However, if you’re worried, there are a lot of gluten free oat products out there. It’s also crucial to stay away from any food containing barley, as this food frequently appears in ingredients lists and can be overlooked by parents searching for gluten. Food labelling laws to determine whether a food is gluten free won’t always apply to foods that contain barley, oats, or rye.

Common Snacks That Are Gluten Free

If your child has a gluten intolerance or finds that they would benefit from a gluten free diet, don’t worry. There are actually many gluten free snacks out there. You can get gluten free nut butter, tortilla chips, granola bar products, and even ice cream.

A common gluten free snack idea is fresh fruit, as fruits don’t contain any gluten, and they’re also packed full of important vitamins and minerals for your child. You could also look for crackers made without gluten and add a chunk of cheese to give your child some extra calcium.

Many chocolate and dairy products are naturally free from gluten, although you will need to be careful about sugar content. Remember that fresh fruit and dry fruit can contain quite a bit of sugar, even if it is natural sugar. If you’re having a movie night, then you can even feed your child certain popcorn options, trail mix, and other similar snack options.

Does gluten affect children’s behavior?

If you’re planning on switching your child over to gluten free lunches, you may think that doing so will lead to a healthier lifestyle for your little one. There are a lot of articles out there that indicate a gluten free recipe for your child is more healthy than one with gluten in it. However, that’s not always the case.

Children can respond to different foods in different ways, from chocolate and cheese to peanut butter and dairy products. Finding the right diet for your child means paying attention to their intolerances, and the responses that they have to certain foods.

The Food for the Brain group says that dairy is the most common allergy product across most children. For people with hyperactivity disorders, like ADHD, dairy products can often make the condition worse. This indicates that there is a connection between some foods and child behaviors.

Certain ADD groups also say that snacks with hefty amounts of gluten can also trigger bad behaviors in children. However, there’s not a lot of information available in reports and studies to prove this. The only reason that gluten free snacks for kids will change your child’s behavior is if they already have a sensitivity to the food.

What Store-Bought Snacks are Gluten Free?

If you decide that you should switch to gluten free food, you shouldn’t have too much trouble. There are plenty of store-bought foods out there that are both vegan and gluten free. For instance, most dairy products like cheese and milk are gluten free. Other store-bought items that generally don’t contain gluten include:

  •         Chocolate chips
  •         Potato chips
  •         Almond butter
  •         Maple syrup
  •         Sunflower seeds
  •         Veggie chips
  •         Fruit
  •         Rice and rice noodles
  •         Meat or fish (not battered or breaded)

Most stores will now label their food as gluten free or not, so you can enjoy some extra peace of mind when you’re looking for a gluten free snack idea. By law, food labeled gluten free won’t contain any more than 20 parts per million of gluten.

What Are Some Gluten Free Snack Ideas for Kids?

Because many foods are naturally gluten free, it’s easy to find many gluten free snacks for your children. The key to success is making sure that you’re getting the right amount of healthy fats and nutrients into their diet without excess sugar.

Any recipe that substitutes flour for gluten free flour or almond flour is a good start. For instance, there are plenty of gluten free muffin recipes online and recipes for gluten free chocolate chip cookie dough and similar sweet treats. Here are a few more ideas to inspire you:

  •         Gluten free granola bars: Granola bars can be healthy snack ideas for some, but store-bought versions are often packed full of sugar. There are various homemade granola bar recipes online that are much healthier than anything you’ll find in the stores, none of which contain gluten. 
  •         Chex mix: Store bought chex mix can come with gluten in the ingredients. However, when you make your own option at home, you can decide exactly what to add to your gluten free snack.
  •         Sweet potato crisps: Sweet potato crisps can make for a fantastic savory snack with a dose of sea salt for extra flavor. Although potatoes generally don’t have gluten, experimenting with sweet potatoes gives you more fun snack ideas with different flavors.
  •         Peanut butter and jelly Wholly Rollies: Peanut butter is one of the best gluten free snack options for kids. Crazy Richard’s has come in to save the day here to create a snack that you can feel good knowing is nutritious and your kids are sure to love the taste of! There’s the classic peanut and jelly flavor, but they also have two other delicious flavors. The best part of that Wholly Rollies have just a few all-natural ingredients, so you know exactly what goes into them, but you don’t have to deal with the mess or time to make them. 
  •         Popcorn with fruit, chocolate, and peanuts: A natural, gluten free source of fiber, popcorn helps you to feel full. You can drizzle popcorn with dark chocolate and add some dried fruit and peanuts for an extra boost of delicious flavor.
  •         Turkey wrapped cheese sticks: Give your kids an extra dose of protein for their school snacks. All you need to do is wrap some gluten free turkey breast around a low-fat cheese stick.

Can You Make Easy Gluten Free Snacks for Kids?

Making gluten free snacks for your children to enjoy at home and at school is easier than you’d think. A lot of traditional favorites in the snack world are gluten free naturally. This means that your kid can continue to enjoy staples like peanut butter and jelly, or chocolate and popcorn, as long as you’re careful to avoid certain grains.

Another point to keep in mind when you’re building gluten free snacks for your children, is that lactose, the sugar in dairy products, can sometimes be a common side issue for people with celiac disease. However, intolerance to lactose in people with a gluten sensitivity can sometimes improve over time as their intestine heals.

Before making any changes to your child’s diet, make sure that you speak to a doctor about their specific needs. This is particularly important if you know that your child has an intolerance to certain foods. Your doctor will be able to offer extra advice on how to help your child make the most of their new diet.