​​​​​​​Empowering Families with a Gluten-Free Food Guide for Kids: Building Healthy Foundations

Anton Davis
Published Jan 24, 2024



Raising a child with celiac disease can be an overwhelming experience, as parents grapple with the complexities of a gluten-free diet and ensuring their child's nutritional needs are met.

However, thanks to the dedicated work of nutrition researcher Diana Mager and pediatrics professor Justine Turner at the University of Alberta, families now have access to a valuable resource - a comprehensive gluten-free food guide for children and youths.


Addressing Nutritional Needs with Expertise

Developed through extensive research and collaboration, this 40-page guide is grounded in evidence-based guidelines. It offers families a wealth of information to aid in building a healthy gluten-free diet for their children.

Mager and Turner consulted parents, doctors, nurses, and dietitians across Canada to understand the challenges families face and provide essential support.


Building a Balanced Diet

Understanding the nutritional limitations of a gluten-free diet, the guide highlights the importance of a well-rounded meal plan.

It encourages families to include fruits, vegetables, gluten-free grains, proteins, and fortified plant-based beverages in their child's diet.

By promoting high nutrient absorption and addressing concerns such as bone health, the guide empowers families to make informed decisions about their child's nutrition.


User-Friendly and Interactive Approach

To ensure maximum usability, the guide was designed with families in mind. Vivid photographs of various gluten-free food options make it engaging for children, and the user-friendly layout helps young readers identify different foods easily.

The guide also covers essential topics, including reading nutrition labels, cooking and storing gluten-free foods, and preparing healthy school lunches. It equips parents with the knowledge and tools to create flavorful gluten-free meals and provides ideas to add variety to their child's diet.


Ongoing Research and Positive Impact

Since its release, the gluten-free food guide has shown promising results.

Early findings indicate significant improvements in the diets of newly diagnosed children, with an increased consumption of fruits and vegetables.

Ongoing clinical studies will continue to evaluate the guide's long-term health impact and its influence on other aspects of children's lives, such as shopping behavior.


A Beacon of Support

For parents like Lisa Rigney, whose daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease, the guide has been invaluable. It offers reassurance and acts as a constant reference point for meal planning and education.

As a member of the Celiac Canada organization, Rigney appreciates the guide's attention to detail and its ability to address specific needs, making it easier for families to navigate through the complexities of managing celiac disease.


Conclusion

The gluten-free food guide developed by Diana Mager and Justine Turner is a game-changer for families raising children with celiac disease. By providing evidence-based guidelines, practical tips, and a user-friendly format, it empowers families to build healthy and flavorful gluten-free meals.

As a result, children with celiac disease can thrive and parents can confidently navigate the challenges, armed with practical knowledge and the assurance that their child is receiving the utmost nutrition.

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