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Did you know coeliac disease affects around one in 70 Australians, though roughly 80% of cases remain undiagnosed? Happily, kids with gluten intolerance or medically-diagnosed coeliac disease can go on to have perfectly happy and healthy lives.

So let’s talk Gluten Free for kids! From symptoms and diagnosis of coeliac disease, to fun Gluten Free snack and lunchbox ideas – everything’s on the table.

What is coeliac disease?

Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition that means the body can’t tolerate gluten – a protein found in grains including barley, wheat and rye. Eating gluten damages the lining of the bowel (the tiny finger-like ‘villi’) in kids or adults with coeliac disease, which means nutrients can’t be absorbed properly.

The good news? While kids with undiagnosed coeliac disease can experience serious side-effects, diagnosing and treating the condition is a relatively straightforward process.

What are the symptoms of coeliac disease in kids?

Babies as young as six months can suffer from coeliac disease. The symptoms of coeliac disease in kids can include:

  • Diarrhea and/or constipation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen or painful stomach
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Damaged tooth enamel
  • Failure to grow

How do you diagnose coeliac disease in children?

If your child experiences one or more of these symptoms over a couple of weeks, it’s best to book an appointment with your doctor. They’ll start by performing a simple blood test. If they suspect your child may have coeliac disease, they will order an endoscopy to confirm it. This simple and painless day procedure examines the lining of the bowel – and it’s performed under anesthetic, so you can rest assured your child won’t feel a thing.

How do you treat coeliac disease in kids?

There’s only one treatment for kids with coeliac disease: following a strict Gluten Free diet for life. While this may seem dishearteningly extreme, please take heart! With so many delicious Gluten Free foods out there – and an increasing number of cafes and restaurants offering separate Gluten Free menus – it’s easier than ever for your child to live a normal and perfectly happy life.

Fun snack ideas for Gluten Free kids

Stuck for tasty Gluten Free snack or lunchbox ideas? We’ve got you covered! Chock full of all-natural Gluten Free ingredients (and by that we mean just dates, seeds and natural cocoa powder), Kez’s Choc Mud Fruit Bars are a wholesome and delicious snack that’s perfect for kids’ lunchboxes. And because we’re affiliated with Coeliac Australia, you can be confident Kez’s range of scrumptious Gluten Free snacks will nourish little munchkins with coeliac disease.

Here’s a list of other Gluten Free kids’ snack ideas packed full of protein and/or fibre:

  • Cheese on Gluten Free crackers
  • Hommus and veggie sticks
  • Fruit and plain Greek yoghurt
  • Dried fruit
  • Homemade kale or sweet potato chips
  • Apple wedges with peanut butter
  • Sweet or savoury muffins made with Gluten Free flour

The takeaway? A Gluten Free kids’ diet doesn’t have to be boring or limiting – it can actually be super yummy! Visit Kez’s Kitchen for more tantalising Gluten Free snack ideas perfect for the kids and the kids in us.