Living with Gluten Sensitivity

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

Q: My son has developed sensitivity to gluten, but he doesn't want to miss out on all of his favorite foods this Thanksgiving. What can I do to help, while also pleasing the rest of my family?

A: Parents might wonder how they can make their child's favorite Thanksgiving dishes gluten-free while keeping the rest of their guests happy. By thoughtfully planning ahead, many traditional dishes can be made gluten-free.

Because gluten-free foods have become so popular, finding them at supermarkets isn't difficult. Gluten-free turkeys, seasonings and sauces are labeled. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends not stuffing the turkey because the dressing may not reach the proper temperature to kill bacteria responsible for food-borne illness. Green bean casserole can be made gluten-free by making your own cream of mushroom soup or choosing a soup that is labeled gluten-free. You can make your own onions by coating slices with all-purpose, gluten-free flour and frying. Gluten-free pie dough and dinner rolls are available in many grocery stores.

Parents can involve their child in cooking meals at home so they understand what foods are made of, giving them an understanding of where gluten might be. Children can measure ingredients, pull ingredients from cupboards and be engaged in conversation about substitutions they can use.

If you're hosting, talk to your guests ahead of time to develop a plan if any special dietary needs are to be met. If your family is a guest, let the host know about gluten-free necessities, and consider bringing your own gluten-free dishes. Prepare gluten-free dishes first, and serve them in separate areas with their own utensils in order to prevent cross-contamination.

- Mary Kay Sharrett, M.S., R.D., L.D., C.N.S.C., from the Celiac Disease Center at Nationwide Children's Hospital.