ALA 2010 / Kid-friendly gluten-free food

Me at the ALA 2010 cooking demo stage in Washington

Me at the ALA 2010 cooking demo stage in Washington

Just back late last night from the annual ALA 2010 conference, held this year in Washington, DC! I’d like to extend a big thank you to Peter Birch from Combined Book Expo and also to Patrick Murphy from the ALA for arranging to have me present a cooking demo “Gluten-Free Living…Made Easy!” I made my famous Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Chocolate Strawberry Cake and presented a mini-version of my gluten-free workshop which I’ve had the pleasure to deliver at a number of clinics and libraries in the past.

One woman asked me how to cook kid-friendly gluten-free food. Well, there are a few different things to consider here. First, as I talk about in my book, you don’t want to put yourself in a situation where you are cooking seperate meals for seperate family members on a daily basis. This is just a recipe for failure. (I can barely prepare 3 meals a day… I can’t image trying to make 6!) Keep it simple, and take a make mix-and-match approach, rather than making a one-dish-wonder that needs to miraculously please everyone. In other words, prepare seperate simple dishes of a grain (rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat), one or two veggies, and a meat or other protein source. This way, each family member can choose to eat whatever they want in whatever amounts they want.

Other kid friendly recipes found in my book include Vietnamese Spring Rolls, Chicken Friend Rice, Honey Garlic BBQ Ribs, Crab Cakes, and all time favourites – pizza and pasta. You can even trick your kids into eating their veggies with a very hearty Butternut Squash Soup. And remember – once you understand the simple rules of substitution, you can make any of your kid’s old favourite recipe gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free too.

One other thing to consider is that very young children tend to be more aware of their bodies than you may think. Often children will refuse or dislike food that they shouldn’t be eating. So you may want to think twice about insisting that your child eat food that you might think is “healthy” but might not actually be healthy for them. (Of course if your kid is refusing to eat any kind of veggie whatsoever, he/she just might be picky.)

There is testing available to determine if your child truly has food allergies or intolerances, so if in doubt, talk to your doctor or Naturopath who can order an IgG screening.

Historical Society of Washington

Historical Society of Washington

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