Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gluten Free Options in Elementary School

Last night was the open house for the elementary school we're planning on enrolling our son in for September.  It's attached to the daycare he currently attends, which is great because the transition will hopefully be a little bit easier.  It's also a French school, so he'll get the chance to study in French, which means a lot to me.  He's picked it up really quickly at the daycare, and likes it, so going to school in French will hopefully be no big deal. 

After attending the information session last night, I love it even more.  I've mentioned before on this blog that one of the reasons we took my son out of his previous daycare was that he was constantly being fed food with gluten in it, even when I was providing his lunch on a daily basis.  Click HERE for that post.  The last straw was when a daycare worker accidentally fed him a slice of bread before realising that he couldn't have it.  Needless to say, I was livid, particularly since it wasn't the first time something like that had happened.  The aftermath of being "glutened" isn't pretty.  click HERE to read about what it looks like for my son.

At his current daycare, the food is catered by an outside company that has a separate kitchen the is free from the top allergens.  He gets a gluten and dairy free meal provided to him, often one that looks almost identical to what the other children are eating.  We have never had an issue with him being cross-contaminated or given food that made him sick.  We learned last night that the same company provides school lunches to the students at the elementary school 3 days a week, and that my son's gluten and dairy free option should continue to be available.  There is also a pizza lunch day, and we can order him a gluten free option then, as well.  Basically, we only have to send a lunch from home one day a week. 

I think this is great.  I never went to a school where lunch was provided, and I never really thought about it before.  However, having catered lunches means that every kid will be eating the same thing, making the temptation to trade or eat something from another child unnecessary.  This can go a long way toward protecting my son from accidentally accepting something from another child that will make him sick.  The meals this service provides are balanced and healthy.  He eats vegetables, chicken, pasta, beef and even fish.  He points out food in the supermarket that he recognizes from his meals, like peas and squash and eggplant.  I love the idea of my son getting a healthy, hot meal, that looks and tastes like what everyone else is eating, but that is free from the foods that he can't have. 

Registration is in February.  I'm crossing my fingers that there's a space for him.


  1. That is awesome. I hope he gets in. I'm dreading elementary school. My eldest is in 1st grade and doesn't have any allergies or medical conditions, and I am learning that all the teachers seem to use food as a reward. Candy. Not all is gluten-y, like gum balls - but my children do get gum at home and so don't realize you don't just chew and swallow. But I digress. I'm contemplating homeschooling my youngest two, as people at church that we encounter weekly still, after a year, have trouble remembering what they can and can't have, I dread sending them to a school where there won't be just adults to possibly make mistakes, but other children as well. Even daddy here still has trouble remembering sometimes (he's gone almost all the time though so it is kind of understandable, two jobs and full time school.)
    My 3 yr old has the same physical responses as your son. In fact a friend of mine baby sat her this morning, and remembered what she couldn't have and gave her an apple and some scrambled eggs. But somewhere in that cross contaminated her and we had 3 explosions today (one that my friend had to clean up....)
    Anyway. I don't usually comment, but your blog makes me feel less alone in this.

    1. Thanks for your comment. I actually started this blog to not feel so alone. It can be absolutely frustrating at times. What's hard is what you just described: even when the actual food is gluten free, it doesn't mean it hasn't touched a surface that has crumbs or something on it. It can be really hard. I'm still worried about school. Not every kid will order a lunch, and there are still plenty of opportunities for contamination. At daycare I send GF paints, play dough substitute, glue sticks, etc.

      Feel free to send me an email if there's anything I can help with.