Welcome to Gluten Free and the Australian Teenager
The pages and posts on this site is a resource guide for all those who have coeliac disease.
It is more specifically a resource for families looking for gluten free recipes and products approved and accepted by teenagers who must eat gluten free.
Browse our pages for kitchen set up, lunch box suggestions, gluten free shopping hints and recipe and eating out resources.
Read about some of the ups and downs for a teenager with coeliac disease and gain an insight into some of factors associated with the transition to gluten free.
Additionally, Help! My Teenager has Coeliac Disease … is for mothers supporting their teenager to provide teen specific information.
Written by a mother of a teenager diagnosed with coeliac disease, this site is full of practicalities and honesty.
Gluten Free and the Australian Teenager is about the new ‘normal’ and all that comes with a gluten free lifestyle.
What are the popular gluten free snacks in my house?
If you would have asked me this question three years ago or three months ago, I might have given you a different answer. There are many reasons for a change in eating patterns and habits but gluten free eaters are like the mainstream eaters, they like to have a change.
Gluten free eating is restrictive by its very nature and so an important lesson this mother has learnt is that you have to vary what snacks you have on offer in the house.
So this month Carman’s Greek Yoghurt and Blueberry Bars are disappearing quickly out of the cupboard. Liked by gluten free and non gluten free eaters alike.
Frugo’s had lost ground in my house for a few months, but they are popular again as a ‘grab a packet while heading out the door’ snack.
Mini Snickers and Turkish Delights have also come back into vogue. It might be that they have been a recent ‘special’ and therefore cheaper or it might be because I have a weakness for Turkish Delight and I’ll use any excuse to have them in the snack basket.
Menz Gluten Free Honeycomb available in The Reject Shop and Coles is a handy item to know about. With few chocolate products gluten free or without a warning statement about gluten, this one is worthwhile knowing about. A friend will be having her two grandaughters (both coeliac) visit over the school holidays, so I made sure I put an extra packet in my shopping trolley so that she would have a gluten free treat for them.
My coeliac teenager is almost at the end of his secondary schooling and so the ‘ lunch box’ will be going into retirement. KJ is the youngest of our four sons so I have been packing lunch boxes since 1994. It will a milestone day when the last school lunch box comes home.
But what I will miss is KJ’s source of ‘new’ gluten free snacks: his friends. I think that he has a friend who has a nut allergy and so I gather there is discussion over the ‘lunch box’ about different products and allergen free foods.
I threw out a wrapper recently, only to find KJ searching through the bin for it. ” Why don’t you buy me these for snacks?” he asked. Not sure why, but maybe I felt that the “My Yummy Lunchbox” label would not be readily accepted by this young adult. I was wrong!
My Yummy Lunchbox has quite an extensive range, so if you are looking to broaden your child’s lunch box snack options then check them out. They are available at Coles in the Gluten Free section.
PS Packing up the last school lunch box:
Once your child hits high school, you can no longer pack their lunch into a durable hard plastic lunch box and/or containers or have access to a fridge. In tropical north Queensland, my children would take a small esky (cooler box) to school packed with their lunch. Not only could you pack ice bricks and frozen drinks, it also was used as a seat.
The teenager’s school bag is packed full of textbooks and lunch is packed in a soft pack lunch bag. Once you put an ice brick inside, you learn to become a master puzzler in getting food inside to sustain a growing teenager. My son is going through a growth spurt and now I have to pack a second smaller lunch because he tells me he eats everything in the 11 am break.
Those first few months post diagnosis was a difficult time for KJ not only with the obvious changes to his diet but also in trying to find food that was durable, wasn’t affected too much by temperature and “looked” normal. You can only pack rice crackers in zip lock plastic bags so many days in a week. Fruit gets bruised, salsas and dips don’t keep cool enough and sitting down to a can of baked beans and a fork in front of your friends…. well!!!!
If you have just started your journey, then maybe some of these ideas will help you and while some people will say, “but this is not a healthy balanced diet”, all I can say is ‘you do the best you can in the circumstances’. And you make sure they get the double dose of healthy for breakfast and afternoon snacks.
Single Serve products
Zip Lock Bag Snacks
Fruit and Nut
Biscuits, Cakes, Brownies, Muffins (whatever has been baked for the week)
I visited a friend on the weekend and she spoke with a twinge of sadness about her 5 year old granddaughter. My friend’s granddaughter has coeliac disease and she had gone to great lengths to tell her grandmother how she couldn’t eat her favourite chocolate anymore because it has gluten in it. While all the other children at the family gathering were eating chocolate, this little girl had her packet of fruit gums.
You see, my friend is under the impression that the only items that are gluten free are the ones in the gluten free section of the supermarket. As I told her, there are many items that are gluten free, it is just that they are hidden in the ‘normal’ part of the supermarket.
So grandmas, you can still spoil your grandchildren and have a box full of gluten free treats without too much fuss. And the bonus is that all your grandchildren will enjoy them.
However there are a few simply rules you need to follow:
1. Any product identifying wheat, rye, barley, malt, oats or gluten is not allowed.
2. Any product with a statement “may contain gluten, may contain wheat” is also not allowed.
3. Exceptions... these are ok…. glucose or glucose syrup from wheat, caramel colour (150) from wheat, dextrose from wheat.
4. Many items are gluten free by ingredient. If there is no mention of wheat, rye, barley, malt, oats or gluten on the label, then this item is ok.
Select (Woolworths brand) Jungle Buddie (found in the lolly/chocolate section)
Pandaroo Fruit Jelly Mini Cups found in the International Food section of the supermarket in amongst the curries.
What about, Go Natural Frugo’s which are found in the Gluten Free section of the supermarket
And Scooby Doo can put a smile on everyone’s face .. chocolate crackles (will let you know where to find them when I remember) or fruit bites (located in the Snack/Muesli Bar section of Coles and Woolworths)
On another matter, Cadbury has recently changed labelling on their products with many products now stating : May contain gluten/wheat. With this in mind, check the labelling of any Cadbury product you buy in future.
My best gluten free food taste tester is my 18 year old who is not coeliac! I found him scratching in the pantry during the week and he was most put out that I didn’t have any Chicken Twisteroos in the cupboard. A good honest referral for the ‘Twisteroos’.
There are many snack treats on the market that are a substitute for ‘Twisties’. Some are too bland and some are too furry. Some have a lingering after taste and some aren’t so appealing to the teenage eye.
We have however found Snack World ‘Twisteroos’ in cheese and chicken, in 170g packets which are GLUTEN FREE.
Now this product line, is an example of not being too complacent about reading the back of the packets and the allegy advice statements. The 90 g Twisteroos ARE NOT GLUTEN FREE, nor are the Snack Packs. While the allergy advice clearly states this, one can be drawn into believing that if the 170g packs are GF then the other sizes are too. A reality check that one has to be diligent at all times.
In Townsville they are available at ‘Crazy Clarkes’ and ‘Sam’s Warehouse’. Check out your IGAs as this seems to be their main point of sale.
They have a few other gluten free products, so their website is well worth a look.