If your child has been diagnosed with a gluten intolerance or sensitivity, it can be challenging to make the necessary dietary changes. Children can be picky eaters and adding dietary restrictions can limit their diet further.
Gluten is a type of protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. It’s primarily in foods like bread, pasta, and many cereals, but it can also be used in seasonings, as a thickener, or even in certain medications.
Luckily, there are many healthy and gluten free snacks for kids available both in your pantry and at the grocery store. Once you become familiar with reading labels and find some good gluten free snacks, you will be able to provide a variety of healthy and tasty options for your child.
Gluten Free Foods for Kids
Some children need to avoid gluten due to autoimmune conditions, like Celiac disease, or because of an intolerance. Celiac disease typically involves digestive symptoms like diarrhea, bloating, or gas, triggered by eating foods containing gluten. It can only be diagnosed by a medical professional.
A gluten intolerance is a bit more challenging to diagnose, as it can cause non-specific symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, or skin issues. If you suspect your child needs to stop eating gluten, it’s best to speak to your pediatrician or a dietitian before starting an elimination diet. Food restrictions are typically not recommended for children unless there is a medical need.
If your child has been told to avoid gluten by a healthcare provider, following a gluten free diet for kids can be a challenge, especially at first. Children are already notoriously selective eaters. Adding a layer of dietary restriction can make finding acceptable and nutritious snacks a challenge.
Luckily, there are many options available as the demand for gluten free foods for kids and adults continues to grow.
Gluten Free Snacks for Kids
Many foods you already have in your pantry and that your kids enjoy are probably gluten-free, so you may not have to look far or purchase specialty foods. If you’re looking for the best gluten free snacks at a store, check out our comprehensive list of the 40 best gluten free snacks here.
If you don’t wish to purchase pre-made snacks, here are some ideas for snacks you can make at home using ingredients you may already have.
Hummus and Veggies
Kids love to dip their food. Hummus is a good source of fiber and protein and makes for a tasty dip. Try our Beet Hummus recipe for a colorful alternative and serve with veggies such as celery, carrots, or gluten-free crackers.
Crudite Ranch Cups
Along the same lines as hummus, a fun and easy-to-make gluten free snack is these crudite and ranch cups. Just fill a small cup with ranch dressing and throw in cucumbers, a few Chomplings, and cheese for a filling afternoon snack.
Ants on a Log
Ants on a log are a classic kid snack that is also fun to eat. Slice up some celery, add peanut butter, and line up raisins to look like “ants”. This crunchy and tasty snack is simple to make and completely gluten free.
Yogurt and Fruit
The sweetness of yogurt is a favorite of many kids. Yogurt also provides a source of protein and probiotics, that support a healthy gut. Toppings make yogurt even more fun! Add a sprinkle of their favorite berries or sliced bananas for some additional vitamins and fiber.
Trail mix is a filling gluten free snack that you can make at home or purchase store-bought. Mix together a variety of nuts, dried fruit, gluten free cereal, and possibly some small candy pieces to create your own mix.
A smoothie is a great way to pack in a lot of nutrients while sticking to a gluten free diet. Start by choosing your favorite smoothie base, such as cow’s milk, plant-based milk, or water. Add a few favorite fruits, a handful of spinach, yogurt, or a kid-friendly protein powder.
Chia seeds are gluten free and a source of plant-based omega-3 fats. Add a few tablespoons of chia seeds to your favorite milk or plant-based milk and let it sit overnight to create a more gelatinous texture. Then add toppings like fruit, nuts, or honey for a tasty pudding.
Popcorn is a great option for a crunchy gluten free snack. While popcorn can be tasty on its own, consider adding flavorings such as parmesan cheese, cinnamon and sugar, or honey butter. You can also make a yummy sweet and salty snack by mixing nuts or dried fruit with the popcorn.
Frozen Fruit Bars
Most kids love ice pops, so why not make your own? Blend your favorite fruit (watermelon or kiwis work well), freeze in individual popsicle holders, and enjoy!
Rice cakes are gluten free snacks that are available in tons of flavors. To make them a bit more interesting, top them with guacamole, hummus, or nut butter. Add a slice of fruit, tomatoes, or sliced Chomps for a balanced and healthy gluten free snack.
Deviled eggs are a high-protein, gluten free snack that allows kids to get creative with their toppings. Make deviled eggs by boiling eggs and scooping out the yolk. Remove the hard yolk, and mash with mayonnaise and other seasonings, if desired. Return the mixture to the eggs. For toppings, consider cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced Chomps beef sticks, or pickles.