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Kids and Gluten: How to Make Prepping and Eating Gluten-Free Foods Fun and Easy

Lauren Gillan
A father and son having fun creating a healthy meal together in the kitchen.
You've heard it so many times, that familiar protest from your little one: "I'm not eating that; it looks weird!" If only our kids knew that gluten-free doesn't have to mean taste-free.

Figuring out which gluten-free foods to give our children can often feel like fumbling through a maze. A meal delivery service can simplify the challenge of creating gluten-free meals, especially for picky eaters.

Plus, involving our kids in meal planning and cooking can significantly influence their willingness to eat. Research suggests that kids tend to eat more when they participate in meal preparation. That's why making meals with your kids—instead of for your kids—is the way forward.

» Not quite ready to make your own gluten-free meals? I recommend HelloFresh and EveryPlate.

Tips to Involve Kids in Meal Planning and Cooking

Whether you're a parent or caregiver, balancing nutritious gluten-free meals and keeping children excited about their food can seem impossible. But a little creativity can turn this daunting task into a delightful culinary adventure.

One of the best ways to get your kids to eat new foods is to involve them in the meal planning and cooking process. Here's how you can do it:

Ask Them to Help With Meal Planning

Include your children from the start by telling them about the dishes you're preparing. Let them ask questions and choose what goes into their gluten-free meals. This will make them feel like they have control over their food.

You can also make a shopping list together. They'll love the opportunity to make decisions with you and can learn a lot from these experiences.

Let Them Do Simple Tasks

Youngsters can take on many small tasks during meal prep, like washing vegetables, stirring batter, or setting the table. Being part of the process helps them understand the effort involved and invest their own time in the final product. This contribution often leads to appreciation and feelings of pride and accomplishment.

Use Colorful Plates and Fun Shapes

Kids are naturally attracted to colorful and visually appealing things. Research indicates that food offered on beautiful plates is perceived as tastier. Bright containers, bowls, and utensils can make their meals more exciting.

You can also use the patterns on the plates to enhance the look of the food or draw attention to new edible items. Or cut food into fun shapes to create playful meal presentations.

Turn It Into a Game

Any child loves games. So, turning eating into a fun activity can engage them and keep their focus on the meal. Try these ideas:

  • Have a taste test: Let your kids sample different gluten-free snacks and rate them from 1 to 10. They'll enjoy making faces and expressing their opinions.
  • Play a guessing game: Blindfold your children and let them touch, smell, taste, and guess the food. This game engages their senses and imagination. If they like what they taste, they can eat it. Remember to add a few old favorites.
  • Make a food collage: Create collages with your youngsters by cutting out pictures of gluten-free foods and gluing them to a paper plate. Here, you introduce them to the look of the foods in a fun way before asking them to try the options.

Pro tip: Have real food in your fridge ready to taste in case your little one feels brave.

Make Gluten-Free Pizzas

Children have food neophobia by nature. Rather than pushing them to eat something totally out of their comfort zone, get them involved in creative fun with a dish they're already comfortable with, like pizza.

Create a toppings buffet and help them create their own beautiful masterpiece. You can shape the dough into various animals and use toppings to create pictures or patterns. Have fun with your little one, and then enjoy the delicious results. Home Chef offers flexible gluten-free recipes if you're looking for new ideas.

» Need more options? Here are 5 Home Chef alternatives.

4 Tips for Moms With Picky Eaters

If you have a fussy nibbler in the family, don't lose hope. Here are a few tips to get your picky eater on board:

  • Introduce new foods slowly and in small amounts. Too many new items at once can be overwhelming. Start with small portions to reassure your little one their old favorites are still available.
  • Don't force your kids to eat something they're not ready for. This will only make them more resistant.
  • Set a good example. Eat a variety of healthy foods yourself. Your children learn so much from copying you. If you eat it, chances are, they'll try it too.
  • Be patient. It can take time for your kiddo to accept new foods. You may need to introduce something a few times in different ways before they'll be comfortable enough to try it.

» Check out these quick gluten-free kids' meals for moms on the move.

The Solution to the Gluten-Free Challenge

Eating gluten-free should be fun and easy for your kids. It's about more than simply following a diet; it's about introducing them to new flavors so they can make healthy choices in the future.

Get your kids involved in cooking. Encourage them to embrace gluten-free dishes and watch them uncover a world of exciting culinary delights.

» Try one of our best gluten-free meal delivery services.

Lauren Gillan
Lauren Gillan is a certified nutritionist who writes for Top10.com. After developing debilitating anxiety she refocused her studies from business development to holistic nutrition. Lauren has had a private practice for the past decade, empowering clients with the tools they need for a happier, healthier life.

*The information on this site is based on research, but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new diet plan, we recommend consulting with a physician or other professional healthcare provider. Results may vary based on various health factors, individual weight loss plans and adherence to the meal plan.