Cel Kids' Holidays
Follow these tips to have great, safe; gluten-free holidays. Whether its Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Haunakah, Valentines day, or Easter, the Celiac Sprue Association wants you to enjoy these special occasions while looking out for your young ones. The following lists are free from wheat, rye, and barley.
1. Gluten-Free Candy List
- Believe it or not (and sometimes it seems hard for me to believe), many of the candies that appear in my daughter's Halloween basket each year actually are gluten-free. If you take away the obvious cookie-based candy, most are gluten-free.
- Of course, there are some old favorites that are NOT gluten-free, as well. You'll need to go through your child's candy stash carefully to weed out the unsafe options.
- Many parents of gluten-free children buy extras of a gluten-free favorite, and use them to "trade" with their children come Halloween night (and the days after). That way, your child stays safe but doesn't feel deprived. If you do this, don't hesitate to make the replacement candy something extra-special!
- Trade for Safe Candy. For most kids, the goal of trick-or-treating is to collect the biggest stash of candy possible. If your child can't eat three-quarters of that stash, she'll probably feel pretty sad. But you can plan ahead to have plenty of gluten-free candy on hand to trade for gluten-containing treats. Don't just hand over the goods, either – make the trading a game, with specific (age-appropriate) rules. For example, you could trade one Hershey's chocolate kiss (which is gluten-free) for every Hershey's mini bar (which is not gluten-free), but a full-sized Baby Ruth bar (which is gluten-free) might "cost" four Hershey's minis.
Looking for ways to cope with Halloween — or to help your gluten-free child cope? Some children get upset around Halloween because they're faced with numerous social situations that include foods they cannot enjoy.
How about throwing your own Halloween party? If you control the food, you can make it completely gluten-free ... and that should please your little ghost or goblin. If that's not possible, there are other things you can do, ranging from supplying the food for a school party to focusing the holiday on the costume, not the candy.
A little creativity goes a long way, especially when it comes to soothing potentially bruised feelings. Talk to your child about her Halloween wishes, and go from there.
- Host Your Own Party! Many communities now discourage trick-or-treating, instead encouraging parents to organize Halloween parties for the children to attend. If this is the case for your community (and even if it isn't), try to host a Halloween party yourself. If you're in charge, you get to control the candy, and you can provide only gluten-free Halloween food and candy for the attendees. Yes, this takes some planning and expense, which gets even more complicated if your child needs candy that's also dairy-free. But imagine the smile on your child's face when he asks "What can I eat here?" and you answer, "Everything!"
- If you've decided to host a Halloween party, you'll need some gluten-free food ... so here are some scary recipes to try. Severed Finger Cheese Sticks ought to make a big hit with your creepy crowd, as will Bloody Good Halloween Punch. And don't forget the Deviled Ghoul Eggs!
- If you're hosting a smaller get-together, consider making caramel apples.
- Gluten-Free Halloween Candy Recipes
- If you're feeling truly adventurous this Halloween, you can try making your own gluten-free candy. About.com's great Guide to Gluten-Free Cooking offers 10 recipes that range from authentic candy corn to meringue ghosts. Most of these are easy to make (some are easier than others), and all would make for great fun in the kitchen as Halloween approaches. Who knows? You might find you start a new family tradition: Making gluten-free Halloween candy every year, just like your gluten-free Christmas cookies.
- Supply Food for a School Party! Your child's school may hold a Halloween party – many do. In this case, volunteer to purchase the candy and snacks so that you can make certain most or all are gluten-free. It's unlikely that you'll be able to tell your child that everything at the party is safe, of course, since other parents almost certainly will bring food. But if there's a nice assortment of gluten-free food and candy available (preferably gathered in one location), your child will be able to enjoy the party without feeling left out of all the candy-related fun.
4. Other options for a Gluten-Free Halloween
- Offer Non-Candy Items. Not every treat needs to be food-related. Sometimes, kids get so much candy at Halloween that they're happy to find non-food items in their treat sack. Rubber worms and small, stretchy "jelly" dinosaurs and other animals please many children, especially boys, while girls like stickers, temporary tattoos and even plastic flowers. If you wander through your local dollar store, you'll get lots of inexpensive ideas for non-food Halloween treats, and your child might even agree in advance to give up all his gluten candy for something else he wants.
- Halloween lets kids' imaginations run wild, since they can dress up as (practically) anything they want. My daughter (who is gluten-free) starts focusing on her Halloween costume in July, and usually has developed pretty elaborate plans for it by the beginning of October. If you encourage that aspect of the holiday and put lots of energy into the dress-up game (making your own Halloween costume can be a great family activity), you can help make Halloween all about the costume and relegate the candy – whether or not it's gluten-free – to a distant second place.
Jelly Beans, all flavors, from Jelly Belly
Pez Easter Dispensers with Candies from Pez
Peeps® Brand Marshmallow Candies
(EXCEPT PEEPSTERS®) from Just Born, Inc.
Dum Dums, Candy Canes & Circus Peanuts
from Spangler Candy Co.
Wonka Candies (except for items containing cookies or graham crackers) from Nestle USA
Chocolate Bunnies and More from Russell Stovers Candies - Packaging disclaimer may include: Made on the same equipment... Protocol includes complete tear-down and sterilization of equipment between product runs.
Eating gluten-free doesn't mean you need to give up the holiday tradition of baking Christmas cookies — if anything, most people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance bake more often around the holidays than they once did, since it's tough to find store-bought gluten-free treats specifically created for the season.
Fortunately, excellent gluten-free Christmas cookie recipes abound online, both here at About.com and on gluten-free blog sites. Here's my roundup of some of the best ones I've found.
For gluten-free Christmas cookie recipes, this is the best place to start. Teri Gruss, About.com's Guide to Gluten-Free Cooking, has pulled together a list of holiday favorites that ranges from simplegluten-free sugar cookiesyou can cut out and decorate in holiday colors to elaboratepistachio cranberry biscottithat would suit a grown-up party.
This great gingerbread recipe, from About.com's excellent Guide to Gluten-Free Cooking, gets rave reviews. Just make sure to use gluten-free spices — McCormick's brand generally represents a safe choice.
If you're feeling more adventurous than mere cookies can accommodate, you might want to try a major construction project: a gluten-free gingerbread house. You can bake one from scratch using a gluten-free gingerbread house recipe, or use a mix (one of these options utilizes Pamela's Gluten-Free Bread Mix). You also can order a kit. Top it off withgluten-free candyand you could have a prizewinner (if it lasts that long!).
Madeleines are a type of French cookie, and one I particularly enjoyed in my pre-gluten-free days. Shauna James Ahern, author of the "Gluten Free Girl" blog and co-author (with her husband) ofGluten-Free Girl and the Chef, created these amazing-looking madeleines by adapting them from a French cookbook. With ginger, cloves and honey, they should make a delicious holiday treat.
I love cranberries and eat very few grains, and so these grain-free, agave-sweetened treats with orange zest from definitely appeal to me. Instead of a grain-based cookie base, the bars use a mixture of dates and pecans combined in a food processor with grape seed oil and sea salt.
Over at the gluten-free blog She Let Them Eat Cake, Maggie has posted 12 days of gluten-free Christmas cookie recipes. Thechocolate peppermint wafer cookieslook the best to me (although thepistachio-cranberry biscottirun a close second). Readers also have contributed some recipes, providing some interesting new options for holiday baking.
Sometimes I feel as if my family is the only one out there that actually enjoys fruit cake ... but we can't be, because the grocery stores are packed with them during the holidays. Fruit cake doesn't really fit neatly into a list of gluten-free Christmas cookie recipes, but my holiday wouldn't be complete without it. Terri Mauro, About.com's Guide to Special Needs Children, has pulled together this list of gluten-free fruit cake recipes. Even if you don't really like fruit cake, some of these recipes might surprise you.
Our Guide to Celiac Disease says that "The Jewish festival of Hanukkah is one of the easiest holidays for gluten-free diets."
Enjoy The Festival of Lights this year with our collection of traditional gluten-free Hanukkah recipes, including links and resources from our Guide to Celiac Disease and ourGuide to Kosher Food.
Learn more about gluten-free ready-made convenience products for Hanukkah as well as recipes for gluten-free sufganiyots, a variety of gluten-free latke recipes and gluten-free cut-out iced cookie recipe.
The Jewish festival of Hanukah is one of the easiest holidays for gluten-free diets. Potato latkes (pancakes), one of the classic Hanukah foods, are usually made with flour or matzo meal, but it's very easy to use gluten-free flour or potato starch instead. Typical Hanukah foods such as potato latkes andsufganiyot(jelly donuts) tend to involve a lot of oil. If you want to avoid the oil, there's also a recipe for gluten-free Hanukah cookies in the list below. Chocolate too is popular, especially little chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil.
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Used with permission from About.com, Gluten-Free recipes found at About.com