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Creating New Gluten-Free Holiday Traditions with Your Child

 
12/4/2013

By Silvana Nardone of Silvana's Kitchen

The holidays are a time when food is the focus and this can be stressful for parents of children newly diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.  I know firsthand how worrisome that first gluten-free holiday can be!  I also know that new traditions can be made and new favorite recipes can be cooked or baked to perfection.  Here are my tips for making the transition easier for you and your child.

Shift the focus from food.

Baking goodies during the holidays is such a fun way to bring the family together, but it can cause some stress for mom and dad after a recent diagnosis.  Keep in mind that it’s ok to break away from the food focus and embrace other holiday activities.  You can color holiday-themed pictures with the kids, watch their favorite holiday movie, or craft new homemade decorations together.  Years from now when your kids look back on their childhood holiday traditions, they won’t be thinking of the type of cookie you baked, but rather the times you spent making memories.

Get in touch with your child’s teacher.

The sooner you can contact your child’s teacher about upcoming holiday activities, the better.  This way, you will have more time to prepare alternatives for your child so he or she doesn’t miss out on any of the fun.  Give the teacher gluten-free goodies to keep on hand for classroom parties.  If the teacher plans on giving out any holiday goodie bags, ask if it’s possible for it to also contain items other than food, like pencils and erasers.

Embrace trying new things.

Your child will pick up on your emotional cues.  If you take on a new gluten-free cookie recipe together and it doesn’t turn out exactly as planned, put a positive spin on the situation.  Remind your child that now you know how to do it better next time and tell him or her how much fun you had spending time together, even if the recipe needs some work.  If you think of this new gluten-free lifestyle as an adventure you get to embark on as a team, your child will too.

Butter Cut-Out Cookies

Just remember this simple tip: The key to a successful gluten-free holiday is preparation and a positive, can-do attitude.  I hope you and your family enjoy a fun-filled holiday season!  To kick it off, I’d like to share this gluten-free, dairy-free recipe for Buttery Cut-Out Cookies with Royal Icing.  Enjoy!  

About Silvana Nardone

Silvana Nardone
Silvana Nardone is the editor-in-chief of the all-digital, gluten-free magazine, Easy Eats. Silvana is also the author of Cooking for Isaiah: Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Recipes for Easy, Delicious Meals and publisher of Silvana's Kitchen, a blog that takes the guesswork out of how to feed a family with food allergies. Previously, she was the owner of a Brooklyn-based bakery, Fanciulla Specialty Foods, and the founding editor-in-chief of Every Day with Rachael Ray.

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