Eating gluten-free when you have a toddler can prove challenging. My daughter is now very into sharing. She wants to eat off of my plate, and expects me to want to do the same. My daughter does not have a strict gluten-free diet. Because she eats the foods that I cook, she does not eat a lot of gluten. However, my parents are not gluten-free, so she gets her wheat on Mondays and Thursdays when they babysit.
From the time we brought her home, I have had visions of her cramming wheat filled snacks into my mouth in an effort to share. I realize this is not completely rational. She is not capable of shoving things into my mouth, however, a toddler’s will is a force of nature. When we are home she eats mostly veggies, fruits, eggs and meat. She has the occasional grain such as rice, potatoes or corn based pasta, but she does not love grains . . . well, unless I am trying to eat them without her. Then she cannot get enough bites off of my fork.
Now that she is finally to the snacking and sharing stage, I have attempted to introduce her to some snacks that are safe for me. (This is especially true when we are out and about and I cannot wash my hands to get rid of any wheat crumbs). Happy Yogis are, hands down, her favorite snack. I equate this to catnip. She goes crazy when I pull out the package. They are little dried yogurt drops. To me they taste like air with a little bit of yogurt. They come in a few flavors, and my daughter seems to approve of all of them. Happy Puffs are also a crowd pleaser. They resemble Cheerios, but are lighter. They are similar to the Gerber Puffs but without the wheat. These come in green, sweet potato, purple carrot/blueberry and apple. Ella does not love the green flavor (spinach) and we have not found the purple carrot/blueberry in the store. (We buy both Happy Yogis and Happy Puffs in the baby food section at Target). On a recent trip to Toys R’ Us I found fiddlesticks by Plum. They are a cracker stick, and come in several flavors. Apple carrot was the flavor I picked up. Ella is ok with them, but she is not big on having to bite into hard foods since she is teething. They tasted like a cracker to me. I did not get a really apple/carrot flavor, but they were ok for a toddler snack.
The sharing stage also involves eating whatever I am eating. (I hear this stage lasts a long time). So, I try and pick foods to snack on that she can also nibble on. She often shares my Corn Chex for breakfast. Glutino Pretzel Sticks are also a hit, but mostly because she likes to lick the salt off of the pretzel. Finding a cracker to share is harder to come by. Many of the gluten-free crackers are nut based and our pediatrician wants us to avoid nuts until she is two. And, because she is adopted and we are not sure what allergies she has a predisposition to, we are following our pediatricians recommendations pretty strictly. Lentil Crackers are so far my favorite choice. The rice based crackers are too close to cardboard for my liking. These Lentil Crackers, which come in several varieties are nut free and have good taste and texture.
If you are on the go with a toddler these are some good options. Best of luck trying to keep any gluten out of your mouth and in theirs.
Wishing you good food and happy tummies,