Monday, 27 February 2012

GF Plum and Peach Healthy Muffins

One of my favourite healthy treats to bake is Kim Wilson's Banana Muffins. I regularly bake them, and freeze them, indiviudally wrapped, so I can get them out of the freezer as I please to enjoy these treats, it hits the spot and stops that sugar craving.

The other day I was in a baking mood, I looked in the fruit bowl to find that there wasn't enough bananas to make my beloved muffins. But I wasn't going to be defeated here, I open the fruit section of the fridge, where the fruit is kept.

The delicious, purple velvet looking plums called out 'pick me, pick me!' and the delicious peaches sitting next to the delicious plums sung 'we make a great team, pick us, pick us!'. What can I say but I had to listen to the delighful Australian stonefruit that was singing to me.

I selected 4 small plums and 2 peaches and cut them up into small pieces, leaving the skin on (this is where a large majority of the fibre is stored! I placed the fruit in the blender until them resembled a fine pulp.

When I transfered the stonefruit puree to a large bowl I soon realised that there was a rather watery consistency compared to the banana mixture. This is where the cook in me kicked in and I decided on doubling the amount of flaxmeal combared to the banana mixture. I was successful, as the consistency looked perfect!
The hardest part was waiting the 20 minutes of baking time and a little bit of cool down time, before I broke my muffin into smaller pieces. I was in heaven, there was a delightful mixture of moist fruit flavours! The plums and peaches were right they were the best combination. Unlike the banana muffins which are best served heated slightly in the microwave after they have cooled, the moisture of these muffins, meant that for several days after they were made, you could simply pick one out of the contain and gobble up all that wholesome goodness.

The only frustrating thing about these muffins is that in Australia, summer is coming to an end and so will the supply of the delicious stonefruit, that I look forward to each summer! I wish I had of listened to the fruit sing to me in Novemeber not February!

Without further ado here is the delightful recipe

Gluten Free Peach and Plum Muffins

4 small plums                                                                 1 cup brown rice flour
2 large peaches (skin on)                                                1/2 cup arrowroot flour
1/2 cup water                                                                  1/2 cup gf corn flour
1/3 cup honey (or maple syrup)                                      1 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup oil (vegetable) or butter                                      2 tsp. baking powder
2/3 cup ground flaxmeal                                                  1/2 tsp. bicarb soda
1 tsp apple cider vinegar                                                  1/2 tsp. sea salt
11/2 tbs. golden syrup
opt:up to 1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 180-200 degrees celcisus. Cut fruit into small pieces and place in the blender until they resemble a puree (leave the skin on the fruit). Combine ingredients in left column (except walnuts if using). In a separate bowl, combine ingredients in right column. Lightly mix the two together, fold in walnuts if using (I didn't use walnuts in my version, its a personal choice). Scoop into oiled muffin tins (I use a olive oil spray). Bake for about 20 minutes or until they spring back when you touch them.


Don't forget you can follow me on Twitter @MMOAGFL or on Facebook under Mishaps and Mayhem of a Gluten Free Life. I would also like to mention my fellow food blogger, the lovely lady behind Delicieux is running a fantastic competition to win an ice cream maker, to enter simply click on the link and follow the instructions

What recipe have you altered to suit your supplies in the kitchen and did it turn out to be successful or not?

Friday, 24 February 2012

Myths and miconceptions about allergies

I've written plenty of recipe posts of late, I have one to put up as the next post but I think they are some important things that need to be discussed.

Firstly, I would like to cordially invite you to the Nuffnang Food Bloggers of Macarthur Unite morning tea on the last Saturday in May. All you have to do is tweet me, of make a comment or email me to let me know you are coming. If there aren't enough food bloggers in the area I will change it to just Bloggers of Macarthur Unite! I will let you know if the Food specific part is going to be removed. All you have to do is be a member of Nuffnang, go to their website and join if you aren't already

I thought I'd wait until everything calmed down a bit, but last week there was a massive controversy in the blogging world about an article on food allergies, intolerances and Coeliac disease. I have to be honest and admit I was on the bandwagon too and started tweeting, to be corrected, the meaning that I took was not the intended meaning.

As a Coeliac, eating out is always painful, your lucky if there are two things that you can eat, and then you have to check with the chef if the stock, etc are gluten free. I've been assured food is gf, only to have a reaction 30 minutes later! It's not just about the puffer fish, or the cramps, or other A, its that whatever food we have just digested as actually damaged our small bowel! Coeliac disease is not an intolerance, it is an autoimmune disease! This needs to be taken more seriously and chefs need to be taught more about this horrible disease. With knowledge comes power, if I go to a restaurant and see that I can eat most things, and when I speak to the chef, they talk in rice flour and all my language, I know I can sit back and enjoy my evening.

As well as Coeliac disease, there is gluten intolerance, where someone is allergic to gluten but it is not doing them any damage by eating it, it just might cause a reaction. People who are gluten intolerant might choose to eat gluten when they go out as they can handle it in small amounts. I can see the confusion though if someone is stressing that the main meal has the be GF and they eat a non gf cake for dessert, it doesn't really help in our plight to create more awareness. These people don't need to say they are allergic to gluten they have an intolerance and only say that if you plan on eating gf all night!

There are people who have even more serious reactions then us Coeliacs do, is the people who suffer from peanut allergies. This is a life threatening condition and if they digest, just a hint of peanut, within minutes they could die without an epipen. About 5 and 1/2 years ago I was unfortunate enough to experience anaphylaxis, mine was from spraying some cheap but labelled from France perfume on my neck, within 30 minutes the reaction started, with a ring like a rope around my neck, I had hives all over my body. I remember when I looked in the mirror and my lips was swelled and my face all red. Thankfully I called my friend and I managed to get to the front of the house, within 5 minutes my tongue started to swell. I'm ever grateful that my friend pulled into the ambulance station and rushed to get someone. I had shots of adrenalin and I went to the hospital, sirens blaring, doctors and nurses everywhere. The ambulance officers who saved my life that day, told my now husband that if my friend had driven me I would have died. So I have experienced the reaction, its one of the scariest things that has happened to me. So I know what this horrible reaction feels like, and it was damn scary as a 25 year old, so a child would be petrified. My oldest friend is allergic to peanuts, so I'm sure we get cursed by waitresses when we go out.

There are other strange and bizarre things people can be allergic to I know someone who is allergic to garlic and has a massive reaction that last a few days if she is exposed to it. There is a variety of foods that people can be allergic too and we can't critique unless you have spoken to them and its by choice they are not eating certain foods. So before you put your judgemental hat on and think, take that person as innocent until proven guilty!

I also know people who have by choice removed gluten from their diet, once again their body, their choice. Yes they may decide to try a bit of the wedding cake even though they requested a gf meal, but again it's their choice and it won't do any harm to them.

I join a chat on Twitter on Tuesday nights at 8.30pm #ausallergy that AES time, the different things that people are allergic to has soon opened up my eyes. Although it might sound strange to you to be allergic to onion, some people can be and they can't tolerate any at all otherwise they will have almost a anaphylaxis reaction. We would love for any new people to come and join us, we generally go for an hour and chat about various allergy related things. Even if your a cynic come and join us and speak to some people who have allergies and then see where you stand.

I hope I have enlightened you on the topic of allergies. Thank you for letting me tell my story, I think it's important to know that it's not always what you digest it can be something you put on you. Thankfully I have never had that reaction again, I use one perfume J'adore and I will only buy it from David Jones or the airport. So just beaware of these chemist selling perfumes at crazy prices, they aren't the real thing. I called Gucci, and they hadn't supplied directly to that chemist for 5 years, so it makes you wonder what else is put in the perfume? We got the rip off bottle and the real thing and you could smell the difference. Please don't let it happen to you! If you or your family has a reaction like that call an ambulance immediately, there really isn't much time in these situations!

Until next time where I have the best healthy muffin recipe, I'll catch you on Twitter @MMOAGFL or Facebook under Mishaps and Mayhem of a Gluten Free Life.

Monday, 20 February 2012

GF Red Velvet Cupcakes

As my readers probably know by now, I'm a big fan of the #SABH Blog Hop, each month I generally enter at least two creations, with my mind ticking over as soon as I discover the theme to think of what I can make.

This months' theme Love at First Bite, which was no doubt inspired by Valentines' Day, had my mind focused on making something delicious and special for my lovely husband for the day. Valentines' Day is something that we don't normally celebrate; personally I would much prefer a bunch of flowers or a nice surprise romantic dinner, when the calendar doesn't dictate you do! I remember being single and feeling very much like Bridget Jones, when it was Valentines' Day, particualary watching over smug women, walking past with their red roses!

I have never had a red velvet cupcake, but I had heard all about theme and knew that they are one of the latest things at the moment, the cake to have! I talked to a few people about it and decided that this was something that I wanted to make! With my mind made up I started searching the net for recipes.

I found a Red Velvet Cupcake recipe on Taste, that had 5 stars It was a gluten filled cupcake, but writing this blog has given me more confidence in my baking skills and converting a gluten filled recipe into a gluten free one. This is what I did with this recipe and I must say I am quite proud of myself as it is honestly my best gluten free creation I have made. Or at least, up there with the best.

I couldn't believe how easy it was to make, virtually it was sift dry ingredients and mix in the wet ingredients. The only thing which I will admit I goggled on how to do was buttermilk; I simply added a tablespoon of lemon juice first and let it sit whilst I collected all the other ingredients. No mix master, no hand held mixer, this is a very easy cake to make. What makes it even better is that you put them in paper cases, saving on the washing up even more! What's not to like about that!

When it came to the icing, I read the comments, originally the recipe called for 2x 250g of cream cheese! I agreed with the majority of comments which said they halved the icing, so 1 250g of cream cheese and 1 cup of icing sugar. The icing is where you need the hand held electric mixer, as you need to mix, butter, cream cheese and icing sugar. Make sure you have the cream cheese and butter out at room temperature! Once everything was mixed up, I dipped my finger into the bowl, and was overwhelmed by the cream cheese flavour. To me, it didn't match with the chocolate red infused cakes that I had made! In the end to get the right consistency, so it tasted like icing and cream cheese wasn't the overwhelming flavour, it took the addition of another cup of icing sugar and then we had the perfect match! It took alot of will power to stop eating the icing from the bowl.

The next step of this adventure was to add the icing to my perfectly formed cupcakes, which were more like muffins. As I had added more icing sugar, there was a fair bit more icing, so the cakes were well covered with icing. I lathered them up rather well, and I was impressed with the overall turnout.

As much as they were calling 'eat me, eat me', I held back and waited until my hubby got home from work and together with a nice cup of tea we ate our Red Velvet Cupcakes at the same time! It was most definitely Love at First Bite! I have to say this was the nicest, moistest gluten free cake I have tried, and the icing was the perfect accompainiment! The only reason you would have known they were gluten free is that if you knew I was a Coeliac.

I have to confess I ate more than my fair share of the cakes, but I figured that's one priviliege as the cook you get to have! And I was in love; I just couldn't stop eating them! I have some baby showers coming up and I can guarantee these will be on my menu of gf things that I will be bringing.

I have to give a warning, it does contain red food colouring, so be aware when giving it to children. My sister gave my 18 month old nephew some and within 30 minutes he was slightly hypo, we only realised when he was running around a bit loony like, that there was red food colouring in the cake. An example for all those people who claim food colouring doesn't affect children, I can vouch yes, it does!

Just writing this recipe for you makes me want to make these cakes again. For all those Coeliacs or Gluten Intolerant people out there, you can have a delicious, scrumptious cake that doesn't taste dry or crumbles. And yes you will fall in Love At First Bite.

When you make them, don't tell people they are gluten free and see what response you get, I can almost guarantee it will be full of praise, as people have their mouths stuffed with cake, telling you how good it tastes!

Red Velvet Cupcakes

1 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup gf cornflour
1/2 cup gf flour
1tsp bicarb soda
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
1 cup butttermilk
200g butter, melted
2 eggs lightly whisked (at room temperature)
1 tbs white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tsp red food colouring
1 x 250g cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups icing sugar (add more to taste)
60g butter at room temperature
2-3 tsp vanilla essence, (for icing, add more to taste).

Preheat oven to 170 degrees celcisus. Line 12 muffin pans with paper cases (or 18 patty cakes). Sift flour, cocoa, bicarb soda into a bowl. Stir through sugar. Whisk buttermilk, butter, eggs, vinegar and vanilla  in a large jug until well combined. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture. Add the buttermilk mixture, stir until just combined. Stir in the food colouring. Divide the mixture into the paper cases. Bake for 20-25 mins, or until skewer comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Use an electric beater to beat the cream cheese, icing sugar, extra butter and vanilla until smooth (I added another cup  of icing sugar to meet my taste, so perhaps start with 1 cup and adjust to your individual taste). Spread over cupcakes.

Buttermilk: Add 1 tbs vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk (I used lemon juice). Allow to stand for a min of 5 mintures before using.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

GF Chocolate Fudge Brownies

I thought this recipe was the perfect last minute Valentines Day Treat for your loved one, its quick easy and only takes about 25 minutes from preparation to eating. This is something you can grab the list of ingredients that you need on your way home from work and quickly make these, even after dinner. Serve with either a lovely cup of nice tea, some ice cream or your favourite liqueur, whatever tickles your fancy. A big Happy Valentines Day to you all, even just treat yourself, no Bridget Jones moment though, be strong and a proud single person!

After flicking  through my cakes and desserts sections I couldn't believe that I hadn't included one of my all time favourite GF recipes. It was also one of the first things that I began to cook after I received my diagnosis.

Unfortunately I cannot claim the fame and say these are of my creation, as much as I may like to, but these delicious brownies were found on, I couldn't get the direct link, but just look under GF chocolate Fudge brownies and they are the first recipe. The best thing about these brownies is they are so quick and easy to cook, it is literally sift the dry ingredients, make a well add some butter and eggs and mix together and within less then 20 minutes you have delicious, warm melt in your mouth brownies.

Those who are coeliacs know that going to functions is rather disappointing as there is maybe one or two if you are lucky types of food you can eat. I soon learnt to bring my own cake etc, wherever we went. These brownies were the easiest and quickest to cook and everyone loved them. I have to make sure I set a few pieces aside for myself before they are all gone. The cake is moist and filled with delicious chocolate goodness.

After I had surgery last year, my husband took over the cooking role. These brownies were the first cake etc that he had ever cooked. I still remember him coming into me in the bedroom asking if this package was the correct ingredients. I was so proud of him, when our guests arrived to wish me well and my hubby could serve up his own homemade brownies. He was as pleased as punch.

Now it has become almost like a fight to see who gets to cook the brownies. It's always nice to receive compliments about your cooking and not many people believe me at first, when I tell them my hubsand cooked them!

After nearly two years of sharing these delicious delights to myself, I will share with my readers these wonderful brownies. I guarantee everyone will gobble them up, telling you just how nice they are, with their mouths stuffed full of brownies. You will feel very satisfied at your achievements. Even if you aren't an accomplished baker, put that packet mix down and give this a try, you won't look back again!

Gluten Free Chocolate Fudge Brownies

1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup plain gf flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup cocoa
1 1/4 cups caster sugar
2 eggs lightly beaten (just use a fork)
150g butter, melted

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 350 Fahrenheit. Grease a slab tin and line with baking paper. Sift flours, baking powder and cocoa into a large bowl. Add sugar and stir to combine. Make a well in the centre. Add eggs (whisk first) and melted butter to flour mixture. Using a metal spoon, mix until just smooth. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 18-20 mins, or until the skewer comes out with crumbs clinging to it. Remove from oven, allow to cool in pan. Remove from pan and cut into squares. These are delicious with a nice cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate. You can also eat them with ice cream and chocolate topping! (not recommend all the time!), or as I said for a special occassion with your favourite liqueor or glass of wine.

Don't forget you can follow me on Twitter @MMOAGFL or on Facebook under Mishaps and Mayhem of a Gluten Free Life. I recently wrote a guest post for Lifestyle Elements where I share my story of being a Coeliac.

Remember food bloggers this months #SABH theme is Love at First Bite, entries open on the 20th February and close on the 27th February. This month it is hosted by Nic writer of the blog Dining with a Stud,click on the link to enter

I hope you enjoy these delicious brownies as much as I do, as have many of my friends and family!

Friday, 10 February 2012

My story from misdiagnose to the correct GF diagnosis

This week I'm very excited to announce that my first guest post was published on Life Style Elements, the post shared my story of living as a coeliac. I thought I'd include this link for my non twitter followers.

I've been debating this week about which post to publish, I've decided on giving a brief overview and support organisations that can help with the various conditions I have or have been told I had in the past.

I'll start from the beginning, my first diagnosis by my old GP was IBS Irritable Bowel Syndrome, there are lots of symptoms of this disease which are very simialar to Coeliac disease. The main symptoms are Abdominal pain, fullness, gas, bloating, constipation and dirreahoea that have been present for 3 days for the past 3 months. Very similar to coeliac disese! Easy to see why a doctor who is not up to date on coeliac disease, or doesn't ask the correct question you can be misdiagnosed. Here is the link to the website I received the information on IBS

The second condition I have and have suffered from for many years is endometrosis, a condition that my mother also suffered from. This condition is a women's disease and is based around our monthly cycle, causing severe and debilitating pain each month, heavy periods, bloating, gas, changes in bowel movements and much more. Unless you are seeing a Gynecologist who is well versed on the condition you are often passed off as having 'women's problems', here is the website where I got alot of information from The scary thing with this condition is it can lead to low fertility which I also suffer from, a great doctor, who focuses on the condition and has experience in IVF, is the dr you want to see, here is the link to my dr

My other big symptom was anemia, which can also be a symptom of endometrosis. I suffered quite severely with anemia, when I finally got a blood test my levels where 4, and my bone storage and normal iron. Iron helps red blood cells transfer oxygen to the brain and body, thus making the sufferer very tired. I would have to lie down at work, I was unable to function, pale, dizzy and generally found it hard to concentrate! Here is a great website for more information about anemia I ended up having a session of iron injections, which helped but was referred to my gyno to answer why my iron was so low. Thankfully my great dr could see these
levels weren't from heavy periods and gave me a referral for a gastrologist! With a family
history of bowel cancer an endoscopy and colonscopy. A biopsy sample taken from my small bowel which resulted in a diagnosis of coeliac disease! The only way to control this disease is following a strict gluten free diet!

Coeliac disease is a heredity disease, as you must have 1-2 genes to have the disease. An early diagnosis is essential to causing as minimal damage as possible! If you notice any of the symptoms, please see your doctor and ask about tests. There is a blood teat, but the only conclusive way to diagnose the disease is by a biopsy from a colonscopy. I would highly recommend seeing a nutriontist, as coeliac disease can warrant you in Australia to a health care plan and a number of visits with a nutrionist at a reduced rate! I find cooking GF easy by each week, I've developed more confidence and have successfully modified a number of
recipes. My whole family cook GF for me and I know the questions to ask when eating out! It's not always guaranteed by works more than not! I find going to friends and families events hard at times, and always make sure I bring a GF dish or fill up on GF food before hand! I highly recommend that you visit the neatest GF expo coming to your state this year, they are free and filled with an abudance of information and food, I was blown away by the contact I made and information I found! For more information on this disease read this website and if your an Australian resident join this great association.

I hope that me sharing my personal story has given you the courage to contact your doctor about any of the symptoms. I know talking about these things can be embarrassing at tines, it is so important and can be life saving. I'd love to hear your story or thoughts about my personal post!

Monday, 6 February 2012

GF Museli Biscuits

Firstly I have to say how excited I am to reach 5000 readers since starting this blog. It totally blows my mind! When I first started writing, I honestly thought it would be read by a small number of people, I remember calling my husband and mum each time someone from a new country read my blog! It's also nice to chat to your friends or people you told of the blog and they know what you wrote about!

From starting out in my kitchen, telling my story to the world, I have expanded my blog and plan on this year making it bigger and better than last year. Since then I have particiapted and loved doing it in #SABH Blog Hops, I've joined Twitter, made some wonderful friends, who I can't believe how honestly caring and helpful they are! My posts have been featured in other blogs, I was successful in writing an article as life as a coeliac that will feature in an online website, I have reviewed an e book and had my first ever competition. I thought about changing to a different hoster, but I'm going to revamp, maybe with some help, make my blog more user friendly and encourage people to not just read but follow or get an email link of my blog.

I want my readers to share in my excitment and the next post I will be announcing a competition!

But this post is the recipe, of some delicious museli biscuits that I spoke about in the previous post, how to pack a healthy lunch box. I want people to know that this is a really easy recipe, it is healthy, wholesome and tasty. I know it is easy to buy pre packaged food for your children or yourself but taking a few minutes of your time to make these delicious healthy biscuits, put them in your childrens lunchbox, take them to work, have as a snack, with a nice cup of tea. They are simply delicious!

I honestly think we need to get past the packet mix, love affair we have at the moment, along with frozen, pre packaged biscuits and foods. Have you looked at all the numbers on these products? Often they are chemicals, toxic things that we are putting into our bodies. I know what it's like to be busy, working and trying to run a household (I'm not a mum, but I know plenty). I challenge you to make these biscuits or my healthy banana muffins, they are a staple in my household, I know I can have them as a treat and I know exactly what is in them, and there is no processed pre pacakged food. You can honestly taste the difference!

I can't claim all the glory for this recipe, I was flicking through the pages of Woolworths Fresh, February addidtion and I found a recipe for Museli Biscuits, it called for gluten museli and wholemeal flour. I replaced the Museli with GF museli, a Basco brand of museli, instead of wholemeal flour I used Flaxmeal. You could really taste the difference. The only sweetener in these biscuits is honey, a natural source and 1tsp of vanilla, no added sugar, all natural flavour enhancers.

I was pleasantly surprised at how nice they tasted! You could no only taste how wholesome the biscuits were, but they were tasty and healthy! Even better, I had to stop myself from eating too many. I'm certain they wouldn't have been so healthy if I ate so many. I managed to control myself, I can guarantee kids would love these. I used the museli that was in my cupboard. If you are making them from yourself or your children and they have other allergies, ensure the museli meets your individual needs.

Healthy Museli Bisuits

1 1/2 cups of Museli
1/2 cup Flaxmeal or (brown rice flour)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 egg

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celicus. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Combine museli, baking powder, flaxmeal or brown rice flour into a bowl. Whisk vegetable oil, honey, vanilla and egg together in a bowl or jug until well combined. Pour into the museli mixture and stir until well combined. Drop spoonfuls onto baking trays. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Note: Set the oven timer on, they cook so quickly and you don't want them to burn. You could cook these before breakfast and have them ready to put into lunchboxes by the time everyone is ready for school and work!

Don't forget you can follow me on Twitter @MMOAGFL, I'd love to hear from you, you can also follow us on Facebook under Mishaps And Mayhem Of A Gluten Free Life.

The wonderful #SABH is running the February competition starting from the 20th February to 27th February 2012! The theme this month is Love at First Bite! My mind boggles with all the things I can make. If you are a food blogger come along and join us!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The GF Lunch Box

One of the hardest thing about being a coeliac is your extremely limited options for lunch and snacks. I didn't find out until I was an adult that I was a coeliac, but for parents of kids with the disease I feel for you! As a teacher I know that kids compare what is in their mates lunchbox and often if it looks different some kids can be rather nasty. The worse thing is, the ones who are best at this are very sneaky and try and look like the innocent party all the time! But we teachers are on the prowl for these kids, protecting the mental sanity of all children.

A gluten free lunchbox is really not that hard to pack and I'm going to show you how to do it, relatively fuss free, without looking so bizarre and different to everyone else's lunch! I'm even including a lovely healthy snack for recess (morning tea)!

But first, parents I know your kids can be hard and you are very busy but breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Any experienced teacher can walk into a classroom in the morning and pick the children who havent eaten breakfast, they are tired, can't concentrate, won't participate in class discussion or activites and sometimes fall asleep! Find a healthy cereal, not sugar filled cereals and yes you can find GF varieties! They give children a sugar high, then they come crashing down! Most schools have breakfast clubs that for a gold coin donation or some schools it's free, children get cereal, toast, fresh fruit, milk and juice or water. This is a fantastic facility and provides no real excuses for the child not having breakfast! Now if you run a busy schedule and breakfast is hard to get your child to eat, then breakfast club might be for you. If your child is GF you can always purchase their favourite cereal (museli, rice porridge etc) and a loaf of GF bread and leave it at the school, where breakfast club things are stored! Even if it's a once off it saves your child eating unhealthy things for breakfast, or not eating anything at all! Speak to your child's teacher and if they aren't sure the deputy or principal, most schools will be fine with this!

Recess is often hard for GF children, as everyone else doesn't have things they can't eat! But it isn't that hard; mammee make some great rice based snacks for kids which all kids eat, there are more rice based snacks coming on the market, seasme snacks, sultanas and sultanas with apricots come in lunch box snack sized options (check out the health food aisle for more options). The best and healthiest food is one not brought but made at homee by you (preferably from fresh not packet ingredients), its all about time, involve your children in the cooking and cleaning up process, it teachers them many things! You can make healthy muffins (see my banana muffin recipe), museli cookies ( the recipe I will put up tomorrow), And don't forget fruit and vegetables! The recommended serving suggestion is 2 pieces of fruit n 5 vegetables daily! Often our meals don't include all those veggies, so include some in your child's lunch box. Some chopped carrot, cucumber, fresh fruit salad, fruit etc, the list goes on! These are healthy foods which take a short time to prepare! Every class I've taught has had crunch n sip, a morning break where for 5 minutes they sit down on the floor and chat, eating their fruit or veg and drinking water! They are excited about this!

Lunch is the hardest part of a GF lunchbox! The bread isn't that tasty and doesn't make the best sandwiches, you can try it and see if your child likes it! Other options are wraps, but I'm not very impressed by what I've seen. Then there is rice cakes, you can get flavored rice cakes and put the topping, such as ham, cheese and tomato in separate bags and they can put their lunch together in class, I have no doubt they will enjoy this! Also left over rice, or tinned flavored tuna, on rice cakes is another option.

Try and cover the food groups in their lunchbox, add some cheese, a yoghurt, for their dairy and always include at least one piece of fruit! Now as crackers aren't as filling as bread always have some rice crackers, sultanas or their favourite snack! Don't forget water, this is so important! Not cordial (maybe as a weekly treat), have it in a drink bottle they can refill, also put it in the fridge the night before, so it's nice and cold. Buy a soft lunch bag that fits an Ice brick for meats and dairy products!

Now comes the canteen, some are great others sell sweet sugary and salty snacks and sugar filled energy drinks! Some canteens sell GF food, others don't! The school canteen is almost like a right of passage, your child will feel left out if they can't visit the canteen even once a month! I still remember ordering days were Friday and I felt so special, my favourite day! If the canteen doesn't sell gluten free food, make an appointment to see your principal and discuss that GF food should be available for your child! It's on the market and a healthy option!

Most importantly tell your child's teacher of their intolerance or coeliac disease, even provide some information to the teacher about the disease. They need to know, children can swap lunches without realising and the teacher can't be at fault if they aren't informed! Most teachers will be willing to send a note out to other parents, to lessen contimation, also when it's a birthday party and there is cake if the teacher informs you, you can organise a special cake or cookie treat for your child!

So in a nutshell, provide a variety of healthy but filling snacks, alternate lunches, would you like to eat the same thing daily? Put an ice brick in their lunch box or bag. And as soon as you can make an appointment with the class teacher (talking to them in the morning while they have 25-30 kids, is not the best time!), ask for an appointment that suits you both, it could even be a phone call! And if the canteen isn't providing GF options, chat to the principal (they aren't monsters)and will listen to your rational concerns.

Please let me know if this has helped you? I'd love to hear positive and negative food allergy or coeliac stories from school. Is your school helpful and understanding or the opposite?

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The lovely Jennifer from Delicieux is running a comp to win a great vegetarian cookbook, click on the link to enter! goodluck! I hope my readers and myself win!