Ingredients Nannies To Children With Gluten Intolerance Should Be Aware Of

Share Button

kidsAs a primary caretaker of children, nannies are constantly on alert – from helping little ones avoid slipping in the bathtub to keeping a careful eye on them as they play at the playground. For children with gluten intolerance, it’s imperative that nannies are vigilant during meal times to safeguard them from harm.

Learning how to avoid ingredients that can cause the child discomfort and understanding the signs and symptoms of gluten intolerance will help ease the minds of the parents, the child and the nanny.

Defining Gluten Intolerance

Children with gluten intolerance, also known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity, are unable to tolerate gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and contaminated oats. According to Laura Cipullo, New York-based nutritionist, registered dietitian and founder of, those with gluten intolerance experience similar symptoms to those affiliated with Celiac Disease, where the intolerance can lead to inflammation that damages the intestinal lining, ultimately leading to malabsorption.

“Research suggests that non-celiac gluten sensitivity is a natural immune response to the ingestion of gluten and affects an estimated 18 million Americans,” says Cipullo.

If a child who is gluten intolerant ingests gluten, says Cipullo, they can experience some of the following symptoms:

* Stomach discomfort
* Diarrhea
* Cramping
* Gas
* Bloating
* Brain fogginess
* Joint pain
* Numbing of the extremities
* Headaches

When a child is sensitive to gluten, his body considers it a foreign substance and produces antibodies to eliminate it, says Dr. David Katz, founding director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center and author of Disease Proof. “Inflammation from gluten sensitivity can result in damage to the villi, or tiny hair-like projections in the small intestine which absorb nutrients and cause problems with absorption of nutrients necessary for good health.”

Furthermore, if gluten sensitivity goes unmanaged, it can affect a child’s behavior and ability to grow and learn, says Debbi Beauvais, New York-based registered dietitian, nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “For growth and development, children have very high energy and nutrient needs,” she says. “To manage a diet for children with this sensitivity, it is best to consult a registered dietitian to work with you and your child to plan meals that will ensure all energy and nutrient needs are being met.”

Ingredients to Avoid

informationredOne rule of thumb is to avoid any food with the word wheat in the ingredient list, says Beauvais. “Many foods now are clearly labeled gluten free and most food markets have specific food sections which contain gluten free foods clearly labeled as such,” she says.

However, you can never be too careful. Keep an eye out for the following ingredients:

* Barley (flakes, flour, pearl)
* Breading and bread stuffing
* Brewer’s yeast
* Bulgur
* Durum (type of wheat)
* Farro/Faro (also known as spelt)
* Graham flour
* Hydrolyzed wheat protein
* Kamut (a type of wheat)
* Malt, malt extract, malt syrup and malt flavoring
* Malt vinegar
* Malted milk
* Matzoh, matzoh meal
* Modified wheat starch
* Oatmeal, oat bran, oat flour and whole oats (unless they are from pure, uncontaminated oats)
* Rye bread and flour
* Seitan (a meat-like food derived from wheat gluten that is used in many vegetarian dishes)
* Semolina
* Spelt (a type of wheat also known as farro or faro, dinkel)
* Triticale
* Wheat bran, flour, germ or starch

According to Cipullo, common sources of gluten in packaged goods include bars, candies, fruit snacks and chips. “Hidden sources of gluten can lurk in ketchup, salad dressings, oats, dried fruits, sauces, soy sauce, processed meat products and certain ice creams,” she says.

What to Eat

With a long list of ingredients to stray from, it’s easy to get discouraged when trying to prepare meals for a child who is gluten intolerant. One common concern of parents and caretakers is ensuring their children with gluten sensitivity are getting the proper nutrition, says Dr. Katz. He suggests the following:

* Look for whole grain gluten-free products

* Aim for at least two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables a day

* Incorporate beans, as they are a great source of gluten-free fiber and protein

One of the best ways to ensure a gluten intolerant child is getting his daily dose of nutrients is to enhance his diet with the very nutrients he needs, says Katz. “Boost the child’s diet with a gluten-free, nutrient-dense children’s multivitamin,” he says, “which combines a full multivitamin, Omega 3 DHA and EPA and more than 100 percent of Vitamin D.”

To avoid the symptoms and further enhance the child’s diet, it is essential to discuss the child’s gluten intolerance with his parents and ensure that appropriate gluten-free snacks are available for the child, recommends Cipullo. “This child’s intolerance to gluten should be a top priority and planning a safe and effective way to have safe snacks and meals available to him or her is beneficial to avoiding gluten,” she says.

– Submitted by Sara Dawkins of

Smart Ways For Nannies To Stay Fit

Share Button

girlappleIf you’re like most nannies, staying fit while spending your days caring for kids is a hard task. Your hours are long, and heading off to the gym is usually the last thing you want to do when you get home in the evening. Your eating habits probably don’t help either. Meals usually consist of whatever’s close at hand, which typically means prepackaged food that doesn’t fit into your ideal menu. The good news is you can make small lifestyle changes that can make a big difference. Here are some ideas to get you on the right track.

Make a real commitment to yourself. One of the biggest obstacles to staying fit is putting your need to lead a healthy life above the constant pull you feel from other people and their demands on your time and attention. If you let it happen, there will always be something that needs to get done before you work out or take time to prepare a healthy meal. Make a commitment to take care of yourself before you do anything else.

Work out in the morning before you start work. You already get up early just to get to work on time, so waking up even earlier to work out may seem like a stretch. But before you dismiss an early morning workout, do the math. If you leave early to hit a gym or pool close to your employer’s home, chances are you’ll miss the daily commuter traffic. That saved time can offset the time you invest in your workout. Even if you won’t save time by working out in the morning, there are plenty of other benefits to doing so, such as increased energy first thing in the morning and throughout the day. At the end of the day, you can barely make it to your couch. Before the day begins, you’re ready to tackle the gym, track or pool. Plus, exercising first thing in the morning boosts your mood and energy for the rest of the day.

Get your kids involved in the workout. If you care for older kids, think of ways to exercise during the day with them. They’re supposed to engage in at least one hour of physical activity each day, so you have a built-in reason to make exercise a priority. Go for a bike ride on the local trail. Head out for a hike at the community arboretum. Play a game of basketball in the backyard. There are lots of things that you and your charges can do that are fun and will help you get you in great shape.

girljogTake advantage of breaks during the day. If your charge naps or goes to school during the day, take that time to fit in a workout. Work out with a DVD or hop on the elliptical machine for 30 minutes. You’ll still have plenty of time to get your other jobs, like laundry, straightening up and meal prep, done.

Find activities that you enjoy. Working out doesn’t mean you have to be tied to the gym. There are lots of fun things you can do in the evenings and on weekends that will burn calories and build strength and flexibility. If you don’t have a favorite sport, try out different things until you find one you really connect with. You might enjoy bike riding, hiking, kayaking, Zumba, tennis, swimming or a host of other sports. Don’t expect to be good at your new sport right at the beginning. It takes a while to become even somewhat skilled at something new. Just have fun and know your body is getting a workout at the same time.

Make healthy food choices. Often, your personal food choices include things you wouldn’t feed to your charges. Being a nanny means being busy all day, so you go for what’s quick and easy, even when those things work against your goal of staying fit. Instead, take the time to plan out your meals and include foods that are tasty and will fuel your body. By bringing a day’s worth of ready-to-eat healthy meals and snacks with you to work, you won’t be tempted to grab whatever’s close because you’re short on time or energy.

Sit down to eat. Meal time often means you’re juggling 10 different things all at once. No matter how busy you are, it’s important to slow down and take 15 or 20 minutes to sit down and eat lunch. This allows you to really be conscious of what and how much you’re eating. It also lets your body stay connected to your feelings of hunger and fullness.

Staying fit while working as a nanny is a tough task, but not one that’s impossible. With a real commitment and some smart planning, you can make it happen.

– Submitted by Sonny Giffin of