We had two great gluten-free dining experiences recently. I only wish I had brought my camera.
Last week, relatives were visiting from out of town, and we met them at Mon Ami Gabi, a French bistro in Chicago. We chose Mon Ami Gabi because it’s not far from our home and, since it’s a Lettuce Entertain You restaurant, I felt reasonably confident they could handle a gluten-free request.
Little did I know that Mon Ami Gabi has a full gluten-free menu, with steaks, chicken, salmon and more. The real surprise came when the waiter brought out a gluten-free baguette nestled inside a long paper sleeve. My daughter quickly gobbled up the fresh, warm bread. Though it didn’t have the crispy crust or chewy interior of a real French baguette, my husband declared it the best gluten-free bread he’s ever had.
The 5-year-old had a school field trip to the Adler Planetarium yesterday. In the morning, I had a brain flash and quickly dashed off this email to her teacher: “Just a quick reminder for the field trip. If you pack snacks for the class, please grab something for [my daughter]. Thanks!”
It was a good thing I sent the note. I ran into the teacher in the hall after drop-off and she said they were packing bagels and cream cheese for the kids. She said she hadn’t thought about bringing a gluten-free snack for my daughter, but she was happy to grab a bag of Glutino pretzels out of her GF snack box.
I learned from experience. My daughter had gone on a field trip during camp last summer. The counselors had packed snacks for the kids but had forgotten to bring a gluten-free snack for her. To their credit, they stopped the bus at a gas station and bought her a banana. The 5-year-old was thrilled that they stopped the bus for her!
We’ve been told (see previous blog post) to add more protein and calories to the 5-year-old’s diet. Her weight has slipped from the 15th percentile to the 5th, but thankfully her blood tests came back pretty good. The only thing off was her prealbumin, which measures protein in the blood and is used to assess nutrition. Her prealbumin was 20, but it should be 21 to 41.
We’ve been advised to make every bite count. Since she tends to pick at her food, we need to make sure what she does eat has high protein and nutrition.
It’s a little difficult, because while we need to add calories for the 5-year-old, we don’t need to add them for her sister or her parents (that would be me). So we’re focusing more on healthy high-protein ideas, rather than things like ice cream and milkshakes.
Here are some suggestions we’ve received. If you have other ideas for gluten-free high-protein or high-calorie snacks and meals, please add them in a comment.
Click for high-protein ideas
We took my 5-year-old daughter for her annual celiac checkup yesterday. Unfortunately, her growth curve has slowed a bit and her doctor was a little concerned. She is still at the 5th percentile for height, as she has been in the past. But her weight curve slowed from the 15th percentile to the 5th.
They took some blood tests (despite my daughter carrying on and crying for 10 minutes) and we’ll get the results next week. In the meantime, they want us to add more protein to her diet, so more eggs, beans, peanut butter, nuts, dairy, whole milk, etc.
We love her doctor, Dr Guandalini. He’s a pediatric gastroenterologist and founder of The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center. We also love Lara Field, the friendly dietitian who always has time to talk to us and offer helpful advice. They both couldn’t be nicer.
Welcome to the Gluten-Free Nosh blog.
My youngest daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease three years ago. Since then she has been on a strict gluten-free diet and our house is 95% gluten-free.
We’ve learned how to create gluten-free versions of some of our favorite foods, how to navigate through restaurants and vacations gluten-free and how to deal with issues that come up at schools, birthday parties and playdates.
Our latest challenge is to increase nutrition by developing recipes that use alternative gluten-free flours that are higher in protein and fiber than most traditional gluten-free foods. We’d also like to develop gluten-free versions of traditional Jewish recipes, since we’ve struggled finding suitable substitutes on too many holidays.
We’ve designed this site to share recipes, tips and experiences that we hope will help gluten-free families. Please leave us comments to let us know what you think.