Gluten-free diet for children: indications for compliance, list of prohibited and permitted foods

Gluten-free products have become popular on store shelves today. The relevance of gluten-free diets forces manufacturers to sell what consumers demand. Although the absence of gluten does not mean that the product is “healthy”. Often these buzzwords are used to really promote products. And this brings us to why it is so important to know whether those “gluten-free grains” that you are searching for and then purchasing are actually gluten-free and healthy.

What is gluten

This is a protein found in wheat, as well as in other grains - spelt, barley, rye. It helps to “glue” and shape foods, giving them elasticity. Gluten causes unpleasant intestinal symptoms for some people. Approximately 1-2% of the world's population suffers from celiac disease. This is an autoimmune form of gluten intolerance. These people have serious difficulties and must follow a gluten-free diet for life. There are others who do not have celiac disease but may have an allergy related to wheat consumption. Experts say 1-6% of the population falls into this category.

Thus, if you have any gluten intolerance, it is better to replace whole wheat with gluten-free grains, a list of which you will find in the article.

Gluten porridge

Gluten cereals are recommended to be included in the diet after 6.5 months of age. The products contain gluten, which is poorly digested due to a lack of enzymes. Therefore, early introduction of gluten-free complementary foods is not advisable.

Table of contents
  • Gluten products, properties
  • How to include in your diet
  • What foods to give to a baby, how to cook for a baby under 1 year old
  • How to cook porridge for a child after one year

Gluten products, properties

Gluten-based complementary foods are more beneficial than gluten-free complementary foods. They contain vitamins B, PP, iron, phosphorus and other components.

What gluten-free porridges, properties:

Oatmeal – removes toxic substances, gives additional energy, prevents bloating, reduces cholesterol concentration.

Wheat - improves cognitive functions (memory, attention, perception of new information), improves the functioning of the heart muscle, prevents stool retention, helps cleanse blood vessels, and has a beneficial effect on the condition of the skin.

Barley - has a lot of calories, gives strength, reduces excess weight, removes heavy metals, prevents the occurrence of cancer.

Pearl barley - has a lot of fiber, removes toxic substances, prevents viral diseases.

Semolina - has a lot of glucose, calories, gluten, promotes weight gain, and is the least healthy of all cereal products.

Gluten-free cereals differ from other foods in that they contain gluten.

This is the protein of cereal crops such as wheat, rye, barley, oats. Gluten gives the product elasticity, stickiness, and viscosity.

Gluten contains a substance called gliadin. It is allergenic for babies and can also damage the mucous membrane of the digestive tract.

Useful tips for mothers: Main dishes of baby food

The most common consequences of early introduction of gluten grains are:

  • food allergies;
  • diseases of the digestive tract.

Due to the high risk of an allergic reaction and damage to the digestive tract, cereals containing gluten are introduced only after 6.5 months.

The digestive system of a baby up to 6-7 months is not perfect.

The intestines do not produce enough enzymes to break down the gluten protein.

Early introduction of gluten products can cause dyspepsia (constipation, diarrhea), increased gas formation, and dysbiosis.

If cereal complementary foods are introduced incorrectly, the child may subsequently develop digestive diseases, such as colitis, gastritis, ulcerative lesions of the duodenum, and stomach.

An allergy to gluten grains is manifested by a rash and hyperemia of the skin.

In case of severe intolerance, Quincke's edema and urticaria are possible.

Other manifestations of improper introduction of gluten grains:

  • poor sleep;
  • cry;
  • poor appetite;
  • nervousness, moodiness.

To prevent these manifestations, it is necessary to include complementary foods with gluten in the diet in accordance with the rules.

How to include in your diet

The introduction of cereal products begins with gluten-free cereals. They are gluten free.

These include:

  • buckwheat;
  • rice;
  • corn.

They can be included in the diet from 4 months if the baby is bottle-fed.

When the baby is on the chest, you can include porridge in the menu only from 6 months.

They start with the most hypoallergenic cereal crop - buckwheat.

2 weeks are allocated for the introduction of buckwheat.

If the culture is normally tolerated, it is permissible to include rice porridge.

It is also administered for 2 weeks. Next add corn porridge.

After introducing gluten-free foods, gluten grains are included in the diet.

Deadline for inclusion of gluten-containing cereals:

  • artificial feeding - 6.5-7 months;
  • breast - 8-9 months.

Oatmeal is introduced first.

It is considered the softest for the intestines, has many micronutrients, and is less allergenic.

Next include barley and pearl barley. Wheat and semolina are given to the baby only from 1 year.

They contain a lot of coarse fiber and gluten.

Rules for inclusion in the diet:

First serving - start with ½-1 teaspoon until 12:00.

Observation on the first day.

After 2-3 days, they try to increase the dosage of complementary foods to 2-3 spoons.

If the child tolerates the new cereal crop normally, the portion can be increased to the age norm and included in the menu.

If a baby has malnutrition, it is advisable to include semolina by 10-11 months. This will help you gain weight.

With paratrophy, they try to give cereal products no more than once a day, and increase the amount of vegetable and fruit complementary foods.

What foods to give to a baby, how to cook for a baby under 1 year old

Until 1 year of age, it is recommended to give only commercially produced porridge. They are finely ground and free of coarse particles.

Also, industrially produced porridges are additionally fortified to prevent a lack of micronutrients.

You cannot prepare porridge yourself until you are 1 year old.

This can damage your baby's intestines.

Industrial types of cereal complementary foods:

  • Agusha;
  • Baby;
  • Vinnie;
  • Baby;
  • Nestlé;
  • Samper;
  • Swaddle;

In addition to these brands, there are also the following: Frutonyanya, Heinz, Hipp, Humana.

Budget options are Agusha, Frutonyanya, Malyutka, Nestle.

To prepare industrial porridge, you need to pour the required amount into a plate.

Boil water, cool it to 30-40°.

Water should be poured into the dry powder or flakes, stirring at the same time.

High-quality porridges do not produce lumps. After preparing the dish, you can feed the baby.

Not all cereal foods are suitable for a child. More often the brand is selected individually.

Quality products are:

  • Humana;
  • Hipp, Heinz;
  • Swaddle;
  • Agusha.

These products are well tolerated, do not cause allergies, and are easy to prepare.

Before purchasing cereal supplements, you should consult a doctor.

How to cook porridge for a child after one year

After one year, you should not buy commercial baby cereals. It is recommended to start feeding regular grains.

For this purpose, cereals are used in the form of crushed flakes. An example of such products is “Clear Sun”.

This brand has all types of porridges in the form of small flakes: buckwheat, oatmeal (No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 (the smallest)), millet, wheat, barley, corn.

“Yasno Solnyshko” porridge is environmentally friendly, free of rough scales, and does not damage the intestines of a one-year-old baby.

They need to be cooked for 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the type of cereal and the size of the flakes.

Serve porridge with vegetable or butter.

The temperature of the dish should not be higher than 40-45°.

It is permissible to cook unprocessed porridge. The child is allowed buckwheat (kernels) and rice.

Buckwheat is boiled in water for 30 minutes. Next, chop with a fork so that the kernels are slightly smaller.

At the initial stage, it is permissible to grind with a blender, but not very finely. Rice cereals are also prepared.

After a year, oatmeal is allowed.

It is necessary to choose rolled oats that do not contain large, hard scales.

After one year of age, babies are allowed corn grits. It needs to be cooked for 1 hour so that it is thoroughly boiled.

Traditional wheat and barley cereals can be given only after 2 years of life and only in a boiled state.

Classic pearl barley is allowed only after 3 years of age for healthy children.

If you have digestive pathologies, it is not advisable to eat such porridge.

For diseases of the digestive tract, pearl barley is added little by little only to soups.

Any porridge after a year is cooked with milk. It is permissible to add sunflower or butter.

Gluten cereals are healthy foods for children. They contain many micro- and macroelements.

Complementary foods with gluten can be harmful.

To avoid allergies and dyspeptic symptoms, gluten grains are recommended to be given to the baby after 6-9 months of the baby’s life.

Olga Kuznetsova

DOCTOR - PEDIATRIC Education: Siberian State Medical University. Certificate of specialist in the specialty "Pediatrics"

Top 3 cereals that contain gluten

Wheat is commonly found in foods such as:

  • bread
  • bakery
  • soups
  • pasta
  • flakes
  • sauces
  • salad dressings
  • gravy

Barley is commonly found in foods:

  • malt (malted barley flour, malted milk and milkshakes, malt extract, malt syrup, malt flavoring, malt vinegar)
  • food coloring
  • soups
  • beer
  • Brewer's yeast
  • cereals (barley, barley, pearl barley)

Rye is commonly found in foods:

  • Rye bread
  • rye beer
  • flakes

Cereals without gluten or cereals with gluten – what to choose

So, with all this gluten-free buzz that has been around for quite some time, what does our body need? It's clear that if you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, you should stay away from the sticky protein. However, for many, gluten is just a buzzword, and eliminating it from your diet may cause you to miss out on the benefits of many whole grains.

Some benefits of gluten include a lower risk of developing:

  • stroke,
  • type 2 diabetes,
  • heart diseases,
  • asthma,
  • colorectal cancer,
  • inflammatory diseases
  • gum diseases.

Gluten also promotes greater satiety and healthy weight maintenance.

Whole grains, especially when properly produced and without harsh chemicals, can contain vitamins and minerals such as B6, E, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, thiamine, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, selenium and potassium. fiber, protein, antioxidants, healthy phytonutrients and healthy fats. If you don't have problems digesting gluten, you don't need to avoid it!

The benefits of gluten-free cereals

Help reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is defined by recurrent abdominal pain or discomfort, diarrhea and/or constipation.

Gluten is one of the possible reasons for the worsening of this syndrome. Research has shown that simply eliminating gluten from your diet can solve your IBS problem. Often patients are asked to follow a diet low in food products and eliminate gluten. This is the basis of the diet for the treatment of IBS ().

Can help children with autism

This may seem dubious to some. However, there is evidence that a gluten-free diet affects behavior, social interaction and learning in children with autism. More research appears to be needed, but reports suggest that a gluten-free diet combined with a casein-free diet is beneficial for children with autism (, ).

Can give you energy

Gluten often makes people feel tired and lethargic. For those who are sensitive to gluten, this may interfere with proper absorption of nutrients. Which, in turn, prevents the brain, nervous system and organs from receiving the necessary nutrition. Lack of nutrition can lead to feelings of fatigue. If you're sensitive to gluten, cutting it out can revitalize your energy levels ().

May prevent bloating

Bloating is one of the most common symptoms of gluten sensitivity. This is usually defined as pressure inside the abdomen or excess gas. Bloating is often associated with functional gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome. Eliminating gluten from your diet may provide relief.

A study was conducted on 486 patients with suspected gluten sensitivity over a one-year period. The following symptoms have been noted: abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation, nausea, epigastric pain, gastroesophageal reflux, aphthous stomatitis, fatigue, headache, fibromyalgia, similar joint/muscle pain, numbness of the legs or arms, brain fog, dermatitis or skin rash, depression, anxiety and anemia.

For most patients, the length of time between gluten ingestion and the onset of symptoms varied. The most common comorbid disorders were irritable bowel syndrome (47%), food intolerance (35%), and IgE-mediated allergy (22%). Concomitant autoimmune disease was found in 14% of cases (, )

When replacing gluten grains with gluten-free grains, the list of which you could see in our article, the negative symptoms decreased.

Review of manufacturers of cereals for baby food

The listed categories of children are allowed to eat porridge made from rice, buckwheat and corn. It should be noted in advance that the largest selection of these cereals is from BelLakt, Baby and Nestlé.

  1. "Baby" (Bebi). 5 “Baby” rice porridges with milk (even porridge with nuts is allowed), all types of dairy-free/milk buckwheat porridge, hypoallergenic “Baby Premium” porridges. Attention, porridge for afternoon snacks is prohibited .
  2. "BelLact". All porridges from acceptable grains are allowed, the assortment is pleasing. Milk porridges with additives from acceptable grains are also allowed; the manufacturer indicated that they do not contain gluten.
  3. "Nestlé" There is a choice of dairy-free and dairy-free gluten-free porridges, but the manufacturer on its website, in a separate paragraph under the composition of dairy-free rice porridge, indicated that gluten-free and gluten-free porridges are produced on the same equipment, so they may well contain traces of gluten. It is unacceptable to use porridges from this manufacturer (with the exception of rice-corn and rice with carob).
  4. "Heinz" The manufacturer has three dairy-free porridges and those with milk, buckwheat with additives, and there is also a selection of gluten-free porridges among tasty porridges. It occupies a leading position in the content of gluten-free porridges. The manufacturer does not state that the product does not contain gluten, so the presence of traces of the latter in the product cannot be ruled out.
  5. "Agusha." All 3 porridges (two buckwheat and rice-corn).
  6. All porridges are “Babushkino Lukoshko”.
  7. "Vinny", "Frutonyanya". All gluten-free porridges are allowed, as well as rice and buckwheat with additives.
  8. “Karapuz” produces mainly gluten-containing cereals, so this manufacturer is not suitable.
  9. "Semper" We recommend only one porridge from this manufacturer - corn with apple, pumpkin and apricot, since only this one is indicated by the manufacturer that it is gluten-free. There are several rice cereals, but the manufacturer does not guarantee the absence of gluten, apparently due to the use of some kind of starch.
  10. "Nutrilon" (Nutrilon). Dairy and non-dairy buckwheat, corn and rice milk with apple are allowed for consumption.
  11. "Hipp" It is indicated in large letters that the products do not contain gluten: dairy-free porridge, dairy “Wild berries”, “Banana-peach”, “1st children's porridge” and buckwheat.
  12. "Humana" There is a choice of buckwheat and rice porridge with additives; the packaging clearly indicates which porridge does not contain gluten (for example, rice porridge with wheat croutons containing gluten). It is alarming that the manufacturer on the packaging of oatmeal with peach indicated that the product does not contain gluten: it is not clear whether this is the use of new technologies in production or a simple error in the text on the packaging.
  13. "Little one." All acceptable cereals may contain traces of gluten; this amount is insignificant, but in severe cases of the disease, their consumption may increase the risk of exacerbation.

Precautions when consuming gluten-free cereals

It is important to find out if you have celiac disease or sensitivity if you suspect you have a problem with gluten. There are tests your GP or dietitian can carry out to make sure you are gluten intolerant. Pay special attention to any allergic reactions that may occur from eating any gluten-containing foods.

As noted above, gluten is found in many foods. But it's easy to eliminate and replace given the numerous options available today.

Final Thoughts

  • Gluten is not bad for everyone. The most important thing is that you don't miss out on the important nutrients found in healthy grains. Try to buy whole grain, organic options whenever possible. Eat small meals and notice how you feel. If something doesn't feel right, eliminate the gluten grains and then try again. This way you will track your true reaction.
  • If you have gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, there are ways to eliminate it without sacrificing too much. One way is to replace wheat and rye with a list of gluten-free grains such as amaranth, brown rice, buckwheat, polenta, millet, oats, quinoa, sorghum and teff.
  • By following a gluten-free diet and eating gluten-free grains, you can reduce digestive problems, increase energy, and prevent allergic reactions.

How to choose and prepare gluten-free porridge?

Today we offer a wide selection of finished products for baby food. What you need to pay attention to:

  • check the composition and expiration date of the product, the tightness of the packaging;
  • give preference to gluten-free mixtures enriched with calcium and vitamin D;
  • choose products that are appropriate for your baby’s age;
  • Do not buy products for feeding your child that contain fructose and sucrose, milk powder and preservatives, vanillin and other dangerous additives.

For infants, porridge is cooked only in water, without salt. You can add breast milk and 2-3 drops of vegetable oil to the finished dish for taste. Sugar is added to a minimum; for children under one year old, the daily norm is 20-25 g.

To prepare porridge, sort out the cereal and rinse. Do not use aluminum cookware for cooking. To speed up the process, the cereal can be ground in a coffee grinder. Slowly pour the ground product into boiling water, stirring in one direction so that no lumps form.

The finished porridge is left to simmer under the lid for 5-10 minutes. Decide for yourself which cereal is better to use for complementary feeding - homemade or ready-made store-bought, but do not forget to consult with your pediatrician.

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