Updated: Nov 26, 2019

With Thanksgiving almost here, many a gluten-free parent has expressed worry about how to keep their child safe. Here are a few tips and considerations to ease your mind around the holiday:

#1: Don't Get Anxious; Get Planning!

The more you think ahead for the little things, the better you’ll be able to handle whatever challenges arise.

#2: Whether or Not You are Hosting, Plan to Contribute a Few Key Dishes.

This little tip goes a long way for any gathering, in fact! If the dinner is at your place, of course you can make the entire event gluten-free (we always do!). Think: cornbread stuffing, GF seasonings, good ol’ fashioned mashed potatoes (dairy-free at our house), easy veggie dishes, and pies made with store-bought or homemade GF crusts.

If you are going to Aunt Roberta’s place or another venue, just cover the most important bases. For us, that meant bringing a GF stuffing, rolls, and dessert (our daughter is also a staunch vegetarian). Most hosts will be more than willing to offer a salad minus croutons (do mention cross-contamination), and you can then throw a safe dressing and clean stick of margarine in your to-go bag. Consider bringing slices of Turkey prepared separately (it blends right in with the rest) if bread stuffing or a non-GF oven is of concern. That said, you do not have to bring the entire meal--just enough to keep your child happily fed.

#3: Remember the “Take Notes on Things You’d Like to Make at Home” Game. In my book I discuss various games you can play to help with rising frustrations at non-gluten-free events. One of these is the “take notes” game. If there’s anything on the table that your child wants but cannot eat, write it in a special notebook you keep with you. That way, you can plan a fun holiday baking/cooking day at home wherein you create one or more of the recipes you wished you could eat--and guess what? Now you can!

#4: Repeat the Mantra, then Repeat it Again: It’s not about the food; it’s about the people, places, and experiences in our lives.

And on that note, may this holiday bring you joy and connection, above all!

--Elyn Joy, author of The Gluten-Free Parent's Survival Guide, offers tips, insight, and great optimism to those parenting a gluten-free child. Go to for more information.


As we venture out for Halloween tonight with our gluten-free children, let’s all remember a most important mantra any parent can teach their little one, gluten-free or not, and that is this: PEOPLE, PLACES, and EXPERIENCES are far more important than is candy (or bread or cake or yes, even cookies!). Candy can be traded, but memories cannot.

So please, have fun tonight, and whatever you do to ensure your child’s safety (hand-washing, candy-trading, BYO treats, etc.), don’t spend another moment feeling sorry for your child--or for that matter, for yourself. These are, as they say, “The Good Old Days"; your child is counting on you to model that sentiment and to celebrate the moment--challenges and all.

Here’s to a Happy, Healthy, and Memorable Halloween!

Candy can be traded, but memories cannot...


On October 26, 2019, The Gluten-Free Parent joined a panel at Children's Hospital's Celiac Education Day, an event aimed at helping educate and guide parents and children new to a celiac disease diagnosis. The lineup also featured sessions by pediatric physicians and experts on a number of topics, from current research to dietary considerations, doctor recommendations, family guidance, and more.

We were honored to be a part of this important event and to be able to unveil our second edition of The Gluten-Free Parent’s Survival Guide, recently revised after parent and physician feedback.

For more information on The Colorado Center for Celiac Disease, a premiere research and practice center both nationally and beyond, please visit the site below:

The 2nd edition of our guide now includes more tips, advice, and expert input for parents of gluten-free children.

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