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Chronic Disease Dinner Guide: Gluten-Free Meals Your Kids Will Love

An unfortunate part of managing a chronic disease is having to overhaul your entire diet. Many of us will have to switch to gluten-free, dairy-free or paleo diets in an attempt to keep our bodies healthy and capable of combating our autoimmune disease. While it can be a painful experience to let go of gluten or dairy, as those of us who’ve done it know, it’s totally worth it.

One of the most difficult parts of switching your diet is asking your sweet kids to make the switch, too. After all, the fatigue from having a chronic disease will definitely prevent you from making two separate dinners every night. But given the autoimmune spectrum your kids are on, your kiddos’ switch to gluten-free or dairy-free diets can reap future benefits in lower gut inflammation. That said, the switch can be incredibly tough especially if they don’t see an immediate reason to switch. And they may have trouble understanding why your chronic disease is affecting their dinner habits.

However, your kids won’t have to give up their favorite dinners just because of your health. In fact, gluten-free meals have become very popular among chefs, restaurants and even fast food places everywhere. Even the food you cook at home for your family can be close to – and sometimes even better than – the food you used to cook for your kids pre-disease.

Those of us with a chronic disease will love these gluten-free, family friendly dinners.

Teriyaki Chicken

What do we love most about this recipe? You can just put in a Crock-Pot and forget about it for a while. This means that in that if you get one of those 10-minute windows of energy, you can put dinner together and forget about it while you rest all afternoon. Every mom with a chronic disease should definitely take advantage of Crock-Pot recipes. The best part about this one is that kids love it! You can never go wrong with a simple chicken and rice meal, especially when it means teriyaki sauce.

Hawaiian Chicken Kebabs

What’s fun about kebabs doesn’t really have anything to do with the ingredients itself. No, your sweet kids will love this meal because they get to eat everything right off a stick! There’s something adventurous about being able to get your entire meal on one flavorful stick. Another great part of this meal is that you can switch out the veggies on the recipe for whatever you have in your fridge that day. Plus, if you do decide to go with the pineapple, your dinnertime event will feel more like a summertime luau than Wednesday’s gluten-free meal. (That’s something that any mom with a chronic disease will be grateful for.)

Gluten-Free Pizza Crust

We all know that pizza day is everyone’s favorite day at the school cafeteria. Kids go crazy for pizza! They always have, and they always will. Pizza is usually one of those things that kids with gluten-free diets miss out on – but not anymore. These 2 different pizza crust recipes will help you find a crust that’s healthy enough for your chronic disease, but delicious enough for your kids to enjoy. The best part about this recipe is that it’s really only for the crust, which means you can make whatever kinds of pizzas your family loves.

Banana Pancakes

There’s something kind of magical about having breakfast for dinner. Your kids may be huge fans of breakfast foods, but aren’t huge fans of breakfast at 6 a.m. in the morning. Plus, who here has the energy to get up at 5 a.m. and make an incredible breakfast for their families? Not very many of us suffering from a chronic disease will fit that category. So instead, go for breakfast at dinnertime. These banana pancakes are delicious and nutritious.

Homemade Hamburger Helper

You probably remember eating Hamburger Helper as a kid. And you’ll probably remember that it’s just a bunch of gluten wrapped up with preservatives, cheese and oil. But not anymore! This recipe will bring back the flavors of the old Hamburger Helper, but with a healthier twist. This recipe is great because it can be made gluten-free, which is exactly what you may be looking for.

As moms with autoimmune diseases, we’re always looking for ways to bring together our treatments and our families. These five kid-friendly dinners can get you through next week’s dinnertime meltdowns with little sweat on your part. Because we all know that it’s always a great day when your kids are fed, your dinner is easy, and you don’t have to sweat about what kind of food you’re putting in your body. Let the moms with chronic diseases rejoice! Dinnertime doesn’t have to spell disaster anymore.


About the Author
Katie Cleary is founder of  She lives with her autoimmune conditions and her family in Austin, Texas.

This blog post was originally published by, written by Katie Cleary, and first published on Aug 25, 2017.

This post contains the opinions of the author. Autoimmune Association is not a medical practice and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is your responsibility to seek diagnosis, treatment, and advice from qualified providers based on your condition and particular circumstances. Autoimmune Association does not endorse nor recommend any products, practices, treatment methods, tests, physicians, service providers, procedures, clinical trials, opinions or information available on this website. Your use of the website is subject to our Privacy Policy.

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