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As a coeliac or gluten intolerant person, dining options are limited and a mistake could cause not only discomfort but require hospitalisation. This site is a resource for those who live with, cook for or produce…

7-Day Gluten Free Meal Plan for Children


Access to this meal plan is free during Coeliac Awareness Week until the end of June.
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This menu has been carefully prepared by Coeliac New Zealand medical advisor and registered dietitian, Margaret Thorsen. Making the change to a gluten free diet after being diagnosed with coeliac disease can have a significant and positive impact on your child’s well-being. That said, supporting children to change many of the core foods in their diet can be challenging.

Finding acceptable energy-rich, whole grain alternatives for gluten-containing staples is key to ensuring your child is getting enough energy to help with their growth and to fuel their brain for a busy day. But new foods such as gluten-free breads and baking may have a different taste or texture. Ensure a variety of gluten-free pastas and breads, potatoes, kumara, corn and rice are spread throughout the day. If at first your child doesn’t take to a new food, remember Nigel Latta’s rule of thumb: twenty yucks for one yum!

Vary the brands you try, vary the way these foods are prepared and couple them with other foods your child does enjoy.


Children may not like feeling different to the other children so preparing meals, especially lunchbox meals, that appear similar to others can help them feel more relaxed about their new diet. Many of the lunch ideas for this menu cycle have been designed to work as lunchbox meals. Top up the lunchbox with other gluten free options such as yoghurt, fresh fruit, vegetable sticks, a sweet and/or savoury snack to keep your child going throughout the day.

Breakfast is also an important meal, helping boost your child’s energy levels first thing in the morning. While a range of breakfast ideas have been provided, your child may have one or two preferences they stick to as a standard for breakfast. This is fine. All breakfast options have been designed to ensure some source of whole grains or fibre, fat and protein to give a longer lasting source of energy.

Many of the breakfast and snack ideas store well either in the freezer or in air-tight containers so they can be used repeatedly throughout the week. A glass of milk can be added to breakfasts or between meal snacks to top up calcium levels. For children with a lactose intolerance or diary allergy, choose a lactose-free milk or a calcium-enriched dairy-free milk. Include or remove the morning, afternoon and supper snacks based on the energy needs of your child.

If your child has been diagnosed with anaemia, or low iron levels, at the same time as being diagnosed with coeliac disease, this issue should correct itself once your child starts following a gluten-free diet.  As their gut begins to heal, it will start absorbing more nutrients again. Keep in touch with your medical team. If iron levels don’t improve, they will be able to discuss whether supplements are an appropriate option.

This menu also helps if you need to take into consideration a low lactose or dairy free diet by coding dishes low lactose (LL) and diary free (DF). Nut free dishes are highlighted with (NF). It is still important to read the ingredient lists for all foods carefully as different brands may contain hidden sources of gluten or allergens.


Meal Plan FAQs

The menu helps if you need to take into consideration a low lactose or dairy free diet by coding dishes low lactose (LL) and dairy free (DF). Some recipes also give the option to adapt them to be LL or DF.

The menu also helps if you need to take into consideration a nut free diet by coding dishes nut free (NF). Some recipes can also be adapted to be NF.



Margaret Thorsen is a New Zealand registered dietitian.

She has twenty years of experience working as a clinical dietitian and more recently in food service management.
Her areas of interest include allergen management within the food supply chain and sustainable food practices.
She is currently completing a Master of Science degree.

Margaret Thorson
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