A gluten free Christmas: Day 5

cafeteriaIs your child’s school organising a Christmas dinner?

Ours do, and it is usually a very traditional menu: turkey, sausages, stuffing, vegetables, gravy etc, followed by cake (not usually a Christmas cake, probably a chocolate sponge) and custard or mince pies or icecream.

There are several gluten pitfalls here for the unwary, and of course there’s always the risk of cross-contamination…

Your options are:

  • send a packed lunch. I’ve done this for years, and it is saddening to see your child unable to participate in the traditions of the group. Not that I’m a big fan of Christmas dinner, since I don’t eat meat, but it’s the group thing… It’s even worse if your child is excluded in other ways, such as making the packed lunch eaters sit apart from their friends for Christmas dinner or providing Christmas crackers only for the Christmas dinner eaters. School? Are you listening?
  • send a hot meal. Anyone out there tried doing this?
  • send a letter. I’ve a letter available for download to help you explain to school what your child can or can’t eat in general – not just for Christmas. Around here, at least, schools are supposed to provide meals suitable for coeliacs. It might not be the same meal as everyone else is eating, but it would be a meal. Has anyone managed to arrange this?
  • send a letter asking for a meeting with the catering team to discuss the proposed menu and to agree what your child would be served (from the sample menu above, it is likely to be: turkey, vegetables and icecream. Not that great). We did this one year, and it was disappointing.
  • don’t send your child. Again, this is an extreme solution, and not one I’ve tried!

What do you do?

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Lucy is the mother of a coeliac, and has been managing a gluten free diet for her daughter for 20 years - though, to be fair, she does do most of it herself now...

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