Gluten Free School Lunches

Thursday, March 15, 2012

How do gluten free students deal with eating at school?  Are they destined to always brown bag it?

As a Celiac and a school teacher, I've learned a bit about how the high school I work at addresses food allergies.  From what I understand, the couple of Celiac kids at our school are able to get accomodated gluten free lunches from the cafeteria (prepared separate and everything!).  Pretty cool! 

I personally choose to bring my own food, just to make sure I'm able to eat healthy and regluate the preparation behind my food (personal choice).  However, the option for kids is so great.  Just another way for them to feel "normal!" 

Here's a post our friends from Red Apple Lipstick published yesterday about this very topic. 

Gluten Free School Lunches

Since my kids are not school-aged kids (yet) I have not thought about what they will eat when the time comes for them to start school.  I suppose I can make their lunches, like I do now.  But, I got to thinking, “will the school provide my kids with gluten free meals?”

I decided to do some research on the matter, and I found some very interesting information.  The short answer is YES, schools can and should provide gluten free meals if they have been diagnosed with celiac disease.  As outlined in  Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which is a federal civil rights statute that prohibits discrimination on the basis of a disability in an educational program or institution. Celiac disease may be considered a disability under this law.  Your child’s dietary needs must be prescribed by a doctor, but as we know with celiac disease, doctor’s orders are changes in one’s diet.  No gluten would count as a prescribed diet.

Read the rest of this article and learn a little about the National School Lunch Program here!

This makes me wonder, do all schools accommodate food allergies?  Are we, as Celiacs considered "disabled?"


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  1. I live on an Army post in Germany and when I came to my children's school with their diagnosis, they told me they couldn't accomadate it, I needed to pack from now on. I was also made aware it would also be a "hassle" for CDC if they tried to accomadate them. Instead I am to work out an approved menu with a nutritionist and everything must be in seperate hard containers, no baggies,etc. They mentioned they serve fruit, and I asked if they could just set some aside on a seperate plate/bowl before the rest is served to everyone else to avoid cross contamination and was told no. How hard would that be, seriously?

  2. Wow, I'm so sorry. Hopefully as people continue to speak up more and more schools will accommodate. In the meantime, good luck. It definitely sounds like you have to do a lot to insure your child's safety.


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