Gluten free sign handwritten on a chalk board surrounded by ingrediients

Celiac Disease: How to Keep Your Kitchen Safe for Your Child

If you have recently diagnosed a child with celiac disease, then you know the parents have a lot to learn regarding their child’s necessary lifestyle changes.  This includes changes to their diet, changes to cosmetic and dental products, and changes to their kitchen environment. Gluten-free products tend to be much more expensive, so it is understandable if parents would prefer to have a kitchen environment that houses both gluten-free and gluten products for their family—especially if only one family member has celiac disease.  One way to easily teach parents how to make a safe kitchen environment for both gluten-free and gluten-containing products is to give them an online training. Check out CME solutions by for a platform to create this training, and include the following tips in your online program for parents.

1. Clean countertops, cutting boards, and utensils thoroughly before gluten-free meal preparation.

Children with celiac disease cannot ingest even a crumb containing gluten because it can do damage to the small intestine.  That is why it is very important to clean countertops, cutting boards, and utensils to ensure they are not contaminated prior to meal preparation.

2. Use squeeze bottles.

For example, if a family consumes margarine, jelly, mayonnaise, mustard, or ketchup, buy these products in squeeze bottle form to limit cross-contamination.  This way parents only have to buy a separate set of food items for a gluten-free child when absolutely necessary.

3. Label products “GF” with a sharpie that cannot be used for gluten products.

For example, peanut butter is not easily available in a squeeze bottle form; therefore, this product must be bought for a child with celiac disease and only used by that child for gluten-free product consumption.  Label this product “GF” with a sharpie so that others in the household know not to use that food item on gluten products. Other items that should be labeled include sticks of butter, tubs of cream cheese, hummus, Nutella, sauces, dips, fig spread, and any other item that must be scooped out to use where the spoon or knife may touch gluten products.   

4. Buy a separate toaster for gluten-free items.

Unfortunately, once a toaster has been used for a gluten product, it is no longer safe to use for gluten-free products for a child with celiac disease.  Therefore, parents must purchase a separate toaster for toasting gluten-free bread, bagels, and waffles.  This toaster should be labeled “gluten free” so that guests do not accidently use that toaster for gluten products.

5. Set rules regarding gluten-free snack foods.

It is easy to cross contaminate snacks by mistake.  If it is a possibility for a family member to open up a bag of a gluten-free snack and a bag of a gluten-containing snack—and dip hands in both—it is important to set rules against this because that gluten-free snack will no longer be safe for a child with celiac disease to consume.  It is helpful to either set a rule that people without celiac should not eat the gluten-free snack foods, or to set a rule that gluten-free snacks be poured into bowls to avoid cross contamination.  

6. Keep gluten-free snacks on a separate shelf in the pantry.

To further limit cross contamination, store gluten-free products on a separate shelf.  This way, in case there is some spillage, gluten-free products have a much greater potential of being safe from harm.



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