Tag Archives: allergies

Your Guide to a Gluten Free Passover

Every holiday has its sweets and treats. Hanukkah has greasy latkes, Purim with its gooey hamantaschen, even Rosh Hashanah boasts apples dipped in honey. And then there’s the most challenging of all holiday treats for a gluten free diet . . . matzah! What gives the crackle and crunch in this otherwise boring Passover delicacy? Let’s break it down.

Traditionally, matzah is made with two ingredients: flour and water. Water is added to flour made from one of the following grains: oat, wheat, rye, barley, or spelt. The mixture is then cooked for 18 minutes at most, just long enough for it to be cooked and before it is able to rise. Because of the grains used, traditional matzah is not acceptable for those on a gluten free diet, specifically those with celiac disease.

So what is a gluten free Passover observer to do? Luckily, along with the rest of the food industry, Passover food brands are catching on to the growing need for gluten free products—now there’s even gluten free matzah! Look for “Gluten Free Matzah style squares,” made by the brands Yehuda and Manischewitz. And, as if we weren’t already fans, Manischewitz has created a full line of gluten free, kosher for Passover products! Find everything from brownie and pancake mixes to macaroons, crackers, and soup broths that are both Passover and gluten free compliant. We also recommend looking for Passover foods made with potato starch and tapioca flour, which are both gluten free ingredients.

The great news is that you don’t need to celebrate Passover in order to reap the benefits of this holiday. The season brings endless amounts of new gluten free foods that only reach shelves around the Passover season. So take out that magnifying glass and head to the kosher for Passover aisle—who knows what holiday sweets and treats you may find!

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Ayelet Schieber, MS, RD is a registered dietician in the Pediatric Gastroenterology Program at NYU Langone Medical Center. Mrs. Schieber is a great resource for all things relating to food and nutrition, from symptom management to weight maintenance to healthy snack ideas.

Leora Hauptman, MS, RN, CPNP is a nurse practitioner in the Pediatric Gastroenterology Program at NYU Langone Medical Center. Mrs. Hauptman has many years of experience working with children with gastrointestinal disorders and developmental disabilities.

Beyond Milk & Cookies: Festive Gluten and Dairy-Free Holiday Treats!

Now Dasher, Now Dancer, Now Gluten-Free Prancer and Dairy-Free Vixen?

If your child has celiac disease or a milk allergy, leaving Santa and his crew the usual milk and cookies on Christmas Eve may be out of the question. How can you best handle these food allergies and stick to your family’s traditions on Christmas Eve?

Eat Like a Reindeer
In the wild, reindeer rely on leafy greens as their main source of food. They enjoy birch and willow leaves as well as grass, moss, fern, and herbs. During the winter, they even dig below the snow using their hooves in search of a bushy plant called lichen, otherwise known as “reindeer moss!” For those with food allergies, leafy greens are gluten and dairy-free, not to mention packed with vitamins A, C, E, and K (essential for growing teeth and bones, a strong immune system, and healthy eyes and skin). Notably, leafy greens are also rich in iron, magnesium, and calcium, significant to those with celiac disease, as levels in some individuals may be low.

Why not include some reindeer food as a side for Christmas Eve dinner and save some for Rudolph to enjoy later? Make your own salad dressing to limit allergens and to encourage your family to experiment with different flavor combinations. For reindeer fare inspiration, check out CHOPCHOP’s Red Radish Salad or put your little elves to work at designing their own gluten-free, dairy-free fodder:

Jobs for Santa’s Helpers

Wash and dry lettuce using a salad spinner Tear leaves and herbs into small pieces
Peel cucumbers Grate carrots
Toss ingredients together Measure olive oil
Squeeze lemons Shake salad dressing to combine in a jar with a lid

Mix and Match Recipe: Reindeer Food
Decorate reindeer food with your choice of greenery and ornaments, then top with your favorite trimmings!

Greenery Red and Green Ornaments               The Trimmings
Baby spinach or Bok Choy Apples 2 parts olive oil plus . . .
Kale Dried Cranberries or Cherries 1 part balsamic vinegar OR
Arugula Pomegranate seeds 1 part Red wine vinegar OR
Boston Lettuce Grapes 1 part Lemon juice plus . . .
  Bell Peppers Pinch of salt
Cherry Tomatoes
Green onions
Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Plan a Cookie Swap
Now that you have the reindeer taken care of, what is there to cook up for Santa? Gluten-free, dairy-free baking does differ from baking with wheat flour, milk, and butter. However, in our experience, these baked goods taste just as delicious as the real thing!

Gluten-free baked goods turn out the best if you make your own gluten-free all-purpose flour mixture from a few different types of flours. By including both whole grain and starchy flours, you’ll ensure that the end result more closely mimics wheat flour. For a more detailed explanation, as well as suggestions for a variety of flours to use, check out The Gluten Free Girl and the Chef. If you’re short on time or would rather purchase a gluten-free all-purpose flour mixture, there are many ready-made products available. We have tried both flour routes, and both led to yummy results!

You can use coconut, soy, and almond milk as substitutes for cow’s milk in most recipes, however, since each has a unique flavor, you may want to experiment a bit depending on what you’re baking. Additionally, if a recipe calls for warmed up milk (like hot chocolate), note that soy milk may curdle if heated too quickly or at too high of a temperature. Stick to low and slow! Many recipes for cookies and other sweets call for butter, but if you’re dairy-free, there are some very butter-like alternatives available.

On the night before Christmas, try this favorite gluten-free, dairy-free cookie recipe, or use gluten-free all-purpose flour in your own cookie recipes. To drink, leave Santa a cup of Hot Honey Vanilla Milk (substitute coconut, soy, or almond milk for cow’s milk), or go with a cold glass of a cow’s milk alternative. Now grab your apron, put on some festive music, and show Santa how gluten-free, dairy-free baking is done right!

Jobs for Santa’s Helpers

Measure ingredients Crack eggs
Mix batter Roll cookies in cinnamon-sugar mixture

Recipe: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Mexican Chocolate Cookies
Makes: 3 dozen

315 gm. Gluten-free all-purpose flour blend
1/2 cup Unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. Cream of tartar
1 tsp. Baking soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 cup Gluten-free, dairy-free butter substitute
1 3/4 cups Sugar, divided
2 large Eggs
2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Ancho Chile powder (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375° F, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper
2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt
3. Using an electric mixer or a stand mixer, beat the butter substitute and 1 ½ cups of sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes
4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and beat to combine
5. With the mixer on low, gradually add the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated
6. In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup of sugar with cinnamon and chile powder
7. Using a small ice cream scoop, or heaping tablespoons, form balls of dough and roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture
8. Place about 3 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets
9. Bake until cookies are set in the center and beginning to crack, about 12 minutes
10. Let cookies cool, and store in an airtight container for up to a week (these cookies also freeze well)

To learn more about nutrition and gluten-free foods, join us in the kitchen and get cooking! Through a partnership with the Natural Gourmet Institute, the Sylvia Center and NYU Langone Medical Center’s S.Q.U.A.S.H. and Pediatric Celiac Disease and Gluten Related Disorders Programs, kids learn to make fun, healthy, gluten-free recipes with professional chefs.  Class is free and open to the public for kids ages 7 to 12. For more information, email celiacdiseaseprogram@nyumc.org or call 646-754-2233.

NOTE: Foods and ingredients listed are considered to be gluten-free and dairy-free as of the date of this blog post, but we always recommend reviewing food labels to confirm, as manufacturing practices may change. Call food companies if you are ever not sure!

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Jackie Ballou Erdos, MS, RD, CDN, Pediatric Nutrition Coordinator and Director of the S.Q.U.A.S.H. Program (Smart choices, Quality ingredients, Unique, Appetizing, Simple & Healthy) at NYU Langone Medical Center.