How to deal with food intolerances in children

Posted on 2 min read

It can be a challenge when your child has a food intolerance. Sometimes it’s difficult to find the right diet and manage everyday life in a way that keeps your child healthy and happy. But don’t worry, here are some tips to help you cope with this situation.

What is a food intolerance?

A food intolerance occurs when a person’s body cannot process certain foods properly. Unlike a food allergy, which causes a reaction from the immune system, an intolerance is a non-immunological reaction. This means that there are no allergic reactions such as breathing difficulties or skin rashes.

The most common types of food intolerance in children are lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance (coeliac disease) and food allergies. With lactose intolerance, the digestive system cannot completely break down the lactose contained in dairy products, which can lead to digestive problems such as abdominal pain, flatulence and diarrhoea. In gluten intolerance, the body is sensitive to the gluten found in wheat, barley and rye, which can lead to inflammation in the gut.

Food allergies, on the other hand, are triggered by an immune system reaction to certain foods and can cause symptoms such as skin rashes, gastrointestinal complaints or breathing problems.

How do you deal with food intolerances in your child?

1. Know your child’s food intolerance

The first step is to know exactly what your child’s food intolerance is. Some common intolerances in children are lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance or food allergies. Discuss the symptoms and effects with a doctor to make sure you have the right diagnosis. Once you know which foods your child is sensitive to, you can find suitable alternatives and adjust your diet accordingly.

2. Learn about alternative foods

It is important to find out about alternative foods that your child can safely consume. There is now a wide range of gluten-free, lactose-free or allergen-free products. You can also search online for recipes that are specifically tailored to the needs of children with food intolerances. By reading up on the different options, you can ensure that your child has a balanced and varied diet.

3. Communication and support

Talk to your child about their intolerance and explain why certain foods can cause problems. When they are old enough, they can learn to look after their own needs and make responsible choices. Educate other family members, teachers or caregivers about your child’s food intolerance so that everyone is aware and can take appropriate action. Also seek support in the form of support groups or online forums where you can talk to other parents who are dealing with similar challenges.

Remember that each case is unique and it is important to work with a doctor or dietitian to address your child’s specific needs. With some planning, patience and support, you can create a positive and healthy environment in which your child can cope well with their food intolerance.

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