Celiac Disease Program | Away From Home

Away from Home

How to plan and prepare your child with celiac disease to be at camp or live away from home:

Summary points

  • If your child will be going to camp, meet with camp director and chef to review your child's dietary needs. Remember that an individual camp director may or may not decide to contribute to the purchase of gluten-free food for your child. As a parent, you should be prepared to supply most of the food for your camper.
  • Work with chef to determine which items on the menu will be safe and which will need a gluten-free substitute. Not all chefs will prepare special gluten-free food. Use the menu as a reference and be willing to provide the chef with gluten-free versions of unsafe foods.
  • Consider preparing and freezing portions of meals so that the kitchen staff will only need to remove them from the freezer and bake or thaw them.
  • Investigate potential cross-contamination in the kitchen, either with shared preparation areas and utensils, or with ingredients.
  • Beware that food service versions of food products may not have the same ingredients as versions sold in stores. Have the UPC code available for calls to manufacturers.
  • Advise the head counselor about your child's special dietary needs and consider providing a box of gluten-free treats for your camper. Send your child to camp with a snack bag of items that won't spoil, such as gluten-free power bars and gluten-free pretzels or crackers.
  • Determine what sources of food will be available to campers outside of the cafeteria. Examples are cooking s'mores over the fire, eating a bag lunch on a field trip, and visiting an ice cream stand for a special treat. Plan how to provide gluten-free versions for your child.