Recently they had a Garden Party at school and pre-school and all the little people had an afternoon ‘tea’ together. The ladies at pre-school, as always kindly bought in ‘something special’ for Zac to eat whilst all the others tucked into homemade cupcakes etc. When I picked Zac up that day, he was raving on about how Allison gave him ‘some special Rocky Roads’. He wanted me to buy some more – but I wasn’t sure where they had come from. Don’t recall seeing them in the supermarkets I visit. So I asked Allison, and she said it was Morrisons.
I have to confess, I rarely go to Morrisons, there isn’t one that close, but my mother in law often does and has told me she has found a good selection of gluten free, dairy free foods in her local store, and the prices were more reasonable than Sainsbury’s or Tesco. So last Friday, I was in Letchworth meeting a friend and as it happens we met in a hotel beside Morrisons! As soon as we finished, I dashed in and sure enough – there they were. There was a very good amount of shelf space dedicated to Free From and a lot of it was their own brand, which is very striking.
‘Travelling breakfasts’ are not easy for my intolerant child. Last summer we stayed in a hotel for a few nights and sorting breakfast was such a challenge. We took our gluten free, dairy free cereals and our own carton of dairy free milk. We didn’t have a fridge in our room, so took kept the milk in a lunch box full of ice packs. It was still fresh on the first morning, but pretty rough by the second day as the ice packs had melted.
We had also taken his special bread, but could only take a tiny amount of the dairy free spread to go in the ice packs with the milk and again by the second day it was no good. If Zac wasn’t so fussy he could have had some of the cooked breakfast but as the sausages were almost certainly not gluten free and the cross contamination risk was high, he just ‘hit the fruit bar’ quite hard and had fruit salad every morning with a pot of ‘dry cereal’ and some dry bread. He didn’t seem to mind, but I felt sorry for him and that is when I decided I should try and make a cereal bar, just for occasions like these.
I know there are some readily available in the ‘free from’ sections of the supermarkets but they are quite expensive and rather sugar laden so I decided to see if I could make a cereal bar that is hopefully more healthy, economical and delicious.
Breakfast was the first big challenge we faced when we were advised to put Zac on a gluten free diet. He was already dairy free and that had been easy to manage. We just swapped out his usual milk for Alpro Soya Junior.
We were lucky that he had no problem with soya and were told by the dietitian that this would be a very good substitute for such a young child (he had just turned one). I was reassured that it contained iron, calcium, protein as well as B, C and D vitamins. So for a long time he just had Alpro Junior on his Shreddies or whatever, but he often a lot of ‘bad nappies’ within 20 minutes of eating his breakfast, so I soon worked out that perhaps wheat or gluten could be a problem too. So we stopped the Shreddies and shopped around for dairy free, gluten free replacements.
Like all people new to this I headed straight to the Free From aisle and discovered that there are in fact many to choose from. As he was still a baby, he was not as fussy as he is now, and I was able to try him on many of them without any objection. He got on fine with most and now really enjoys his special cereal. Some are very much tailored to children and they worry me, as they all seem very sweet. So I try to limit the amount he has. That is why I have been working my way through all these alternative breakfasts. Although many ‘normal’ and ‘gluten free’ cereals are fortified with vitamins, many are also scarily high in salt and sugar and best eaten in moderation I feel.