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Wheat Allergy Diet for Children

General guidelines for wheat allergy

When your child has a food allergy, they must follow an allergen-free diet. This means your child can't have the food they are allergic to, or any products containing that food. The items that your child is allergic to are called allergens.

A wheat allergy is the immune system's abnormal response to the protein found in wheat. Wheat products are found in many foods. To stay away from foods that contain wheat, it is important to read food labels. Foods regulated by the FDA must follow the federal Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA). This requires that food labels put wheat in the list of ingredients on products that contain any wheat. Wheat may be listed within the list of ingredients, or it may be listed at the end of the ingredients as "Contains: Wheat".

Some manufacturers voluntarily include statements, such as "may contain wheat" or "may be made in a facility with wheat." These are unregulated phrases. Discuss with your healthcare provider if your child needs to stay away from these foods.

When your child has been diagnosed with a wheat allergy:

  • Educate teachers, family, and friends about your child’s allergy. Many people don’t understand how serious food allergies can be.

  • Teach your child in an age-appropriate way about their food allergy and how to manage it.

  • Consult a registered dietitian. They can help you find healthy substitutes so your child gets all the nutrients needed to grow.

  • When eating out, bring “back-up” foods with you and check restaurant websites before you go. Tell the staff about your child's allergy.

  • If managing the allergy creates family stress, consider getting social and mental health support for your whole family.

Wheat may be found in personal care products, crafts, and cosmetics. These products are not covered by the FALCPA law. Toys such as Play Doh, craft paste, and others may contain wheat.

The lists below may not contain all food and personal care products that could contain wheat. But they can help guide your food decisions. It is up to you to carefully read all food labels.

How to read a label for a wheat-free diet

Don’t give your child foods that have any of these ingredients:

  • Bran

  • Bread crumbs

  • Bulgur

  • Cereal extract

  • Couscous

  • Cracker meal

  • Durum, Durum flours (a type of wheat)

  • Einkorn (a type of wheat)

  • Emmer (a type of farro)

  • Enriched flour

  • Farina

  • Flour (all purpose, bread, cake, instant, pastry, self-rising, soft wheat, steel ground, whole wheat)

  • Gluten

  • Graham flour

  • High gluten flour

  • High protein flour

  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein

  • Matzoh, matzoh meal

  • Pasta

  • Seitan

  • Semolina (a type of wheat)

  • Spelt (a type of wheat)

  • Sprouted wheat

  • Triticale (a type of wheat)

  • Vital gluten

  • Wheat bran

  • Wheat durum

  • Wheat germ

  • Wheat gluten

  • Wheat grass

  • Wheat malt

  • Wheat protein isolate

  • Wheat sprouts

  • Wheat starch

  • Whole wheat berries

  • Whole wheat flour

Other possible sources of wheat or wheat products

Ingredients that may mean the presence of wheat protein include:

  • Gelatinized starch

  • Glucose

  • Gum

  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein

  • Kamut

  • Modified food starch

  • Modified starch

  • Natural flavoring

  • Oats

  • Soy sauce

  • Starch

  • Surimi

  • Textured vegetable protein

  • Vegetable starch

Online Medical Reviewer: Dan Brennan MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Deborah Pedersen MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Jessica Gotwals RN BSN MPH
Date Last Reviewed: 8/1/2023
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